PhD position: Saying the right word at the right time

PhD position: Saying the right word at the right time

Geplaatst Deadline Locatie
8 apr 19 mei Utrecht

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Are you looking for an interesting PhD position at the department of Education and Pedagogy? Join us in the project ‘Saying the right word at the right time!


Infants and toddlers develop through exploration of their environment and in interaction with caregivers. This study focusses on naturalistic contexts, the home and centre-based childcare in a diverse sample of infants/toddlers. This provides insights regarding the effects of these contexts, while enhancing our understanding of the mechanisms of early vocabulary development, also in children from lower socioeconomic families, who often lag behind in vocabulary development.

Wat ga je doen?
Initial evidence suggests that the combination of exploration and human interaction, such that objects are named at the right time, during moments of so-called embodied attention (when children hold an object such that it dominates their visual field), may serve as main learning mechanisms in early vocabulary development. While previous research has been mainly conducted in the lab with middleclass families, this study focusses on naturalistic contexts, the home and centre-based childcare in a diverse sample of infants/toddlers. The aims of the project are:
  • To understand children’s exploration behaviour and the role of caregiver’s labelling behaviour during moments of embodied attention across the home and childcare context;
  • To study the role of exploration behaviour and vocabulary development with caregiver labelling as moderator across contexts;
  • To investigate differences in child and parental behaviour related to the family’s socio-economic background.


Universiteit Utrecht


We would love to hear from you, if:
  • You have an (almost finished) (Research) Master’s degree in the field of developmental psychology, pedagogics, education, or a related field;
  • You have excellent research and writing skills;
  • You have well-developed analytical skills and you are preferably acquainted with Mplus and/or R;
  • You have good social skills and affinity with data collection;
  • You have excellent verbal and written communication skills in English;
  • You have a good command of the Dutch language or are willing to learn Dutch. This is a requirement for the data collection. We offer free Dutch language courses to help you learn;
  • You are an active team member with good communication skills.

Your suitability is ideally exemplified, if:
  • You have worked with children and/or families.
  • You have experience with conducting observations.
  • You are fluent in Dutch.


We offer:
  • a position (0.8 FTE) for 1 year, with an extension to a total of four years upon successful assessment;
  • a full-time gross salary between €2,770 in the first year and €3,539 in the fourth year of employment in scale P of the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities;
  • 8% holiday bonus and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities.

In addition to the employment conditions from the CAO for Dutch Universities, Utrecht University has a number of its own arrangements. These include agreements on professional development, leave arrangements, sports and cultural schemes and you get discounts on software and other IT products. We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment through the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we encourage you to grow. For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University.


Universiteit Utrecht

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major strategic themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Pathways to Sustainability. Sharing science, shaping tomorrow.

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences is one of the leading faculties in Europe providing research and academic teaching in cultural anthropology, educational sciences, interdisciplinary social science, pedagogical sciences, psychology, and sociology. Almost 7,000 students are enrolled in a broad range of undergraduate and graduate programmes. The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has some 1,100 faculty and staff members, all providing their individual contribution to the training and education of young talent and to the research into and finding solutions for scientific and societal issues.

The faculty strives for diversity among its employees and students and is committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment for everyone, as can be read in Utrecht University's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy.

The faculty attaches great importance to the fact that its employees can be widely deployed in the university organization, now and in the future, to further professionalize the support of education and research. To encourage this, every employee is given the time and facilities – for example in the form of training – at some point in their career to participate in projects or work in other departments. Characteristics that the faculty considers important are involvement, the ability to collaborate and flexibility.

The faculty is located at Utrecht Science Park near the historical city centre of Utrecht.


  • PhD
  • Gedrag en maatschappij
  • max. 32 uur per week
  • €2770—€3539 per maand
  • Universitair
  • 3762


Universiteit Utrecht

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Heidelberglaan 1, 3584CS, Utrecht

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