Postdoctoral Researcher on Epigenetic processes in psychosocial development during school transitions in adolescence (0.8 FTE, 3 years)

Postdoctoral Researcher on Epigenetic processes in psychosocial development during school transitions in adolescence (0.8 FTE, 3 years)

Published Deadline Location
2 Oct 31 Oct Utrecht

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The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences is looking for a Postdoc on epigenetic processes in psychosocial development during school transitions in adolescence. Interested? Read more and apply here.

Job description

The Department of Education and Pedagogical Science, division Youth and Family, has a vacancy for a Postdoctoral Researcher on the project Development of Adolescent Identity and Autonomy during Transitional Periods: Putting the Individual Back into Development (INTRANSITION). The INTRANSITION project has been funded by an ERC Consolidator Grant. You will be part of a larger project team, containing the principle investigator, three PhD candidates, two Postdocs and a number of Student Assistants. 

The INTRANSITION project examines how identity and autonomy are formed in daily interactions with parents and friends, during important school transitions from childhood to adolescence and from adolescence to emerging adulthood. Identity develops through interactions with parents and friends and is important for adolescents’ relational functioning and societal participation. 
The project involves two datasets. In the first dataset, adolescents will be followed longitudinally during important transitional periods: a cohort that transitions from elementary to secondary education and a cohort that transition from secondary to tertiary education. Data will be collected using a combination of experience sampling, observations of interactions with parents and friends, questionnaire data, and repeated DNA assessments. 

In addition, the Postdoc will use data of the ongoing longitudinal RADAR study (currently 10 waves available), a multi-informant study following adolescents, their family and friends from age 12 with questionnaires and repeated DNA assessment. An important strength of the project is the repeated assessment of genetic information coupled with a detailed assessment of the environmental factors that affect adolescent development.

The Postdoc will focus on epigenetic processes involved in development of identity and autonomy in adolescence and young adulthood. Incorporating epigenetic investigations into longitudinal cohort studies of development can elucidate how gene-environment interactions contribute to development. Epigenetic processes are an important mechanism by which environmental factors can affect psychosocial functioning. By examining within-individual temporal changes in gene-specific methylation and relating them to changes in the psychosocial environment, the postdoc will not only examine whether and how the epigenome changes over time as a result of important environmental changes in adolescents’ lives, but also whether these epigenetic processes are involved in mediating or moderating the associations between genetic and/or environmental risk factors and psychosocial adjustment, in this case development of identity and autonomy.


Utrecht University


The successful candidate should meet the following requirements:
• a PhD in Pedagogics, Developmental Psychology, or a closely related field;
• expertise in and affinity with psychosocial development of adolescents;
• experience with advanced longitudinal data analysis;
• expertise in genetic studies;
• ability to initiate, develop, and deliver high quality research;
• fluency in English and good writing skills, reflected in published articles in leading peer-reviewed international citation indexed journals in the field;
• ability or potential to generate external research funding;
• excellent interpersonal skills, ability to work independently and as part of a team;
• preferably fluent in Dutch, to be able to assist in the coordination of the data collection.

Conditions of employment

We offer a temporary position for one year. Upon a positive performance the appointment will be extended with a period of two years. The gross salary ranges between €2,709 and  €4,274 gross per month for a full-time employment (scale 10 of the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities). In addition, we offer attractive and flexible secondary terms of employment such as an annual holiday pay of 8%, an end-of-year bonus of 8.3% per year and partially paid parental leave. We also provide an attractive working environment and a vibrant research climate. More information is available at our website: working at Utrecht University.


A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

The city of Utrecht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, with a charming old center and an internationally oriented culture that is strongly influenced by its century-old university. Utrecht city has been consistently ranked as one of the most liveable cities in the Netherlands.

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences is one of the leading Faculties in Europe providing research and academic teaching in Cultural Anthropology, Educational Sciences, Interdisciplinary Social Science, Pedagogical Sciences, Psychology, and Sociology. Research and teaching activities are concentrated in five areas:

• Behaviour in Social Contexts;
• Child and Adolescent Studies;
• Cognitive and Clinical Psychology;
• Education and Learning;
• Methodology and Statistics.

More than 5,600 students are enrolled in a broad range of undergraduate and graduate programmes. The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has some 850 faculty and staff members, all providing their individual contribution to the training and education of young talent and to the research into and finding solutions for scientific and societal issues.


  • Postdoc
  • Behaviour and society
  • 28—32 hours per week
  • €2709—€4274 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 1065585



Domplein 29, 3512 JE, Utrecht

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