Leiden University: PhD candidate in GUTS consortium, Social Neuroscience of Peer Relationships

Leiden University: The Institute of Psychology of the Faculty Social and Behavioural Sciences is looking for a PhD candidate in GUTS consortium, Social Neuroscience of Peer Relationships (1,0FTE)

Are you interested in researching the factors that contribute to optimal conditions for youth development? Consider joining the Growing Up Together in Society (GUTS) consortium as a PhD student and gain the skills and knowledge to conduct cutting-edge research on adolescent behavioral and brain development as part of a dynamic interdisciplinary team.

Applications are invited for a four-year PhD position under the supervision of Prof. Berna Güroğlu and Dr. Lisa Schreuders (Developmental Psychology Unit of Leiden University) in the Growing Up Together in Society (GUTS) consortium, a collaboration among seven Dutch universities. We are looking for an enthusiastic student who would like to develop their career in the field of social cognitive neuroscience including a developmental approach.

Project description
How can young people navigate the challenges of a complex society and become engaged, contributing citizens? This is the central question of the Growing Up Together in Society (GUTS) consortium, a collaboration among seven Dutch universities. As part of the Leiden team, your PhD project will involve working with complete social networks of young adults (total size ca 200 individuals) aged 16-25 years. The project will employ a range of measures including self-report and peer-report (sociometric) questionnaires, behavioral testing, and brain imaging (fMRI sessions) to study factors that contribute to successful social development of emerging adults.

Although the GUTS project is a longitudinal study spanning 10 years, this position 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 a variety of methods and will have the opportunity to pursue your own research topic in depth. Additionally, the GUTS project provides opportunities for interdisciplinary research, outreach, and open science. In line with the project’s philosophy of making participants active contributors to science and benefiting from their participation, the team will also explore ways to provide a personally valuable experience for participants.

The overarching goal of this research project is how relationships and social network position of individuals relate to societal outcomes, such as academic achievement and mental health. This PhD position on the Social Neuroscience of Peer Relationships aims to examine how the behavioral and neural correlates of sensitivity to rewards and susceptibility to peer influence relates to peer relationships in social networks by using experimental tasks and functional brain imaging (fMRI). The project will be based on the Social network cohort data set to be collected in a collaborative effort of Leiden University, Groningen University and the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience (NIN), providing a rich and diverse set of data to analyze. The PhD student will work closely together with PhD student(s) of other sites, in particular with the PhD student to be appointed at NIN under the supervision of prof. Christian Keysers, who will be a co-promotor in the current project.

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

The qualifications needed for this position include:

  • A completed or upcoming (in 2023) (research) master’s degree in psychology, family studies, cognitive neuroscience, or a related field;
  • A passion for discovering the optimal conditions for youth to grow up successfully;
  • The ability to connect with youth from diverse backgrounds and a strong value for diversity and inclusion;
  • A collaborative mindset, openness to learning new skills, and willingness to share knowledge;
  • Proficiency in Dutch, as you will be interacting frequently with youth;
  • Experience in data analysis, with prior experience analyzing fMRI and/or social network data being a plus but not required;
  • Excitement about setting up a large study with fellow PhD students, attention to detail, and clear communication skills.

It is important to note that the role requires flexible availability, including evenings and weekends, to accommodate the needs of study participants. However, these hours are compensated during the week, and the team highly values a healthy work-free time balance.

About the faculty
The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences consists of five institutes: Education and Child Studies, Political Science, Psychology, Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology and the Centre for Science and Technology Studies. The faculty has approximately 7,000 students and 1,025 employees. The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences brings together high-quality research and outstanding teaching as well as in multidisciplinary approaches. Please, visit the faculty’s website for more information.

Terms and conditions
The appointment will initially be for 12 months and if evaluated positively extended with3 years and must lead to the completion of a PhD thesis. The salary ranges from €2,541 gross per month in the 1st year up to €3247 gross per month in the 4th year based on a fulltime employment in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. A part-time position is possible as well. The preferred starting date is the 1st of September 2023.

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme.Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. More at https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/working-at/job-application-procedure-and-employment-conditions.

Diversity and inclusion
Fostering an inclusive community is a central element of the values and vision of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential. Diversity in experiences and perspectives enriches our teaching and strengthens our research. High quality teaching and research is inclusive.

Enquiries can be made to Prof. Berna Güroğlu (email bguroglu@fsw.leidenuniv.nl) and to Dr. Lisa Schreuders (e.schreuders@fsw.leidenuniv.nl).

Please submit online your application no later than May 10th 2023 via the Leiden University website.

Applicants should submit a letter of interest accompanied by a CV and two referees names and contacts (all online). Referees will be contacted directly by the search committee in case of shortlisting.