PhD position: Social Media Language and Wellbeing; Understanding the Exposome-Genome interplay

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • PhD position: Social Media Language and Wellbeing; Understanding the Exposome-Genome interplay
  • University Graduate
FTE: 0.8 - 1

Job description

In light of major demographic trends, building and maintaining health and well-being amongst citizens is one of the most important societal challenges countries face. People who feel well, function better, are less susceptible to mental illness, and thus are better able to retain competitive advantage and expand human capital. People who feel well also facilitate social capital by enjoying stronger and more-lasting relationships. 
In this project we will use social media language and survey-based wellbeing and (social) environmental measure in genetically informative designs, to study daily life wellbeing and its fluctuations. You will make use of data of the Netherlands Twin Register ( and other sources, such as the UK Biobank. You will contribute to the social media data collection. 
This project is part of and ERC Consolidator grant project “The dynamics underlying Well-being;
Understanding the Exposome-Genome interplay”.

Your duties

The key objectives are to (1) identify, quantify, and integrate static and dynamic environmental and social exposures to build the well-being exposome, (2) understand the multi-layer interplay of the genome, the epigenome, and the exposome, and (3) integrate the empirical findings into a novel comprehensive framework of WB. 


  • a (research) master in biological psychology, positive psychology, genetics, psychometrics, artificial intelligence, epidemiology or something along those lines
  • Knowledge of statistical methods and statistical programming (R or Python)
  • Experience with or interest in behaviour genetics and molecular genetic methodology
  • Experience in working with large datasets
  • Interest in Wellbeing and Research
  • Excellent English writing and speaking skills

What are we offering?

A challenging position at a socially involved organization. The well-being team works in a team science fashion and supports open science.
The salary during the first-year amounts to € 2,325, increasing to € 2,972 gross per month in the fourth year with full-time employment.
The employment contract is first for a period of 12 months and is extended to a total of 4 years if there is sufficient perspective. The employment contract is concluded with a dissertation at the end of the fourth year.

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavour – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,000 students. We employ over 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences
The Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences focuses on the broad domain of behaviour and health. Our teaching and research programmes are devoted to current developments in society, from healthy aging to e-health, from juvenile crime to dealing with depression, from training for top athletes to social media as a teaching tool. We are unique in that we combine three academic disciplines: psychology, movement sciences and education.

Working at Behavioural and Movement Sciences means working in an ambitious organization that is characterized by an informal atmosphere and short lines of communication. Our faculty offers tremendous scope for personal development. We employ more than 600 staff members, and we are home to around 3,400 students.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until 31 July 2020.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Prof. dr. Meike Bartels
Position: Professor in Genetics and Wellbeing
Telephone: +31205988812

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