The experience of stress is an inherent aspect of daily-life. However, can we validly measure this, and how and under what circumstances does it contribute to disease? We offer one PhD- student position within our exciting Stress in Action project.

Two PhD-student positions

36 hours

The department Psychiatry of Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc (, has two vacancies for PhD-students within the ambitious Stress in Action project.

Stress in Action project
In the Stress in Action project 25 multidisciplinary scientists from six Dutch Universities collaborate around the theme ‘Stress in daily life’. Divided into three Research Themes and three Support Cores, the Stress in Action consortium will validate daily-life stress assessments, examine which contextual factors contribute to the experience of daily-life stress, and examine how daily-life stress leads to the development of both mental and cardiometabolic diseases. The project is funded through the Dutch Scientific Organization under the Gravitation program. More details can be found here:

What will you be doing?
PhD-students will work with existing ambulatory data on stress from (inter)national studies that our department is involved in. Data contain e.g. actigraphy assessment of physical activity and sleep, ecological momentary assessment (EMA) of negative and positive emotions, passive smartphone data including GPS-signal and social media activity. PhD-students will contribute to data harmonization within the consortium, and using advanced analytics, including time-series and machine learning analyses, PhD-students will utilize and integrate these data for scientific papers.

You will aim to better understand the interrelations of emotional, behavioural and cognitive dimensions of daily-life stress, how these interact and how these can be best assessed. The project will be largely based on integrated analyses of EMA, actigraphy and passive smartphone data and how these best cover daily-life stress.

You will become part of an active national research community of 20+ PhD-students and postdocs who will work on the Stress in Action project at different institutions.

Where will you be working?
At the department Psychiatry of the Amsterdam UMC (location VUmc) we conduct research, education and clinical care. It is a continuously growing department where enthusiastic and ambitious academics work on improving mental health care. Our psychiatry research belongs to the international top. For the Stress in Action project, there is a close connection with researchers from the Vrije Universiteit, the University of Groningen and its UMC Groningen, University Twente, Erasmus Medical Center and Utrecht University. Each PhD student will also have a co-supervisor from one of these institutes.

Requested profile:
We are looking for a candidate with:

  • A MSc-degree in psychology (research master), artificial intelligence, computer science or a related discipline (also candidates close to graduating are encouraged to apply)
  • Strong interest in advanced data analytics and working with large multi-modal databases. Experience with R or Python is required.
  • Affinity and preferably experience with writing research papers
  • Excellent English conversation, writing skills, and presentation skills
  • Strong communication and social skills

What will we offer?
You will start with a contract for one year (12 months) in accordance with the CAO UMC 2022-2023, with the possibility of extension for another three years (36 months).

  • Salary range is 2.631-3.336 euro Gross in full-time employment. The monthly wage will increase yearly.
  • In addition to a good basic salary, you will receive, among other things, 8.3% year-end bonus and 8% vacation allowance.
  • Free and unlimited access to our online learning environment GoodHabitz.
  • Pension accrual with ABP, of which we pay 70% of the premium.
  • Reimbursement of a large part of your public transport costs (75%). Good public transport options. Would you rather travel by bike? Then we have a good bicycle scheme.
  • An active staff association and the Young Amsterdam UMC association, both of which organize fun (sports) activities and events.

For more information about these vacancies, you can contact Professor Brenda Penninx, email:  The preferred start date is early 2023.

The deadline for applying for the two PhD-positions is January 15, 2023
Please notice that the vacancy will close earlier when we have enough suitable candidates.