PhD Candidate in Peer Relationships in Emerging Adulthood
Radboud University

Two PhD Candidates: Peer Relationships in Emerging Adulthood

  • 32 - 40 hours per week
  • Maximum gross monthly salary: € 2,972
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Job level: Research University Degree
  • Duration of the contract: 4 or 5 years
  • Application deadline: 24 March 2020


We are looking for

The Social Development programme in the Behavioural Science Institute (BSI) at Radboud University in Nijmegen is seeking 2 PhD students for the NWO Open Competition research project 'Conceptualising, Measuring, and Predicting Peer Relationships in Emerging Adulthood'. 

Emerging adulthood (ages 18-25) is a transitional period characterised by changes in interpersonal relationships, work, and worldviews that have a major impact on subsequent development. Yet, there is no comprehensive research on peer relationship dynamics in this life stage. In this project, the peer relationships of emerging adults will be studied in detail in the context of a 20-year ongoing longitudinal study, the Nijmegen Longitudinal Study.

This project aims to examine the nature and correlates of different types of peer relationships (e.g. friends and romantic partners) in emerging adulthood. Specifically, it focuses on the transactional associations between peer relationships and social functioning, health, and adjustment across development. Furthermore, social skills of emerging adults (constructive problem solving, conflict resolution, and functional flexibility) will be assessed using experimental small group observations of familiar and unfamiliar peers. The project thus combines a long-term longitudinal design with observational research methods to study various aspects of peer relationships in emerging adulthood.

Project tasks will consist of preparing and conducting two upcoming waves of the Nijmegen Longitudinal Study. This includes setting up the project, preparing the measurement instruments, recruiting participants and their peers, testing, analysing the data, and writing scientific articles and a dissertation in English. In addition to the design and questions described in the project proposal, there is room to include additional measures that address related research questions. The project proposal is available upon request.

We ask


  • You are independent, flexible and proactive.
  • You have excellent social, communication and organisational skills.
  • You are a team player.
  • You enjoy challenges and can deal with setbacks.
  • You have an interest in peer relationships and group processes from a life course perspective.
  • You have a sharp analytical mind and good statistical skills.
  • You have an academic degree in psychology, pedagogical science, educational science, or a related field in the behavioural sciences. A Research Master's diploma would be a plus.
  • You have excellent English writing skills.

We are

You will be working in the Social Development programme in the Behavioural Science Institute (BSI) at Radboud University. Both candidates will primarily be supervised by Prof. Toon Cillessen, together with the other members of the research team: Drs Geert Verheijen, William Burk, Tessa Lansu, Yvonne van den Berg, and Sabine Stoltz. 

The Social Development programme conducts fundamental research with practical implications on social development across the human life span. More information can be found on our website. The project will also be embedded within the Peer Relations Lab group.

The Behavioural Science Institute is part of the Faculty of Social Sciences at Radboud University. It is a multidisciplinary behavioural research institute. Our researchers collaborate across the boundaries of psychology, educational science, and communication science. The BSI has seven research programmes covering three major research themes: 1) development and learning, 2) psychopathology, health and well-being, and 3) social processes and communication. We conduct fundamental research as well as applied/translational research. For more information, see our website.

The BSI has state-of-the-art research facilities for observational studies, experiments, eye-tracking studies, EEG and other physiological measures, and behavioural measurements in real and 3D virtual environments. The neuroimaging facilities of the Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging (fMRI, MEG and TMS) are available for research on the neural bases of behaviour.

Radboud University

We want to get the best out of science, others and ourselves. Why? Because this is what the world around us desperately needs. Leading research and education make an indispensable contribution to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. This is what unites the more than 22,000 students and 5,000 employees at Radboud University. And this requires even more talent and collaboration. You have a part to play!

We offer

  • Employment: 32 - 40 hours per week.
  • The gross starting salary amounts to €2,325 per month, and will increase to €2,972 in the fourth year (or fifth year) (salary scale P).
  • In addition to the salary: an 8% holiday allowance and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • Duration of the contract: you will be appointed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (40 hours contract) or 3.5 years (32 hours contract).
  • The intended start date is 1 September 2020.
  • You will be able to make use of our Dual Career Service: our Dual Career Officer will assist with family-related support, such as child care, and help your partner prepare for the local labour market and with finding an occupation.
  • Are you interested in our excellent employment conditions?

Would you like more information?

For more information about this vacancy or the project proposal, please contact:

Toon Cillessen, Professor and Director of Research BSI
Tel.: +31 24 361 25 69 (office)
+31 24 361 55 50 (secr.)
+31 24 361 00 82 (management team BSI)

Geert Verheijen, Post-doctoral Researcher
Tel.: +31 24 361 25 35

Apply directly

Please address your application to Toon Cillessen and submit it, using the application button, no later than 24 March 2020, 23:59 Amsterdam Time Zone.   

Your application should include the following attachments:

  • Letter of motivation.
  • CV.
Applicants can be invited for two rounds of interviews. The first round of interviews will be held in the week of 13 April 2020. The second round of interviews will be held in the week of 27 April 2020.


We drafted this vacancy to find and hire our new colleague ourselves. Recruitment agencies are kindly requested to refrain from responding.

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Psychoneuroxy


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