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Are you interested in studying and promoting physical activity behaviour of young children aged 2-6 years? Do you want to contribute to an active and healthy young generation? As a PhD candidate within the theme 'Active Living' you will investigate how young children in preschool and primary school can be stimulated to be (and remain) active.
You will be embedded in the Learning, Education and Development research programme at the Behavioural Science Institute (BSI). You will be part of the Active Living research team, which performs both fundamental and applied research on active living throughout the lifespan.
In this PhD project you will focus on the physical activity behaviour of children aged 2-6 years and how this is affected by the transition from preschool to primary school. The role of the children's close social network, including parents and early childhood educators, is also examined. Focusing on the young population is essential to reverse the worldwide growing trend of inactive behaviour, because the basic motor skills and activity behaviour developed in early childhood provide the foundation for the development of an active lifestyle in middle childhood, adolescence, and beyond. The central question is: What motivates children to remain active in the transition from preschool to primary school and how can the close social network facilitate this?
As a PhD candidate, you will initiate, develop and execute a number of studies. First, you will perform a systematic review of the existing literature. Second, you will conduct a longitudinal study to examine the development of motor skills, motivation and physical activity of children aged 2-6 years during the transition from preschool to primary school. Third, you will perform an analysis of the children's close social network using questionnaires and interview 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 Learning, Education and Development department and other relevant research meetings, such as those of the Active Living team. As a participant in 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 will also encourage you to attend and present your work at relevant workshops and conferences. You will have a 10% teaching load and the opportunity to work towards the U University Teaching Qualification.
Fixed-term contract: 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).
The Behavioural Science Institute (BSI) is a multidisciplinary research institute and one of the three research institutes of the Faculty of Social Sciences at Radboud University. Our researchers collaborate across the boundaries of psychology, pedagogical sciences, educational sciences, 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, the institute is known for its successful graduate school and strong commitment to open science.
As part of the Learning, Education and Development research programme, researchers investigate the biological, cognitive, motivational, social and emotional processes related to 'life-long learning'. Within the 'Active Living' theme, we specifically focus on how people can be motivated to start and maintain an active lifestyle and participate in society. We use an interdisciplinary approach, combining disciplines from both within the social sciences and beyond. In addition, we have strong collaborations with societal partners, enabling us to make impact with our research.
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