PhD Candidate: Peer Processes on Social Media

PhD Candidate: Peer Processes on Social Media

Published Deadline Location
31 Mar 27 Apr Nijmegen

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Job description

Social media have become increasingly important in people's daily lives. Young people in particular spend numerous hours in the online world and use social media as a primary means to manage their social lives. This has already prompted a surge in research on the uses and effects of social media. Interestingly, whilst the online world is often mirroring the offline world, it also provides distinct peer behaviours (e.g. victimisation, co-rumination, deficiency behaviour), potentially due to its unique characteristics (e.g. asynchronicity of communication, permanent availability, cue absence). Little is known about differences between young people's off- and online worlds; how they differently affect peer processes that are crucial for youth development and well-being; and how they impact behaviour.

In this PhD project, you will focus on peer processes on social media. Specifically, you will investigate the unique characteristics of peer processing in online worlds and their risks and opportunities. Subsequently, you will examine how they relate to (risky) behaviour in both on- and offline worlds. Within this general theme, you will have the flexibility to determine the specific focus of the project. Any innovative ideas you might already have about the project we would like to read in your motivation letter.

You will be employed within the Behavioural Science Institute (BSI), embedded in the Communication & Media research programme. As a PhD Candidate, you will initiate, develop and execute several studies. You will write scientific papers, resulting in the completion of a PhD thesis at the end of your employment contract. You will participate in supervision meetings as well as staff meetings of the Communication Science department and other relevant research meetings. As part of the BSI Graduate School PhD programme, you will be expected to complete several courses related to the basic professional skills of scientific researchers such as presentation skills, scientific integrity, and data management. We also encourage you to attend and present your work at relevant workshops and conferences. As part of your PhD position, you will have a 10% teaching load and the opportunity to work towards a university teaching qualification.


Radboud University


  • You hold a Master's or Research Master's degree in Behavioural Science, (Developmental) Psychology or Communication Science.
  • You have good research, methodological and statistical skills.
  • You preferably have experience with quantitative research and research methods for mapping digital behaviour (e.g. ESM, data logs, or screenome analysis), or are willing to acquire these skills.
  • You are familiar with research practices that increase transparency in social science (e.g. pre-registration, data-sharing) or are willing to adopt such an approach.
  • You have an affinity with young people (10–18-year-olds) as a research group.
  • You have good social skills and interests to learn and think across disciplines.
  • You are a team player but also able to work independently.
  • You have good written and spoken English language skills (required for scientific publishing).

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4 year contract) or 3.5 years (5 year contract).

  • It concerns an employment for 0.8 (5 year contract) - 1.0 FTE (4 year contract).
  • The gross starting salary amounts to €2,541 per month based on a 38-hour working week, and will increase to €3,247 from the fourth year onwards (salary scale P).
  • You will receive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • You will be employed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4 year contract) or 3.5 years (5 year contract).
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Care Services. Our Dual Career and Family Care Officer can assist you with family-related support, help your partner or spouse prepare for the local labour market, provide customized support in their search for employment and help your family settle in Nijmegen.
  • Working for us means getting extra days off. In case of full-time employment, you can choose between 30 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the legally allotted 20.
Work and science require good employment practices. This is reflected in Radboud University's primary and secondary employment conditions. You can make arrangements for the best possible work-life balance with flexible working hours, various leave arrangements and working from home. You are also able to compose part of your employment conditions yourself, for example, exchange income for extra leave days and receive a reimbursement for your sports subscription. And of course, we offer a good pension plan. You are given plenty of room and responsibility to develop your talents and realise your ambitions. Therefore, we provide various training and development schemes.


The Behavioural Science Institute (BSI) is a multidisciplinary research institute and one of three research institutes in the Faculty of Social Sciences at Radboud University. Our researchers collaborate across the boundaries of psychology, educational science, and communication science. Our mission is to strengthen people through understanding the foundations of human behaviour, by creating synergy between different paradigms and by facilitating craftsmanship, curiosity and connection in academic research. BSI has seven research programmes covering three major research themes, namely human development, connection and health. BSI conducts fundamental as well as applied/translational research and has excellent facilities and support for lab and field research. Moreover, BSI is known for its successful graduate school and strong commitment to open science.

The Communication & Media research programme investigates the production, content and reception of mediated communication. Our main objective is to study the psychological mechanisms underlying uses of media, processes and effects, while taking into account the social-cultural mechanisms of the media landscape. Secondly, the research group aims to apply these fundamental insights to developing and testing media interventions. Within the context of 'positive communication research', we investigate the potential of mediated communication for improving well-being. A key role is played by techniques and tools from the area of Artificial Intelligence: Innovative methods such as machine learning and knowledge representation are used to develop intelligent media interventions that make people happy, healthy and well-informed.

Radboud University

We want to get the best out of science, others and ourselves. Why? Because this is what the world around us desperately needs. Leading research and education make an indispensable contribution to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. This is what unites the more than 24,000 students and 5,600 employees at Radboud University. And this requires even more talent, collaboration and lifelong learning. You have a part to play!


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1208024



Houtlaan 4, 6525 XZ, Nijmegen

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