Innovating Interventions: Identifying and addressing substance use risk factors

Innovating Interventions: Identifying and addressing substance use risk factors

Published Deadline Location
5 Jun 20 Jun Amsterdam

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We invite an enthusiastic and ambitious PhD student to join our interdisciplinary team. The candidate will take part in an innovative research project focusing on identifying and addressing substance (ab)use risk factors by combining genetic epidemiolo...

Job description

Substance (ab)use is one of the most common mental health problems in young adults in urbanized areas. There is a limited number of successful interventions, and their effectiveness is hampered by the complicated, multilevel dynamics of the associated risk factors and risk groups. In particular, current studies into risk factors do not take people's genetic vulnerability into account, which may lead to wrong conclusions. The goal of this project is to improve existing interventions by incorporating key risk factors and risk groups identified through genetically-informed designs.

As a PhD candidate you will work together in a multidisciplinary team and will focus on two key threads of research that will run parallel and inform each other:
  1. Genetic Epidemiological Research: You will perform genetic epidemiological studies using existing datasets to determine the most relevant (socio)environmental risk factors and at-risk groups for substance use. New insights from these analyses will be used to improve existing interventions.
  2. Improving current interventions for substance use. In addition, you will perform qualitative and quantitative analyses to detect problems with current interventions for substance (ab)use, and to improve them.

You will co-develop the research projects, analyze (large-scale) quantitative data and qualitative data, write up scientific manuscripts, present at conferences, and communicate with stakeholders. The five-year project will result in a thesis, consisting of multiple research articles. This project offers a unique opportunity to contribute to research in the field of mental health, with a focus on integrating genetic insights into intervention studies, that has the potential to have real societal impact. To help you excel in this role, we will provide ample opportunity for you to deepen and broaden your knowledge about the topic of substance use and mental health problems in general, offer support and training to master the analysis techniques involved in the project (genetic analyses, network analyses, intervention design and research).


Amsterdam UMC


  • A (Research) Master degree in the field of epidemiology, psychology, biomedical sciences, bioinformatics, neurosciences, communication science, sociology or a related and relevant discipline;
  • Prior experience in data analysis using R is desirable (support will be available);
  • Affinity with quantitative statistics and big data analysis;
  • Affinity with intervention development and implementation;
  • Proficiency in English and Dutch is required.

Your application is complete once you send in your resume, cover letter, grade list and two referees.

Conditions of employment

The position is for 0.8 FTE, the possibility to extend this position to fulltime with 0.2fte teaching can be discussed. The intended start date for the project is between August and October 2024.
  • A jump-start to your career in research
  • An enthusiastic and warm team with insights from different disciplines that they are eager to share.
  • The opportunity to work and be trained in the most cutting edge epidemiological and genetic methods and make impact using intervention and implementation research.
  • The position is for 5 years. We first offer a fixed term contract for 1 year, which under normal circumstances will be prolonged with 4 years.
  • Salary scale: OIO: € 3.017,- in the first year and increases to € 3.824,- in the fourth year (based on a fulltime workweek), depending on qualifications and experience.
  • In addition to a good basic salary, we offer 8.3% end-of-year bonus and 8% holiday allowance.
  • Pension is accrued at Be Frank.
  • In addition to excellent accessibility by public transport, AMR also has a sufficient number of parking spaces for employees.
  • Reimbursement of 75% of your public transport costs. Would you rather travel by bike? Then we have a good bicycle scheme.
  • An active personnel association and the Young Amsterdam UMC association, both of which organize fun (sports) activities and events.


Amsterdam UMC

This UMH (Urban Mental Health) project is a collaboration between the centre for Urban Mental Health at the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), the Department of Psychiatry at Amsterdam UMC (UvA), and the Department of Communication Science (UvA). During your PhD, you will split your time between these departments, but will be embedded at the dept. of Psychiatry at Amsterdam UMC (Genetic Epidemiology group).


  • PhD
  • Health
  • 28—36 hours per week
  • €3017—€3824 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 11941



Meibergdreef 9, 1105AZ, Amsterdam

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