PhD Position in Mental Health Consequences of Precarious Work
VU University of Amsterdam Faculty of Science

We are looking for an enthusiastic PhD candidate to study socio-demographic inequalities in work and mental health, in the current context of COVID-19. Would you like to work in a multidisciplinary team of health, social, and computer scientists? Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.


FTE: 1

Job description

About 165 million people in the European Union get mental health problems each year and countries spend immense amounts of money in order to improve mental health. Good work has been found to be important for individuals’ mental health, and different theoretical frameworks provide explanations for how work and mental health are related. 

The current project aims to study the mental health consequences of precarious work. Specifically, we will investigate which insecurities individuals perceive in their job and how this affects their mental health, both in normal circumstances and in the specific economic context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many questions are still unresolved, such as whether the relationship between work and mental health is causal, what role the economic context has, and whether and how precarious work exacerbates social inequalities in mental health. 

This project is conducted in an interdisciplinary team consisting of researchers from health, social and computer sciences. We will apply a large variety and combination of methods, such as quantitative research methods on large longitudinal data and artificial intelligence techniques, such as text analyses and machine learning.

Your duties

  • do original research investigating the mental health consequences of precarious work, and socio-demographic inequalities, based on theoretical reasoning/frameworks
  • apply artificial intelligence techniques on social media data
  • apply longitudinal analyses on large longitudinal survey or register data
  • collaborate with researchers in health, social and computer sciences
  • contribute to teaching activities in the Health Sciences department.


  • Research Master or Master in Health Sciences, Social Sciences/Sociology or others programs with a strong focus on research methods 
  • research training and experience, excellent understanding of methodology and statistics, and experience with statistical software (Stata, R, SPSS, SAS or others)
  • good computational skills and experience in and/or a strong affinity for programming (e.g. Matlab, Python, C++)
  • a high level of proficiency in the English language, both in oral and written communication
  • proficiency in Dutch language is a pre
  • excellent interpersonal skills to work with a multidisciplinary team.

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,395 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3,061 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for 1 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a duration of 3 years (so in total 4 years).

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 endeavor – 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.

The Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to around 6,000 students.


Are you interested in this position?
Please apply until 16 May 2021 via the application button and upload: 1) a motivation letter stating your experience and interest in the project and the name of two contacts that may provide recommendations; 2) your curriculum vitae; 3) a complete list of grades in the MA program. Please create one PDF file merging all information.

The job interviews are planned for 25 and 26 May 2021.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions

If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact (preferrably by e-mail):

Name: Maria Fleischmann
Position: Assistant Professor Health Sciences
Telephone: +31 20 59 82146

No agencies

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


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