PhD jobs

Two PhD positions

Developmental Psychobiology Lab

Prof.dr. Carolina de Weerth is looking for two highly capable, eager, and intrinsically motivated PhD candidates to join her Developmental Psychobiology Lab (DPBLab). This position is funded by a personal VICI grant awarded to Prof. de Weerth and funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). The grant is on healthy children’s gut microbial colonization in relation to stress early in life and later brain functioning, behavior, and cognition.

PhD1: The aim of this project is to test a new psychobiological model of human development within an ongoing longitudinal study in healthy children. In this model, early life gut microbiota mediates the associations between stress early in life and adolescent brain, behavior, and cognition. As previously shown in mice, adolescence may constitute an additional sensitive period in development, next to early life, in which dysregulation of the microbiota-gut-brain axis may contribute to what are often first manifestations of psychopathology. In this study, we will hence study the independent and potentially combined contributions of stress and microbiota in early life and in adolescence on brain structure, brain function, behavior problems, and cognitive capacities.

PhD2: The aim of this project is to study two potential causal mechanisms through which maternal psychological stress, as an early life stress-inducing factor, can negatively affect infant microbial colonization and development. The first mechanism that will be studied is the pathway from maternal prenatal stress to infant microbiota, mediated by maternal prenatal diet and her own microbiota. The second mechanism that will be studied is the pathway from maternal postnatal stress to infant microbiota mediated by breast milk composition (lactational programming). For this study, pregnant mothers and their infants will be followed from mid-pregnancy until the child reaches age 1.


You will be part of the 2018 VICI grant ‘How gut bacteria and stress shape child development’. You will join the very dynamic and highly collaborative Developmental Psychobiology Lab (DPBlab; web page:, a multidisciplinary group of senior and junior researchers. You will help design and carry out fMRI, behavioral, psychological, and biological assessment rounds in adolescents (PhD1) and behavioral, psychological, and biological assessment rounds in pregnant women and infants (PhD2) within longitudinal studies. Data collection will be in the lab and/or the field. You will analyze the data and report the results in scientific journals and conferences, and in a doctoral dissertation.

We expect:

  • a Master’s degree in psychology (e.g., developmental psychology, developmental psychopathology, clinical psychology, neuroscience/neuropsychology) or related discipline;
  • a Research Master’s degree is an advantage;
  • a profound interest in fundamental and developmental psychobiological research;
  • advanced statistical skills and experience in scientific writing, or at least a keen interest and motivation to acquire such skills;
  • expertise in relevant computer packages (e.g. SPSS, R, Limesurvey, etc.);
  • experience with MRI data collection and analysis (PhD1);
  • (research) expertise in testing children/adolescents, and in longitudinal studies, is an advantage;
  • good organizational skills; data-management skills are an advantage;
  • advanced proficiency in spoken and written English (please write your application in English);
  • good command of the Dutch language;
  • good social and communication skills;
  • a collaborative nature, pleasure in team work;
  • an energetic and productive attitude to work hard;
  • flexibility, independence, perseverance, and resilience to stress;

The appointment is for five years (0.8 fte). An official announcement of these positions will be out shortly. If you are interested in these PhD positions please contact Carolina de Weerth, at She will then send you the official announcement and application instructions when available.

Tentative schedule for application procedure (dates subject to change)

Deadline for applications: 15 October. Selected applicants will be invited to an interview that will take place on November 5. The best candidates from the first round will be invited to a second interview on November 12, which will also include an assessment component. Starting date is January 1, 2019.

Call for Abstracts VNOP-CAS Researchdays 22-23 november 2018

Dear VNOP members,

Abstract submission is now open for this year’s VNOP-CAS Researchdays, taking place on the 22nd and 23rd of November.

Are you a PhD student working in the field of developmental psychology or pedagogics? Submit your abstract now! We are very interested in your research. You can choose between a poster presentation, paper presentation or symposium. Deadline for the abstract submission is September 16, 2018.

You can submit an abstract and view submission guidelines here.

Please note that:

  • All presentations will take place on the 23rd of November, the program on the 22nd of November consists of workshops for PhD students and a social activity.
  • These Research Days are interesting for all researchers working in the field of developmental psychology or pedagogics. You do not need to be a member of VNOP or CAS.

If you have any questions, please contact the organizing committee at


PhD position, UvA

PhD candidate – Changing peer norms to improve self-regulation in youth

Research PResearch Priority Area Yield of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) is looking for a PhD candidate for the project ’Changing peer norms to improve self-regulation in youth’. The project will start in September 2018 and will be supervised by prof. dr. Geertjan Overbeek, dr. Eddie Brummelman, dr. Helle Larsen and dr. Wouter van den Bos.riority Area (RPA)

Yield conducts multidisciplinary research on the bio-ecology of human development, from infancy to young adulthood, with perspectives from Medicine, Psychology, Pedagogics, Education, Communication, Economics, and Psychometrics. With its (NWO funded) Graduate Programme and its associated PhD training programmes, RPA Yield provides an attractive environment in which PhD students are trained in multidisciplinary research on human development.

The hired candidate will join the programme group of Preventive Youth Care (dept. of Child Development and Education), led by prof. dr. Overbeek and will also be part of the department of Developmental Psychology. The Departments of Child Development and Education and Developmental Psychology are located in in the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG).

Project description

Adolescence is a turbulent phase of development. Around the transition to adolescence, self-regulation failures such as aggression typically emerge or worsen. These self-regulation failures come at great cost for individuals, communities, and society at large. How can these failures be prevented so as to help youths thrive? This project examines whether self-regulation can be improved by addressing something that youths care deeply about: the social norms within their peer group. The aim is to conduct a randomized-controlled trial and follow-up experiments to investigate how changing social norms may affect self-regulation, and to examine how this may create effective behaviour change and improve mental and physical health in youths. Moreover, this project examines how specific changes in youths cascade into healthier peer networks (increased feelings of safety, less conflicts and bullying, and fewer signs of physical ill-health). The project combines insights from pedagogics, developmental psychology, and social psychology, and will shed new light on how we can help youths flourish.


  • Participation in the PhD-programme of the Graduate School of Child Development and Education and RPA Yield;
  • independently carrying out research, writing scientific articles, and completing a PhD dissertation within four or five years;
  • active participation in the programme group of Preventive Youth Care, and the Research Institute of Child Development and Education;
  • participating in conferences, workshops, seminars, and other scholarly activities.


The PhD candidate should have the following credentials:

  • graduated with excellent results on a research-based Research Master or Master thesis in (Ortho)Pedagogics, Psychology, or a closely related discipline;
  • interest in children and adolescents, and how we can use knowledge from psychology and pedagogics to help them flourish;
  • experience in carrying out quantitative research, and interest in learning social network analyses;
  • excellent communication and academic writing skills (Dutch and English);
  • excellent organization and project coordination skills;
  • experience/interest in working with teachers and schools and children and adolescents;
  • knowledge of/interest in peer relations development both in childhood and in adolescence;
  • knowledge of/interest in school-based peer interventions;
  • ability to work in an interdisciplinary team.

Further information

Deadline 25 June 2018.

See vacancy for more information.

Developmental courses at Radboud Summer School 2018

Nijmegen, 13-17 August 2018

(early bird registration deadline: 1 April)

Peer Relations and Interactions in Childhood and Adolescence

Peers are powerful socialization agents, contributing well beyond the collective influences of family, school and neighborhood. This highly interactive course focuses on the importance of peers for child development. During this course you will have ample opportunity to learn about the past, present and future of peer relations research. You will also learn to use state of the art research measures and paradigms to assess peer relations and interactions. The course will be taught by the members of the Peer Relations Lab at Radboud University (peerlab). Course leader is Prof. dr. Toon Cillessen.

Early Programming: How Early Life Shapes Human Development

During the prenatal and early postnatal years neurobiological and behavioral development proceeds at a breathtaking pace and is highly sensitive to environmental influences. Early experience shapes early and long-term developmental outcomes.  This highly interactive course looks into exciting and recently discovered environmental factors and mechanisms that shape early and long-term human development; using evolutionary, biological, psychological and social perspectives. Course leader is Prof. dr. Carolina de Weerth.

Two Vici awards for developmental research

Vici is one of the largest grants for individuals in the Netherlands and targets advanced researchers. The funding enables the scientists to set up their own innovative line of research and put together their own research group.

When Mommy and Daddy Get Under Your Skin…
Prof. G. (Geertjan) Overbeek (m), UvA – Pedagogics

This research examines whether parents can get under their children’s skins. By using effective parenting interventions for families at risk, the researchers aim to enrich parenting to such an extent that it leads to changes in gene expression. This potentially predicts improved stress reactivity and less disruptive behavior in children.

How gut bacteria and stress shape child development
Prof.dr. C. (Carolina) de Weerth (f), RU – Developmental Psychology

Intestinal bacteria are essential for health, and as recently shown in animals, probably also affect our brain and behavior. Researchers will find out how intestinal bacteria affect typical human development, from infancy till adolescence, by investigating how bacteria colonize the intestines, in situations with more or less early life stress.

Registration open for VNOP Conference 2018

The bi-annual conference of the Dutch Society for Developmental Psychology (Vereniging Nederlandse Ontwikkelingspsychologie, VNOP) will be held on the 15th & 16th of May 2018 in Wageningen, the Netherlands.

Registration (or see the: Conference Website)

  • For registration go to:
  • For rooms go to the conference website: WICC It is important that you mention that you are a VNOP participant! Address: Wageningen International Congress Centre’: Lawickse Allee 9, 6701 AN Wageningen, the Netherlands:

Keynote speakers:

  • Iroise Dumontheil: Social cognition during adolescence
  • Nienke van Atteveldt: Proving or improving yourself: the neural and behavioral response to feedback and failure in adolescents
  • Jaap Denissen: Personality-environment transactions across the lifespan

Important dates:

  • 3 April 2018: Final date that rooms are reserved for the conference at the Wageningen International Congress Centre
  • 24 April 2018: Deadline for conference registration


  • Visit the Conference Website intermittently to view updated information
  • Visit our Facebook page for updates, symposium and roommate requests!
  • The bi-annual VNOP conference 2018 is organized by the department of Developmental & Educational Psychology from Leiden University. For questions regarding the organization please send an email to

Paul van Geert Prize

last reminder:

The Paul van Geert award is a biennial prize that is granted to the best paper concerning a dynamic approach to psychological development, written by AIO’s or post-docs. The paper may be theoretical, methodological or empirical, as long as it addresses a dynamic approach to developmental processes in psychology. The winner should attend the VNOP (The Dutch organization on Developmental Psychology) conference, and that automatically implies VNOP membership for two years.
The award consists of a certificate and 250 euro.
The award is presented during the biennial VNOP conference. The papers have to be published during the period of two years between March 1st of the year of the previous conference to March 1st of the year of the actual VNOP conference. The authors should be AIO or post doc at the time of submission of the paper.

Dissertation defence Eduard Klapwijk & Symposium on Neural bases of Prosocial and Antisocial behavior

Dear VNOP members,

You are all invited to the public dissertation defence of Eduard Klapwijk, taking place next Tuesday 23-1-2018 from 16:15 – 17:00 in Leiden. His dissertation title is: Neural mechanisms of social-emotional dysfunction in autism spectrum disorder and conduct disorder”.

For location details, visit this link. No registration is necessary.

Leading up to this PhD defence, a symposium on the neural bases of prosocial and antisocial behavior will take place at the same location from 11:00 – 14:00 (lunch is included). More information about this symposium can be found here. Registration is free and still open. Register for the symposium here!

Paul van Geert paper prize

Dear VNOP members,

After the retirement of prof. Paul van Geert from the Department of Developmental Psychology a new paper award is initiated by his successor, prof. Peter de Jonge.
The criteria can be found below.

 Criteria and regulations for the Paul van Geert award

The Paul van Geert award is a biennial prize that is granted to the best paper concerning a dynamic approach to psychological development, written  by AIO’s or post-docs. The paper may be theoretical, methodological or empirical, as long as it addresses a dynamic approach to developmental processes in psychology. The winner should attend the VNOP (The Dutch organization on Developmental Psychology)  conference, and that automatically implies  VNOP membership for two years.

The award consists of a certificate and 250 euro.

The award is presented during the biennial VNOP conference. The papers  have to be published during the period of two years between March 1st of the year of the previous conference to March 1st of the year of the actual VNOP conference. The authors should be AIO or post doc at the time of submission of the paper.

  1. The jury for this award consists of (associate) professors of with expertise in both developmental psychology and in dynamic systems theory.
  2. Announcement of the committee is the responsibility of the award committee.
  3. The award committee consists the head of the department developmental psychology and the secretary.
  4. The jury itself decides on the procedure they aim to follow to make a choice.
  5. The jury is practically supported by the secretary of Developmental psychology in Groningen.
  6. The award committee sends out a call to send the paper and aim for the price each January before the VNOP conference. The call is send out via the VNOP, the ICPE and other appropriate media. The candidate submits a digital version of the paper, together with a plea from one of his/her supervisors in which the supervisor argues why this paper deserves to receive the award. The paper and the plea are send to the secretary of developmental psychology in Groningen before the first of March following the call.

Mail address

  1. The jury select three nominees and the winner before the first of May of each conference year. In the jury report the jury describes the procedure they followed, and the arguments they used for selection. Not nominated papers are not mentioned. This report is presented during the next VNOP board meeting.
  2. The winner will be announced during the Business Meeting (ALV) of the VNOP meeting.
  3. The award committee takes care that the award can be handed over by a member of the jury during the  ALV.

Saskia Kunnen

Call for Abstracts VNOP Conference 2018, May15-16 Wageningen

Deadline Closed!

VNOP Conference 2018
May 15th – 16th at ‘Hof van Wageningen’

We invite you to contribute to the upcoming conference of the ‘Vereniging Nederlandse Ontwikkelings Psychologie in 2018’.

Deadline for abstract submissions is 18th of December 2017.

You can submit the following types of contributions:

  1. A complete symposium
  2. A single paper presentation
  3. A single poster presentation

A symposium should consist of 3 paper submissions and a discussion led by a 4th contributor or 4 paper submissions. Researchers presenting in the symposium should be from at least 2 different universities.

In addition to the symposia, submission is now also open for single presentations. These will be scheduled to present their paper in the format of a Flash Talk (5 minute presentations with 5 slides maximum; more detailed information on Flash Talk presentations will follow).

Conference attendees are allowed to submit 1 paper presentation (either in a symposium or a single paper presentation) and 1 poster presentation. We want to emphasize that both senior and junior researchers (including Research Master students) are encouraged to submit!

Information you will need to fill in for abstract submission is: name(s), affiliation(s) (of all contributors and discussant if applicable), email address of presenting author, submission title, keywords (max. 5), an abstract (max 250 words) for each presentation or poster, and an integrative abstract (max 250 words) in case of a symposium.

Decisions will be announced by March 1st 2018.

For more information about the conference:
For submitting an abstract go to:
Visit our Facebook page here 

Questions? Please e-mail the conference organization at
Feel free to submit about your study also to in Amsterdam (two weeks later) too reach an international audience.

Kind regards from the VNOP 2018 conference organization,
Berna Güroglu, Anne Miers, Sabine Peters, Jochem Spaans & Lara Wierenga

VNOP lab meeting, 23-01-2018 in Groningen

We invite all VNOP members and other PhD students, post docs an staff members interested in developmental psychology to our lab meeting, Tuesday the 23rd of January, in Groningen.

Click to find the program.

Program VNOP Lab meeting 23

The meeting will be at the Faculty of Social Schience, Hortus complex, Grote Kruisstraat 2/1 9712 TS in Groningen, the plenary room is  B.0126 (Gadourekzaal). After registering we send you details about the location, ettc.

Attendance is free, however, we ask you to register because of the lunch arrangement. Please send an email to  Lesley Braun-Medendorp,

For more information please contact Saskia Kunnen,

New PhD position available in developmental neuroimaging – Neurolab NL

New PhD position in developmental neuroimaging – Neurolab NL

The project is financed by an OCW-Startimpuls grant and is part of the new NWA program NeurolabNL: Optimal conditions for learning and safety of youth. The goal of this program is to utilize knowledge on behavior and neurology to understand how youth obtain knowledge, learn skills, deal with challenges in society, and how they can develop optimally. In total, 8 post doc positions and 3 PhD students will be recruited for this program. The program is based on a collaboration between 10 universities and scientific partners, to create optimal conditions to answer these questions.

Project description PhD position

In this PhD project you will investigate how the willingness to invest effort affects reinforcement learning. You will do so in a set of behavioural and fMRI studies in which you investigate the effects of 1) age (children, adolescents, adults) and educational level; 2) state, e.g. the amount of sleep; and 3) motivation, e.g. by inducing a growth instead of fixed mindset or by inducing a sense of autonomy. An important aim of the project is to generate knowledge and tools that can be applied in educational practice.

Additional information:

  • The project is a cooperation between the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (Lydia Krabbendam), Leiden University (Anna van Duijvenvoorde) and the University of Amsterdam (Hilde Huizenga);
  • The project is embedded in the psychology research institute of the University of Amsterdam. The Department of Psychologyis internationally renowned for its high quality research, with #11 in the QS psychology world ranking, the highest of continental Europe;
  • The project consists of .875 fte research and .125 fte teaching. Teaching activities include supervision of bachelor and (research) master theses, which might yield publishable data;
  • We also have to offer a competitive pay and excellent benefits; a very friendly, interactive and international working environment and an office located in the city centre of one of Europe’s most beautiful and lively cities.


The candidate should:

  • Have completed a research master (or expected graduation within 3 months) with a focus on neuroimaging, developmental or educational research;
  • Have excellent writing skills;
  • Be very well able to work in a team;
  • Have acquired sufficient Dutch oral proficiency by June 2018.

The following will count in favour of the candidate: experience with FSL; experience with effort discounting and/or reinforcement learning; experience with developmental populations.

Further information


The full-time appointment will be for a period of 12 months plus a further 36 months contingent on a satisfactory performance during the first year.

The gross monthly salary will range from €2,222 in the first year to €2,840 in the final year, based on a full-time position of 38 hours per week. The annual salary will be increased by 8 % holiday allowance and a 8,3 % end-of-year bonus, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

Job application

Applicants should submit a letter of interest that addresses qualifications, a current resume and a list of grades. You may send your application (with job number 17-598) to #LI-DNP

The first round of interviews will be held on Thursday 21 December 2017.
The preferred starting date is 1 January 2018

No agencies please