Two PhD positions in meta-research: Examining Variation in Causal Effects in Psychology

Two PhD positions in meta-research: Examining Variation in Causal Effects in Psychology

Published Deadline Location
2 May 30 May Tilburg

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We are looking for two PhD candidates as part of the NWO-funded VICI project Examining Variation in Causal Effects in Psychology

Job description

We are looking for two talented and ambitious PhD candidates as part of the NWO-funded VICI project Examining Variation in Causal Effects in Psychology (EVINCE). 


The EVINCE project develops and validates new psychometric, statistical, and methodological solutions and tools that allow researchers in psychology and related fields to better understand when and for whom causal effects emerge, and to tackle major methodological challenges that could potentially create biases outcomes and incorrect conclusions. 


The goal of the first PhD project is to formalize and validate a new statistical model for p-hacking and to create novel tools that can be used to correct for biases due to p-hacking in single studies and meta-analysis. The goal of the second PhD project is to develop, refine, and validate (meta- analytic) tests for variation in causal effects as both unexplained and explained by premeasured individual differences (covariates) that could inform whether researchers should consider finding moderators of causal effects in randomized experiments.


Both PhD projects will entail formal approaches, simulation studies, development of useful software tools, and applications to empirical data from psychological experiments in collaboration with other researchers. The positions also involve contributions to teaching that allow the candidates to build a teaching portfolio during their PhD project. The positions and the environment in which the candidates will be embedded provide an optimal starting point for an academic career in academia in general and methodology and statistics in particular. The candidates will follow a customized track of graduate courses as part of the Interuniversity Graduate School of Psychometrics and Sociometrics (IOPS) program which will further develop the candidate’s research skills, background knowledge, and network.


Both projects are supervised by prof. dr. Jelte Wicherts and financed by a prestigious VICI grant from the Netherlands Research Council (NWO). PhD students will be part of the Meta-Research Center (, a renowned research group doing meta-research (i.e. publication bias, meta-analysis, causal inference, p-hacking, preregistration, qualitative research) to strengthen psychological science. 
We strongly value open science: among other things, we encourage preregistration, sharing of data and materials, and we facilitate open access publication. Beside research, PhD students will contribute to the teaching tasks within the department and build a education portfolio that prepares them well for an academic career. 


Tilburg University


The ideal candidates should:

  • have a (nearly finished) (Research) Master’s degree in psychology, methodology, (applied) statistics, or a related field
  • a commitment to improve psychological science through impactful meta-research
  • have a strong background in methodology and statistics as reflected by grades
  • have strong programming skills and some experience with publishing their earlier work
  • Tilburg University is an international university, firmly rooted in the region and therefore bilingual. We expect our employees to meet the language level appropriate for the position. For academics, an excellent command of English is required: CEFR level C2.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

This is a position for 1.0 FTE (40 hours per week) of the full-time working week. 
The salary amounts to a minimum of €2.541 and a maximum of €3.247 gross per month for full time employment contract, based on UFO profile PhD student and salary scale number PhD’s of the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. Tilburg University uses a neutral salary system for scaling that is based on relevant education and work experience. 


You are entitled to a vacation allowance of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% of your gross annual income. If you work 40 hours per week, you will receive 41 paid days of leave per year.
Tilburg University offers excellent employment conditions. We think flexibility, professional and personal development, and good employee benefits important. We make clear agreements about career paths and offer all kinds of facilities and schemes to maintain an optimal balance between work and private life. You can also follow numerous training courses, for example in the areas of leadership skills, personal effectiveness, and career development.  


Tilburg University values an open and inclusive culture. We embrace diversity and encourage the mutual integration of groups of employees and students. We focus on creating equal opportunities for all our employees and students, so that everyone feels at home in our university community.
Tilburg University has a lively campus in beautiful green surroundings that is easily accessible by public transport. We are committed to a sustainable society and challenge you to make an active contribution.


Please visit working at Tilburg University for more information on our terms of employment. 


Tilburg University

Serving society and making it better for its citizens. That is what drives us. Tilburg University's founder, Martinus Cobbenhagen, believed that anyone who wants to understand society must be actively and consciously involved in it. These ideas still form the basis of our university.


Under the motto Understanding society, our more than 2,800 employees develop and transfer knowledge and bring people from different disciplines and organizations together. In this way, we want to contribute to solving complex social issues. In doing so, we work from the fields of economics, business and entrepreneurship, social and behavioral sciences, law and administration, humanities and digital sciences, and theology.

We educate our 20,000 students of 132 nationalities to become Tilburg University Shaped Professionals: responsible and entrepreneurial thinkers, driven by solidarity, a sense of responsibility and empathy, who are able to influence and give direction to a rapidly changing society in an innovative way.


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • 21562



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