PhD candidate for the project Life-Course Transitions, Socio-Economic Status and Health Behaviours - NIDI-KNAW - The Hague

PhD candidate for the project Life-Course Transitions, Socio-Economic Status and Health Behaviours - NIDI-KNAW - The Hague

Published Deadline Location
7 Aug 6 Sep Groningen

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Job description

Promoting healthy behaviours in society is a key ambition of much research on the intersection of the social and medical sciences. However, the understanding of the mechanisms producing health inequalities over the life course is still limited. The causation mechanism suggests that people’s socio-economic and sociodemographic positions cause changes in health behaviours. The selection mechanism suggests that health differences result from differences in behaviours that already existed prior to the ‘sorting’ of people into socioeconomic and socio-demographic positions. This project aims at disentangling this causation-selection conundrum by applying a life-course perspective. In a longitudinal design, the impact of life-course transitions on health behaviours is studied, alongside the role of socio-economic characteristics. To do so, this project pools expertise from the social and medical sciences.

This PhD will focus on the relationship between life-course transitions and health during older adulthood. In older adulthood, events are often focused on relinquishing obligations (e.g. retirement, widowhood). Data will be analyzed from the Lifelines study. Another PhD will focus on that same relationship during young adulthood (no vacancy).

The PhD position is funded by a grant from the Research Fund of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences. The project will be supervised by prof. dr. U. Bültmann (UMCG) and prof. dr. K. Henkens (NIDI) and will be located at UMCG. The PhD candidate will write a dissertation, based on a set of research articles, publishable in international refereed journals.

Main tasks:

  • Writing academic articles
  • Data analysis of the Lifelines longitudinal data set
  • Contribution to the dissemination of research findings



Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)



Candidates should have:

  • Completed a Research Master in one of the social, health or medical sciences, or a comparable background
  • A passion for research
  • Solid knowledge of statistical methods for the analysis of large-scale panel data
  • Knowledge of the literature on life-course sociology and/or life-course epidemiology
  • Excellent knowledge of English
  • Good writing and presentation skills

Conditions of employment

Appointment and salary:

The candidate will be employed by NIDI-KNAW. Preferred starting date is November 1, 2019. The initial appointment will be for a period of one year. After a positive evaluation, the appointment will be extended for another three years. A psychological assessment may be part of the selection procedure. The gross monthly salary will be between € 2,325 (year 1) and € 2,972 (year 4). Benefits include pension contribution, annual holiday premium of 8% and an end-of-year premium of 8.3%. Non-Dutch nationals may be eligible for a substantial tax break (30% ruling).

Place of work:
UMCG, Hanzeplein 1, Groningen.


Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)

The Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI) conducts research on population issues and makes demographic expertise available to researchers, policymakers and the public. 

The purpose of this research is to describe, analyse and explain past and present demographic trends and to forecast future trends. NIDI typically takes an interdisciplinary and international approach to its research, in which it focuses on the following four themes:

  • migration and integration
  • labour market and social security
  • ageing and family relationships


This is a joint project by NIDI, The University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG) of the University of Groningen, and the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies (NIAS).


  • PhD; Research, development, innovation
  • Economics; Behaviour and society
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • Doctorate
  • AT2019-042


Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)

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Hanzeplein 1, 9713 GZ, Groningen

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