PhD position "Differences in trainability of Wellbeing"

PhD position "Differences in trainability of Wellbeing"

Published Deadline Location
24 Jun 12 Jul Amsterdam

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Are you interested in wellbeing? Are you excited about working with extensive multi-omics data and developing a gamified wellbeing training? Join our team wellbeing as a PhD candidate and help advance the science of wellbeing!

Job description

Are you interested in wellbeing research and do you have a background in behaviour genetics and/or molecular genetic/multi-omics methodology? Then we are looking for you!

Project description
In light of major demographic trends, building and maintaining health and wellbeing amongst citizens is one of the most important societal challenges countries face. People who feel well, function better, are less susceptible to mental illness, and thus are better able to retain competitive advantage and expand human capital. People who feel well also facilitate social capital by enjoying stronger and more-lasting relationships.

Knowledge on the malleability of wellbeing is essential to facilitate and build wellbeing. While converging evidence reports significant positive effects of wellbeing training, the effects have so far only been studied in single omics designs.

In this project, we, as a team, will go beyond the state of the art by setting up a (gamified) wellbeing training in a multi-omics informative sample, including (epi) genetic, metabolome, and environmental (exposome) data. We will extend traditional randomized control approaches by making optimal use of the unique characteristics of a twin sample, by using identical twins as (nearly) perfect matched controls. We will make, among other datasets, use of data of the Netherlands Twin Register (


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


  • A (research) master in biological psychology, positive psychology, genetics, psychometrics, artificial intelligence, epidemiology or something along those lines
  • Knowledge of statistical methods and statistical programming (R or Python)
  • Experience with or interest in behaviour genetics and molecular genetic/ multi-omics methodology
  • Experience in working with large datasets
  • Interest in Wellbeing and Research
  • Excellent English writing and speaking skills

As a university, we strive for equal opportunities for all, recognising that diversity takes many forms. We believe that diversity in all its complexity is invaluable for the quality of our teaching, research and service. We are always looking for talent with diverse backgrounds and experiences. This also means that we are committed to creating an inclusive community so that we can use diversity as an asset.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 1 year.

A challenging position in a socially engaged organisation. At VU Amsterdam, you contribute to education, research and service for a better world. And that is valuable. So in return for your efforts, we offer you:
  • a salary of minimum € 2.770,00 (PhD) and maximum € 3.539,00 (PhD) gross per month, on a full-time basis. This is based on UFO profile PhD candidate.
  • an employment contract of initially one year. If there is sufficient perspective, this will be extended to a total of 4 years. Your dissertation at the end of the fourth year forms the end of your employment contract.

We also offer you attractive fringe benefits and regulations. Some examples:
  • A full-time 38-hour working week comes with a holiday leave entitlement of 232 hours per year. If you choose to work 40 hours, you have 96 extra holiday leave hours on an annual basis. For part-timers, this is calculated pro rata.
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package
  • hybrid working enables a good work-life balance


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The department of Biological Psychology
The department of Biological Psychology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is a world-renowned research and education centre focused on understanding the genetic and biological underpinnings of individual differences in cognition, behaviour, and health. We maintain the Netherlands Twin Register, a unique resource for research on the interplay of genes and environment on brain development, cognitive abilities, personality, behavioural problems, psychiatric disorders, and health and well-being. Our researchers have established a large national and international network of collaborators from various disciplines. You will have access to training and professional development opportunities, as well as the chance to work with leading experts in the field of wellbeing research.

This project is part of and NWO VICI project “The Power of Wellbeing: A multi-omics approach to build an integrative wellbeing framework”. For this project, a postdoc and another PhD student have been recruited, and you will work in a team of wellbeing researchers and international collaborators.

Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences
Developing knowledge for an active, healthy and meaningful life: that is our mission at the Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences at VU Amsterdam. We maintain a broad focus on the fields of behaviour and health. Our teaching and research programmes are devoted to current developments in society. From healthy aging to e-health, and from training top athletes to social media as a teaching tool. We combine three academic disciplines: psychology, movement sciences and education. A multidisciplinary approach allows us to arrive at a better understanding of human behaviour and movement. Our aims are to help people live healthier lives, learn better and function better.

Are you interested in joining Behavioural and Movement Sciences? You are the kind of person who feels at home working in an ambitious faculty, with an informal atmosphere and short lines of communication. We offer you all the space you need for personal development. Together with your 630 colleagues, you will take care of about 4,200 students.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam stands for values-driven education and research. We are open-minded experts with the ability to think freely. - a broader mind. Maintaining an entrepreneurial perspective and concentrating on diversity, significance and humanity, we work on sustainable solutions with social impact. By joining forces, across the boundaries of disciplines, we work towards a better world for people and planet. Together we create a safe and respectful working and study climate, and an inspiring environment for education and research. Learn more about our codes of conduct

We are located on one physical campus, in the heart of Amsterdam's Zuidas business district, with excellent location and accessibility. Over 6,150 staff work at the VU and over 31,000 students attend academic education.

Diversity is the driving force of the VU. The VU wants to be accessible and receptive to diversity in disciplines, cultures, ideas, nationalities, beliefs, preferences and worldviews. We believe that trust, respect, interest and differences lead to new insights and innovation, to sharpness and clarity, to excellence and a broader understanding.

We stand for an inclusive community and believe that diversity and internationalisation contribute to the quality of education, research and our services.

Therefore, we are always searching for people whose backgrounds and experience contribute to the diversity of the VU community.


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 4129


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

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Van der Boechorststraat 7, 1081BT, Amsterdam

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