PhD position Thermal Strain Reduction

PhD position Thermal Strain Reduction

Published Deadline Location
22 Mar 19 Apr Amsterdam

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Job description

The Department of Human Movement Sciences is offering a four-year government-funded PhD studentship in the framework of the NWO project ‘Citius Altius Sanius’.
The prevailing lifestyle in the Western world (immobility, unhealthy eating, smoking and drinking habits) is an important factor in the etiology of many chronic diseases. Physical activity through sports participation helps to reduce this risk, but introduces new risk factors associated with exercise related injuries. The aim of the program ‘Citius, Altius, Sanius’ is to stimulate people at all performance levels to engage in and sustain physical activity through sports and fitness, improve their performance and prevent injuries by providing informative and motivating information using advanced sensor and data science techniques. The PhD candidate will focus on the prevention of heat related injuries in endurance athletes and Paralympic athletes with a spinal cord injury (who have an extra challenge due to a disturbed thermal control and thermal sensation). There are two methods to contribute to this prevention: heat acclimation and personal cooling systems. Both will be investigated using the newest technologies in the brand new Human Performance Labs (including a climatic chamber with humidity control and a temperature range of -20°C to +60°C).
We will increase the human potential to deal with extreme heat through the development and evaluation of novel individualized heat acclimation protocols. These protocols may also be used for heat tolerance testing i.e. determination of extreme cases in heat sensitivity. The current tests, used in the military or for work in protective clothing are time-consuming and not applicable for sports. We will investigate the range of heat sensitivity in individuals and design and evaluate a heat intolerance test for sports application in the lab and in the field. For cooling, personal systems effectively reduce body temperatures and increase performance. However, most systems are cumbersome and intermittent cooling systems may provide more effective and energy efficient cooling techniques. We will investigate validity and usability of personal cooling systems in a controlled climate chamber as well as during an actual indoors sports event for athletes without and with spinal cord injuries. 

The PhD-student will closely work with researchers and professionals from the participating institutes with the goal to perform and publish innovative research in the area of human thermal physiology. 


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


The appointment will be initially for a period of 1 year. After satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, it can be extended for 3 years (the total duration is 4 years) and should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). An educational plan will be drafted that includes attendance to courses and (international) meetings. PhD students are also expected to assist in teaching undergraduates.

Conditions of employment

You can find information about our excellent fringe benefits of employment at like:
• remuneration of  8,3% end-of-year bonus and  8% holiday allowance
• solid pension scheme (ABP);
• a minimum of 29 holidays in case of full-time employment;
• generous contribution based on public transport;
• discounts on collective insurances (healthcare- and car insurance);
• participation in Individual Choices model;
• a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge. 
The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel, and amounts € 2.222,- gross per month in the first year up to € 2.840,- in the fourth year (salary scale 85) based on a full-time employment.


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) is a leading, innovative and growing university that is at the heart of society and actively contributes to new developments in teaching and research. Our university has ten faculties, and provides work for over 4,500 staff and scientific education for more than 23,000 students.


The Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences (FBM) at VU University Amsterdam is unique in the wide field of behavioural and health sciences for combining the disciplines of psychology, education theory and human movement sciences. The faculty contributes to a better understanding of the way behaviour and movement are caused and can be influenced so as to promote physical and mental health and improve performance.


  • PhD
  • Health; Behaviour and society
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • €2222—€2840 per month
  • University graduate
  • 18103


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

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De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV, Amsterdam

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