Postdoc position Assessing mental workload in athletes using appropriate physiological measures

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • Postdoc position Assessing mental workload in athletes using appropriate physiological measures
  • Doctorate
Do you have a completed PhD in the field of biophysics, biomedical sciences, health sciences, human movement sciences or related disciplines, and would you like to work in a multidisciplinary team of professionals in an academic environment on an applied research project in collaboration with Noldus Information Technology, a company devoted to the development of innovative products for human behaviour research? Then do apply to this position at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

FTE: 0.8 - 1

Job description

A 16-month postdoc position for 1.0 fte (or alternatively a 20-month postdoc position for 0.8 fte) is available at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam under the supervision of Prof. Peter Beek, a human movement scientist, Prof. Andreas Daffertshofer, an expert in time-series analysis of physiological signals, and Tobias Heffelaar and Prof. Lucas Noldus of Noldus Information Technology. The post-doc will work both at the VU and at Noldus in Wageningen. The postdoc position is funded by a TTW/NWO Perspectief Grant for a large project aimed at increasing sports participation, performance enhancement and injury prevention coined Citius Altius Sanius (Faster Higher Healthier).

The Research Project
This project aims at evaluating the applicability of a number of physiological measures to reliably and validly assess mental relaxation and mental workload levels using state-of-the-art laboratory equipment during physical exercise, as well as during resting periods before and after physical exercise.

In particular, the project seeks to shed light on the potential use of heart rate measures to assess physical training status and exercise intensity, using data collected before and after bouts of physical exercise, and to cross-validate diverse methods for measuring heart rate (e.g. by means of color changes in video footage of faces of humans engaged in strenuous exercise).

The deliverables of the project consist of the development, implementation and validation of a testing paradigm for assessing mental relaxation and mental workload in the context of physical activity, culminating into a run-time relaxation and mental workload toolkit that can be used to monitor and guide athletes and advise training staff.


  • PhD in biophysics, biomedical sciences, health sciences, human movement sciences or closely related discipline;
  • Extensive research training and experience;
  • Demonstrated ability to publish high-impact scientific papers
  • Intention and desire to work in a multi-disciplinary team (biophysics, biomedical sciences, human movement sciences, computer science);
  • Excellent knowledge of statistics and statistical software (SPSS, R);
  • Outstanding programming skills (Python, Matlab, C++);
  • Proficient command of written and spoken English.

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization and an ambitious research program in the realm of sports and exercise. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €2,790 (scale 10-0) and a maximum €4,402 (scale 10-12), depending on your education and experience. The job profile is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for 16 months.

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as: 

A maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment, 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus, solid pension scheme (ABP), contribution to commuting expenses, a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge.

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 August 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. Peter Jan Beek

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