PhD position in the INDEEP Marie Sklodowska-Curie Doctoral Network

PhD position in the INDEEP Marie Sklodowska-Curie Doctoral Network

Published Deadline Location
23 Feb 25 Apr Amsterdam
INDEEP (INtervention on the DEterminants of, and Expertise in, Physical activity behaviours)

Job description

INDEEP (INtervention on the DEterminants of, and Expertise in, Physical activity behaviours) is an EU-funded Marie Sklodowska-Curie Doctoral Network that seeks to generate excellence in research and training, providing future graduates that can advance the state-of-the-art in Physical Activity promotion, through a comprehensive understanding of the determinants associated with Physical Activity Behaviours, innovative methodologies, and data analytics.

The main aims of the INDEEP doctoral network are ultimately to provide an intervention development toolbox, supporting the integration of determinants of Physical Activity Behaviours, behaviour change theory and intervention co-creation to aid in the development of evidence-based interventions which integrate top-down and bottom-up interventional approaches. Through utilising determinant knowledge gained through state-of-the-art methodologies, and systematically integrating this knowledge with a co-creative methodology, the INDEEP intervention development toolkit will provide researchers and practitioners across Europe with an evidence-based best practice approach to intervention development, taking into consideration the interactions within a complex behavioural system.

This PhD position will take a systems approach to physical activity behaviours in families with children with the overarching goal to help improve physical activity levels across the family. Physical activity levels are not merely a result of individual motivation but determined by a complex system in which multiple individual and environmental factors play a role (i.e. the social environment in- and outside the family, the built environment in the local neighbourhood, local or national policies, transportation options, etc). By mapping the system that underlies physical activity levels in families with children we aim to identify leverage points that can help tip the system towards higher physical activity participation.

Duties of the PhD position
This position will involve a number of different methods to help achieve the research goals, including systematic review of the literature, participatory research, quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis.

We will use group model building, which is suited to incorporating the perspectives of different stakeholders in order to help everyone reach a shared understanding of the system that underlies physical activity behaviours. Through group model building sessionswith families and stakeholders in combination with a review of the literature we will generate an overview of the complex system underlying physical activity behaviours in families with children (Causal Loop Diagrams). The results from thegroup model building sessions and further stakeholder interviews will be used to identify leverage points in the system that can be targeted to help shift the system towards healthier physical activity behaviours in the families.

This work will result in a number of scientific papers which will form the basis of your PhD thesis.


Amsterdam UMC


  • You must have a professionally relevant background in system science, human movement science, epidemiology, health sciences, public health or a closely related discipline.
  • You may not already hold a doctoral degree.
  • You have to comply with the Marie Sklodowska-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 recruitment date.
  • Your education has to correspond to a four- to five-year undergraduate degree program, successfully concluded by a Masters degree.
  • You must have a strong academic background from your previous studies and an average grade of a first- or second-class honours degree (or equivalent compared with the institutional grading scale). If you have a weaker grade background, you may be assessed if you can document that you are particularly suitable for a PhD education.
  • You have to meet the requirements for admission to the faculty/institutional doctoral program.
  • You are fluent in both Dutch and English.
  • It is a prerequisite that you are present at and accessible to the Amsterdam UMC on a daily basis (i.e. place of residence in the Netherlands for the duration of your PhD).

Preferred selection criteria
  • Preference to work in an interdisciplinary environment.
  • Previous experience in system science (such as building a causal loop diagram).
  • Previous experience with participatory research/co-creation.

Personal characteristics
In the doctoral candidate selection process, emphasis will be placed on personal and interpersonal qualities.

Important elements to be considered are:
  • Be scientifically curious and open to new research challenges, demonstrate persistence in addressing technical problems.
  • Excellent communication and dissemination skills.
  • Ability to work independently as well as in cross-disciplinary teams.
  • Be self-motivated, focused, and goal-oriented, be committed and keep deadlines, be flexible, reliable, and solution-orientated, be innovation-driven, enthusiastic, and ambitious.
  • Ability to interact and collaborate with actors in academia, public sector, and industry.

Conditions of employment

  • An inclusive work environment.
  • Access to state-of-the-art training within the INDEEP doctoral network, at an academic, policy and industry level.
  • Opportunities to collaborate with discipline specific world leading researchers.

Salary and conditions
  • As a MSCA DN doctoral candidate, you will receive a gross pre-tax salary of € 2901,- per month (which will increase to €3359 in year 2, €3514 in year 3 and €3677 in year 4).
  • As is normal in a Dutch PhD contract at Amsterdam UMC, you will enter an employment agreement for the duration of the PhD trajectory, which means 4 years fulltime (36 h/w). The compensation that Amsterdam UMC receives from the EU covers 3 years, so Amsterdam UMC offers an extra year of employment (including education and income) compared to the usual MSCA DN trajectories.
  • For early-stage Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellows in the Netherlands, the level of the living allowance plus mobility allowance is typically equal to or slightly lower than the obligatory minimum salary level for PhDs according to Dutch law. In the first year of employment the salary for PhD students in the Netherlands is lower than the amount of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie living allowance plus mobility allowance, but it is higher in the following years. So, over the first three years, at least the total of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship will be paid to the researcher. The family allowance is also included in the PhD salary (if the fellow is entitled to this family allowance). If after 3 years a calculation shows that you didn’t receive the total amount of allowances you were entitled to, you will receive an extra payment to cover the difference.

The period of employment for this PhD is four years. Appointment to the PhD programme implies that you will be admitted to the Amsterdam UMC Doctoral School within three months of employment, and that you will participate in a structured PhD programme during the employment period.


Amsterdam UMC

You will work in the section Health Behaviour & Prevention of the Department of Public & Occupational Health. Our team consists of ~40 researchers and includes expertise in behavioural change, epidemiology, implementation science, nutrition, physical activity, policy evaluation, public health and system science.

The INDEEP project is a training network that also includes partners in Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Norway and Portugal. We will collaborate with the wider network and part of your doctoral training will be together with the other nine PhD students who are based in these countries.

More information about our department and section van be found here:

Additional information

About the application

The application and supporting documentation to be used as the basis for the assessment must be in English.

Please note that your application will be considered based solely on information submitted by the application deadline. You must therefore ensure that your application clearly demonstrates how your skills and experience fulfil the criteria specified above.

The application must include:
  • Research statement (max. 3 pages) including:
    • A short explanation of the applicants motivation to undertake a PhD.
    • How the applicant sees their background as suitable for this position.
    • The applicant’s view of research challenges for the selected PhD position, as well as their theoretical and methodological approach to the challenges.
  • CV and certificates
  • Transcripts and diplomas for bachelor's and master's degrees (where applicable). If you have not completed the master's degree, you must submit a confirmation that the master's thesis has been submitted.
  • A copy of the master's thesis. If you recently have submitted your master's thesis, you can attach a draft of the thesis. Documentation of a completed master's degree must be presented before taking up the position.
  • Name and contact information of two referees.
  • Include copies and evidence of publications or other relevant research work if applicable.

Please enter all requested documents in 1 pdf under CV.
If all, or parts, of your education has been taken abroad, we also ask you to attach documentation of the scope and quality of your entire education, both bachelor's and master's education, in addition to other higher education.

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience, and personal and interpersonal qualities. Motivation, ambitions, and potential will also count in the assessment of the candidates.

Proposed Start Date:
The proposed start date to be included is September 1st 2024.

The deadline for the submission of applications is 5pm (CET+1) on Wednesday 24th April 2024.

General information
If you have any questions about the position, please contact Hidde van der Ploeg via

If you have any questions about the wider INDEEP recruitment process, please contact

For more information about the application procedure at Amsterdam UMC, please contact Tanja Hart, Recruitment advisor, via or via 06-21603178.

If this PhD vacancy has your interest and in line with your qualifications, please submit your application electronically with all above requested documentation attached to your application. Please enter all requested documents in 1 pdf under CV. Incomplete and applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Upon request, you must be able to obtain certified copies of your documentation.


  • PhD
  • Health
  • max. 36 hours per week
  • €2901—€3677 per month
  • University graduate
  • 11010



Van der Boechorststraat 7, 1081BT, Amsterdam

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Application procedure

Application procedure

Make sure to apply no later than 25 Apr 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).