PhD Position in Psychosocial and Self-Development in Youth with a Chronic Illness
Catholic University of Leuven

The present PhD-position is embedded in an interdisciplinary collaboration between Prof. Dr. Koen Luyckx (School Psychology and Development in Context, KU Leuven), Prof. Dr. Philip Moons (Department of Public Health and Primary Care, KU Leuven), Prof. Dr. Robert Hilbrands (Belgian Diabetes Registry, VUB), and Prof Dr. Laurence Claes (Clinical Psychology, KU Leuven). The PhD-student will work at the center of School Psychology and Development in Context, Tiensestraat 102, 3000 Leuven, under the close supervision of Koen Luyckx. KU Leuven is one of the most renowned research universities in Europe. At our research center, we perform cutting-edge longitudinal research focusing on the biopsychosocial functioning of adolescents and young adults from different (community and clinical) populations. The Phd-student will work in a stimulating environment in which collaboration and exchange of ideas and expertise is key.


Research at our center mainly focuses on two broad, interrelated topics. Both topics share an explicit focus on longitudinal, developmental research. The first research line mainly focuses on long-term longitudinal research in adolescents and young adults with a chronic illness, such as type 1 diabetes and congenital heart disease. Also survivors of childhood cancer are examined in our research. We focus on variables such as identity, bodily functioning, broader psychosocial functioning, treatment adherence, and relationships with parents. Several long-term longitudinal data-sets are at our disposal for investigating these variables and mechanisms. The second related research line mainly focuses on the role of identity-and body-related processes for understanding psychopathology in youth, such as disturbed eating behaviors, psychosomatic complaints, … Again, several longitudinal data-sets are available or are being collected at the moment. The present PhD-position will situate itself in these existing research lines, and mainly so in the first research line on chronic illness. The precise topic will be determined in consultation with the other team members as well.


  • At the starting date (September 26, 2022, so at the start of the new academic year), you have a master degree in psychology or educational sciences, social sciences or related disciplines, and you graduated with excellent study results.
  • You can work independently, accurately, and systematically. At the same time, you are a team-player with excellent interpersonal and communication skills in English (a C1 proficiency level is needed). Speaking and understanding Dutch (again at the C1 proficiency level) is needed as well for teaching purposes.
  • You are open to collaborate on other research going on in the research group.
  • You are enthusiastic and highly motivated and you are highly interested in data-analysis. Experience with qualitative data analysis is an asset.
  • You value the principles of open science and clear science communication.
  • You have excellent planning skills which are needed for this interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • Strong academic writing skills are a prerequisite.
  • You have good problem-solving skills and have a collegial, respectful, and collaborative attitude.
  • Guiding and educating students is important to you.


  • We offer a full-time PhD position of 1 year, renewable for an additional 3 years (based on a successful intermediate evaluation at KU Leuven after the first year). In total, the PhD-position is for a period of 4years.
  • Being part of the doctoral school at our faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences at KU Leuven, you will be given the opportunity to follow various training, courses, and workshops during your PhD-trajectory.
  • We will provide you with a stimulating and challenging environment with a high degree of flexibility and autonomy and with many opportunities for learning and development.
  • The exact starting date of the position is scheduled for September 26, 2022 but is negotiable to some extent.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Koen Luyckx, tel.: +32 16 32 59 78, mail:

When applying, please provide a cover letter, CV, transcripts of your grades, and contact details of one or two reference persons.

Job interviews will be held end of July – beginning of August.

You can apply for this job no later than July 6, 2022 via the online application tool

You can apply for this job no later than July 06, 2022 via the
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: July 6, 2022
  • Tags: Psychologie
  • Download: file

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