The department of Psychology, Health and Technology at the University of Twente has a vacancy for a PhD-student within the ambitious Stress in Action project.

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 are looking for researchers that work on our exciting Stress in Action project.

PhD-student position: Physiological Stress in Daily Life
38 hours

Stress in Action project
In this project, 25 multidisciplinary scientists from six Dutch Universities collaborate around the theme ‘stress in daily life’. Divided over three Research Themes and three Support Cores, the Stress in Action consortium, we 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?
As the PhD-student your main mission is to provide the Stress in Action community with tools for the continuous (and reliable) recording of the physiological stress response in daily life. You will start out by reviewing the state of the art in the consumer wearables – such as smartwatches, smart rings, or sensors engrained in clothing – that can record psychophysiological activity and provide bio-cues (i.e. alert users of exceeding certain physiological thresholds) in daily life for extended periods of time (at least one week). You will rank-order them in suitability building on the extensive experience with the development and validation testing of physiological wearables in our University of Twente and Vrije Universiteit teams with a particular focus on usability and user experience of the tools. This will prepare you to select the most promising wearables for extensive experimental validation of physiological and stress measurement in controlled Virtual Reality (VR) settings as well as during real life ambulatory recording.
Together with the BMS lab you will create a VR validation pipeline consisting of a standardized battery of social-evaluative, mental and physical stressors and comparing the wearable technology to gold-standard lab equipment. In addition, you will create a standardized validation protocol for intensive longitudinal ambulatory measurement with a focus on the quality of the physiological signals (e.g. both monitoring and cueing of electrodermal activity and cardiovascular activity) and the usability and user experience of the tools.

Where will you be working?
The section PHT has a focus on the development and evaluation of engaging personalized and adaptive interventions. We have a strong culture of interdisciplinary research within the Health and Institutional Behaviour department to contribute to BMS Faculty themes like health and resilience. We also connect with technological groups like Industrial Design, Human-Media Interaction and Biomedical Signals and Systems in university-wide collaborations such as the TechMed Centre and the Design Lab.

Requested profile:

  • MSc-degree in (bio)psychology, health sciences, statistics, biomedical technology, medical physics, computer science or a related discipline (also candidates close to  graduating are encouraged to apply)
  • Strong interest in wearable technology, experimental (psycho-)physiological research, VR research, data science and/or signal analytics
  • Programming skills in Python, R, Matlab or other tools for physiological signal analysis. Candidates with experience in VR experimentation and/or development are also invited to apply
  • Affinity and preferably experience with writing research papers
  • English conversation, writing skills, and presentation skills
  • Communication and social skills related to working in interdisciplinary environments

What will we offer?

  • As a PhD student at UT, you will be appointed for 38 hours for 4 years (1.0 fte), with a qualifier in the first year, within a very stimulating and exciting scientific environment;
  • You will become part of a large and active national community of 20+ PhD-students within the Stress in Action programme, 4 of which start within the same Research

Theme at around the same time;

  • Your salary and associated conditions are in accordance with the collective labour agreement for Dutch universities (CAO-NU);
  • You will receive a gross monthly salary ranging from € 2.541,- (first year) to € 3.247,- (fourth year);
  • There are excellent benefits including a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%, and a solid pension scheme;
  • A family-friendly institution that offers parental leave (both paid and unpaid);
  • You will have a training programme as part of the Twente Graduate School where you and your supervisors will determine a plan for a suitable education and supervision;
  • We encourage a high degree of responsibility and independence, while collaborating with close colleagues, researchers and other staff.

For more information regarding this position, you are welcome to contact Prof. Matthijs Noordzij,
Are you interested in this position?
Please send your application via the UT website – vacancies page before 15-1-2023 and include:

  • A motivation letter
  • A detailed cv
  • Names of 2 people that we can contact for additional information