PhD position in stress research

PhD position in stress research

Published Deadline Location
20 Feb 17 Mar Amsterdam

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Noise and hearing loss increase the listening effort needed to maintain work performance and participation, but at the cost of stress, fatigue and sick leave. Your project will help optimize the benefits/costs ratio of effortful listening.

Job description

You will first be stationed for 1.5 years at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam to develop a set of tools to assess listening value in real-life occupational settings through self-report using EMA and end-of-day interviewing/online surveys. To add a physiological stress component, you will also select an optimal set of existing ambulatory tools for the physiological assessment of listening costs related to physiological stress in real-life occupational settings. These activities will allow you to compile an ambulatory toolbox (EMA, physiological wearables) to comprehensively assess the costs and benefits of listening effort. You will share this toolbox with all EASYLI PhDs and help them along in its use.

In the ensuing 1.5 years you will be stationed at the Eriksholm Research Centre part of Oticon, Snekkersten, Denmark to validate hearing aids as a passive sensor tool to assess speech versus non-speech as one of the most relevant factors affecting auditory demand and listening effort in real-life listening scenarios. Next, you will demonstrate the validity of the ambulatory toolbox (including own-voice detection) by comparing the measured costs and benefits of listening effort in low vs. high effortful occupational settings (defined by acoustic analysis as well as self-report) and test the clinical utility of the toolbox for testing interventions using hearing devices.

You will defend your doctoral thesis at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Where will you be working?

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

At the department Biological Psychology of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (BioPsy VUA) we conduct research and education on the causes of individual differences in health behaviours and disease outcomes. It is a department with a long tradition in psychophysiological stress research where enthusiastic and ambitious academics work on generating knowledge and translating this to improvements in health and wellbeing. BioPsy has an extensive laboratory validation pipeline for physiological wearables and is the developer of the VU-AMS device for ambulatory stress monitoring

Eriksholm Research Centre

Eriksholm pursues audiological discoveries with the potential to significantly enhance end-user benefits in future hearing care. We work in close collaboration with academic research institutions, clinicians, and end-users, and being part of Oticon ensures that our scientific insights are applied in solutions that empower people with hearing loss.

We are a multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary team of scientists that respect and care about each other and we work in a very informal environment. We are all dedicated to exploring the unknown and striving for excellence, and we have scientific integrity and room for taking chances. Eriksholm has research facilities that include EEG, Ear-EEG, motion capture, eye-tracking, fNIRS, speech testing, a large anechoic chamber with speaker array, and a fully supported clinic and audiological facility.


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


  • You must have a professionally relevant background in biological psychology, experimental psychology, biomedical sciences, health sciences, biomedical engineering, audiology, auditory or cognitive neuroscience or a similarly relevant discipline.
  • You must not already hold a doctoral degree
  • You must comply with the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action mobility rule: not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the starting date
  • Your education must correspond to a four- to five-year undergraduate degree program, successfully concluded by a master degree
  • You must meet the requirements for admission to the faculty/institutional doctoral program
  • You must have good communication and collaboration skills and be fluent in English.
  • Previous experience with ambulatory psycho(physio)logical assessment is considered an advantage.
  • Previous experience in advanced statistics and programming in R, Python or similar are considered an advantage.
  • You must have an interest in supervision of students

As a university, we strive for equal opportunities for all, recognising that diversity takes many forms. We believe that diversity in all its complexity is invaluable for the quality of our teaching, research and service. We are always looking for talent with diverse backgrounds and experiences. This also means that we are committed to creating an inclusive community so that we can use diversity as an asset.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 1 year.

A challenging position in a socially engaged organisation. At VU Amsterdam, you contribute to education, research and service for a better world. And that is valuable. So in return for your efforts, we offer you:
  • a salary of minimum € 2.770,00 (PhD) and maximum € 3.377,00 (PhD) in the third year, or if possible € 3.539,00 gross per month, on a full-time basis. This is based on UFO profile PhD candidate.
  • a position for at least 1 FTE. Your employment contract will initially last 1 year. If there is sufficient perspective, this will be extended to a total of 3 years (if feasible 4 years).

We also offer you attractive fringe benefits and regulations. Some examples:
  • A full-time 38-hour working week comes with a holiday leave entitlement of 232 hours per year. If you choose to work 40 hours, you have 96 extra holiday leave hours on an annual basis. For part-timers, this is calculated pro rata.
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package
  • discounts on collective insurances (healthcare- and car insurance);


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

About the department

At the department Biological Psychology of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam we conduct research and education on the causes of individual differences in health behaviours and disease outcomes. It is a department with a long tradition in stress research where enthusiastic and ambitious academics work on generating knowledge and translating this to improvements in health and wellbeing. Our research on the role of genetic and environmental factors - including stress- belongs to the international top. For the Stress-in-Action project, there is a close connection with researchers from the Amsterdam UMC, University Twente, Erasmus Medical Center, the University of Groningen and its UMC Groningen, and Utrecht University.

Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences
Developing knowledge for an active, healthy and meaningful life: that is our mission at the Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences at VU Amsterdam. We maintain a broad focus on the fields of behaviour and health. Our teaching and research programmes are devoted to current developments in society. From healthy aging to e-health, and from training top athletes to social media as a teaching tool. We combine three academic disciplines: psychology, movement sciences and education. A multidisciplinary approach allows us to arrive at a better understanding of human behaviour and movement. Our aims are to help people live healthier lives, learn better and function better.

Are you interested in joining Behavioural and Movement Sciences? You are the kind of person who feels at home working in an ambitious faculty, with an informal atmosphere and short lines of communication. We offer you all the space you need for personal development. Together with your 630 colleagues, you will take care of about 4,200 students.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam stands for values-driven education and research. We are open-minded experts with the ability to think freely. - a broader mind. Maintaining an entrepreneurial perspective and concentrating on diversity, significance and humanity, we work on sustainable solutions with social impact. By joining forces, across the boundaries of disciplines, we work towards a better world for people and planet. Together we create a safe and respectful working and study climate, and an inspiring environment for education and research. Learn more about our codes of conduct

We are located on one physical campus, in the heart of Amsterdam's Zuidas business district, with excellent location and accessibility. Over 5,500 staff work at the VU and over 30,000 students attend academic education.

Diversity is the driving force of the VU. The VU wants to be accessible and receptive to diversity in disciplines, cultures, ideas, nationalities, beliefs, preferences and worldviews. We believe that trust, respect, interest and differences lead to new insights and innovation, to sharpness and clarity, to excellence and a broader understanding.

We stand for an inclusive community and believe that diversity and internationalisation contribute to the quality of education, research and our services.

Therefore, we are always searching for people whose backgrounds and experience contribute to the diversity of the VU community.


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 3704


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

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Van der Boechorststraat 7, 1081BT, Amsterdam

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