PhD position in Methodology and Statistics: Examining Variation in Causal Effects in Psychology

PhD position in Methodology and Statistics: Examining Variation in Causal Effects in Psychology

Published Deadline Location
27 Feb 14 Apr Tilburg

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

Job description

Project Description
We are looking for two talented and ambitious PhD candidates in methodology and statistics 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 understand better when and for whom causal effects emerge and to tackle major methodological challenges that could potentially create biased outcomes and conclusions. 

The goal of the first 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. The goal of the second PhD project is to formulate and study model-based solutions for psychometric issues of scaling and violations of measurement invariance that could create or obscure effect heterogeneity and investigate the performance and reproducibility of novel statistical and machine learning tools for exploring predictors of causal effects in experiments using psychological scales. 

Your position 

Both PhD projects will entail formal approaches, simulation studies, the development of useful software tools, and applications to empirical data from psychological experiments in collaboration with other researchers. The positions and the environment in which the candidates will be embedded provide an optimal starting point for an academic career in methodology and meta-research. 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. Besides research, the PhD students will contribute to the teaching tasks within the department and build an education portfolio that prepares them well for a successful academic career. 

Your responsibilities  

 •    Your research work includes literature reviews, developing and extending statistical methodologies, analyzing theoretical & practical properties, conducting simulations, analyzing empirical data, and writing software.
•    You will prepare scientific articles to be published in international journals, present key findings at national and international scientific conferences, and write a dissertation.
•    You will actively participate in the Department of Methodology and Statistics.
•    You will contribute to Open Science and Team Science. 
•    You will contribute to education and supervision (e.g. supervising bachelor’s theses and research skills groups; not more than 10% of your time will be devoted)


Tilburg University


Your background 

We are looking for strong PhD candidates with a relevant (Research) Master’s degree with a background in psychology, methodology, (applied) statistics, or a related field (data science, econometrics). The degree should be completed or almost completed. Other requirements include:

  •        Interest in conducting high-quality methodological research
  •        Interest in developing and applying advanced statistical methods       
  •        A commitment to improving psychological science through impactful meta-research
  •        Programming skills and good data analytical abilities
  •        Strong background in methodology and statistics as reflected by grades
  •        Interest in open science and team science
  •        Interest in providing small-scale education, such as teaching working groups or              bachelor thesis supervision

Conditions of employment

Our offer  

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 €2.770 and a maximum of €3.539 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. 

Your terms of employment
Your valuable contribution will be rewarded with attractive benefits and sufficient attention to work-life balance. Our offer includes:
•    Two positions based on 1.0 FTE (40 hours per week)
•    This is a vacancy for a temporary position in accordance with Article 2.3, paragraph 5 of the CLA for Dutch Universities. You will be given a temporary employment contract for the duration of 12 months. After this period, in case of proven suitability and continuation in the same position, you will receive a subsequent employment contract that can be extended to a maximum duration of 48 months.  

•    A salary ranging from a minimum of € 2.770 to a maximum of € 3.539 gross per month for full time employment, based on UFO profile PhD and salary scale PR of the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. 

In addition to your monthly salary, you will receive 41 vacation days (for a 40-hour work week), a holiday allowance (8%), and a year-end bonus (8.3%). We reimburse the full cost of sustainable commuting: walking, cycling, or public transportation. We have a moving expenses scheme that makes it attractive to live close to the university. You will be enrolled in the ABP pension fund through us. Our Options Model allows you to choose from a variety of facilities at a tax advantage. You can work in a hybrid manner: on campus and, for a reimbursement, from home. Researchers from outside the Netherlands may qualify for a tax-free allowance of 30% of their taxable salary if they meet the relevant conditions. The university applies for this allowance on their behalf.


  • PhD
  • 22162



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