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.

Postdoctoral Fellow Ambulatory Stress Assessment

38 hours

The department of Biological Psychology at the Vrije Universiteit has a vacancy for a Postdoctoral fellow within the ambitious Stress in Action project.

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 Postdoc within the Data Infrastructure Support Core, your mission is to guide the harmonization and meta-data annotation of the existing data collected during daily life settings within various large national cohorts (e.g. arising from the Rotterdam Study, Generation R, LifeLines, NESDA and Netherlands Twin Register studies). Stress in Action core applicants performed ambulatory assessment studies that collected relevant data on stress responses, disease outcomes, and potential moderators in these cohorts (at current count, N > 8000). Together, these data provide a useful resource for modelling each of the four components of the stress response (emotional, cognitive, physiological and behavioural).

By creating this resource you will enable yourself to publish on a very rich dataset on stress in daily life and you will be actively supported to do so. This is academically challenging because constructs measures, protocols, sampling frequencies, and inclusion criteria used, differ between the cohorts, so good harmonization and analytic strategies are required, e.g. by exploiting the substantial overlap in primary sensors (e.g. accelerometers, HR(V) recorders) and smartphone-based self-report items used. You will also be involved in the daily supervision of one or more PhD students, and will have the possibility to shape your future, as advancing the career of young stress researchers is one of the missions of the Stress-in-Action consortium.

Where will you be working?
At the department Biological Psychology of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam we conduct research and education on the causes of individual differences in health behaviours and disease outcomes. It is a department with a long tradition in stress research where enthusiastic and ambitious academics work on generating knowledge and translating this to improvements in health and wellbeing. Our research on the role of genetic and environmental factors – including stress- belongs to the international top. For the Stress in Action project, there is a close connection with researchers from the Amsterdam UMC, University Twente, Erasmus Medical Center, the University of Groningen and its UMC Groningen, and Utrecht University.

Requested profile:

  • PhD degree in the fields of psychology, health sciences, biomedical sciences, epidemiology, bioinformatics, computer sciences, or a related discipline (also candidates close to the thesis defense are encouraged to apply)
  • Experience in working with ambulatory data in the context of the behavioral or life sciences
  • Experience and/or strong interest in working with ‘big’ data
  • Knowledge of psychometric principles and related statistical methodology
  • Good programming skills in Python, R, Matlab or other tools for physiological signal analysis
  • Affinity and proven experience with writing research papers
  • English conversation, writing skills, and presentation skills
  • Communication and social skills
  • Interest in supervision of students

What will we offer?

You will start with a contract for one year (12 months) in accordance with the CAO VSNU 2022-2023, with the intention of extension for another two years (24 months).

  • Salary range is 3.703 – 5.439 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.
  • Pension accrual with ABP, of which we pay 70% of the premium.
  • Market-conform reimbursement of a large part of your public transport costs. Good public transport options. Would you rather travel by bike? Then we have a good bicycle scheme.
  • You will become part of a large and active national community of over 20+ PhD students and 10+ postdocs who will work on the Stress-in-Action project at different institutions.

For more information about these vacancies, you can contact Professor Eco de Geus –

You can send your response by e-mail to ms Natascha Stroo, departmental manager Biological Psychology,, referencing the job application number and adding a motivation letter and your CV as enclosures.

Or use:

Responses are considered until close-of-business on 15 January 2023.