PhD position: Social Cognitive Neuroscience, within the GUTS consortium

Research / Academic

Your PhD project is part of the GUTS project, a collaboration among seven Dutch universities to find answers to the question of how young people grow up successfully. This PhD project is part of the Amsterdam team, which has the unique aim to include 600 young participants (ages 10-22 years) from a diverse background in one study including brain imaging using (f)MRI, measures of self-report, smart phone app questionnaires and behavioural testing. While the GUTS project is a longitudinal study spanning 10 years, your PhD project involves working on the project during the initial measurement waves. As a PhD student you will work as part of a team of other PhD students and postdocs. You will receive training in various methods and go in-depth on your personal research topic. In addition, the GUTS project offers opportunities to develop yourself in terms of interdisciplinary research, societal impact, outreach, and open science.

This 4-year PhD position in Social Cognitive Neuroscience aims to examine the development of and individual differences in choosing between self and other interests and the underlying neural mechanisms. You will investigate this behaviour and brain activity pattern using an experimental task in which choices have to be made between different rewards for self and an other in combination with functional brain imaging (fMRI). For this project, you will collect fMRI data together with a team of PhD students and a postdoc in Amsterdam. You will analyse this data set and a mirror data set that is collected at the same time in Rotterdam. After concluding this PhD, you will be an expert in functional MRI and have experience in various methods and aspects of developmental cognitive neuroscience.

Your duties
You will be supervised by Prof. dr. Lydia Krabbendam, Prof. dr. Eveline Crone and dr. Mariët van Buuren. In addition to research activities (90%) your work will also include teaching tasks (10%), such as the supervision of bachelor’s and master’s theses and tutor groups for courses related to psychology and neuroimaging. Of course, you will be guided and supported by your supervisor and colleagues.

If you are passionate about exploring the interactions between brain activity, behaviour, individual background factors and social context in adolescence, then we encourage you to apply for this exciting position and opportunity to be part of the GUTS consortium. You will have the chance to develop your research skills, work in a dynamic team, and make a valuable contribution to the field of developmental neuroscience.


The qualifications needed for this position include:

  • A completed or upcoming (research) master’s degree in psychology, cognitive neuroscience, cognitive sciences, or a related field;
  • Programming experience (Matlab, or Python, or R);
  • Advanced statistical skills, with experience analyzing fMRI data being a plus;
  • Proficiency in Dutch, as you will be interacting frequently with youth;
  • Academic English in speaking and writing;
  • Excellent social, communication and organizational skills to work both independently and in a team to collect a large dataset in the consortium;
  • The ability to connect with youth from diverse backgrounds.

Salary Benefits:

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,541 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3,247 (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 at least 0.9 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for an additional duration of 3 years.
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,
  • discount on (and occasionally exclusive access to) theater performances and courses at the Griffioen Cultural Center,
  • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge, contribution to commuting expenses,
  • hybrid working enables a good work-life balance
Work Hours:

34.2 - 38 hours per week


De Boelelaan 1105