2 PhD Positions in Precision Child Mental Health Research & Treatment

Faculteit/Dienst:  Faculteit der Maatschappij- & Gedragswetenschappen
Opleidingsniveau:  Universiteit
Functie type:  Wetenschappelijk Personeel
Sluitingsdatum:  22 May 2022
Vacaturenummer:  8724

These two PhD projects, funded by an NWO Vidi grant awarded to Dr. Patty Leijten, will be conducted in the Research Institute of Child Development and Education at the University of Amsterdam. The aim of the research will be to better understand how parents can alter the development of children’s mental health problems, and to guide precision therapy.


Project 1 will use ecological momentary assessment to identify how hypothesized key risk factors (e.g., distorted parent-child relationships and coercive parent-child interactions) shape children’s conduct problems. The goal of this study is to identify family differences in transactional parent-child interaction patterns.


Project 2 will use a factorial experiment to compare the effects of parenting intervention elements to reduce children’s anxiety. The goal of this study is to identify and predict optimal combinations of therapy elements for individual families.


The research seeks to advance understanding of when family risk factors for child mental health problems are suitable targets for effective personalized therapy.


What are you going to do


Your primary tasks will be:

  • Co-designing and conducting studies: an ecological momentary assessment study (Project 1) or factorial experiment to evaluate discrete intervention elements (Project 2);
  • Training professionals in parenting intervention elements to reduce anxiety in children (Project 2);
  • Conducting advanced quantitative statistical analyses;
  • Writing international peer-reviewed scientific papers;
  • Presenting your work at conferences for academics, policy makers and clinicians.


What do we require 


We are looking for dedicated candidates driven to conduct basic research on the underpinnings of child mental health problems, with the goal of informing precision treatment for families with child mental health problems. The candidate must thrive in a collaborative environment that asks for autonomy and flexibility, and hold a proactive, mastery-oriented approach to one's learning process.


Your experience and profile:

  • You hold a (research) master’s degree in psychology (e.g., developmental, clinical), pedagogics, or an associated field;
  • You have excellent quantitative research and analysis skills;
  • You have excellent writing and presentation skills;
  • For project 2: some clinical experience (e.g., in treating paediatric anxiety) is preferred;
  • You are flexible with strong social and organisational skills;
  • You are able to work in a team while maintaining autonomy;
  • You enjoy projects that require proactivity, collaboration, and creativity;
  • Fluency in Dutch would be a plus.


Our offer


The position concerns temporary employment of 38 hours per week for a maximum term of four years. The initial employment is for one year. Following a positive assessment and barring altered circumstances, this term will be extended by a maximum of 36 months, which should result in the conferral of a doctorate. We will put together a curriculum that includes the opportunity to attend training courses and both national and international events. You will also be tasked with teaching activities. For this position the University Job Classification profile “Promovendus” applies. 


Your salary will be €2,443 gross per month in the first year and will increase to €3,122 in the final year, based on full-time employment and in keeping with the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch UniversitiesWe additionally offer an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.3%.


The UvA offers excellent possibilities for further professional development and education.


What else do we offer

  • a position in which initiative and input are highly valued;
  • an enthusiastic and warm team that is open to new colleagues;
  • an inspiring academic and international working environment in the heart of Amsterdam.


About us


The University of Amsterdam is the largest university in the Netherlands, with the broadest spectrum of degree programmes. It is an intellectual hub with 39,000 students, 6,000 employees and 3,000 doctoral students who are all committed to a culture of inquiring minds.


About the faculty

A challenging work environment with a variety of duties and ample scope for individual initiative and development within an inspiring organization. The social and behavioral sciences play a leading role in addressing the major societal challenges faced by the world, the Netherlands and Amsterdam, now and in the future.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.




Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact: Dr. Patty Leijten (


Job application


Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application by 22 May 2022. You may apply online by using the link below.


Applications in .pdf should include:

  • A curriculum vitae;
  • A letter of motivation, including any preference for Project 1 (understanding transactional interaction patterns in families with child conduct problems) or Project 2 (precision treatment of child anxiety).


Job interviews will be on Thursday 9 June and Monday 13 June 2022.


Expected starting date is 1 September 2022.



The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.


If you encounter Error GBB451, reach out to our HR Department directly. They will gladly help you continue your application. 


No agencies please