Radboudumc: PhD candidate ‘Genetic and (neuro)biological mechanisms underlying self-regulation in youth’

Job description

What are the optimal conditions for youth to grow up successfully? Join the GUTS consortium as a PhD candidate and learn to do cutting edge research on the genetics of self-regulation, adolescent behaviour, and brain development in an interdisciplinary team. Do you enjoy working in a vibrant team that wants to push the frontiers of science? Do you believe that young people should be involved in shaping our research questions? And would you like your research to have an impact in society? Then this position may be the perfect fit for you. 

How do young people successfully grow up in an increasingly complex society, and what are the main causes for differences in becoming engaged and contributing citizens in society? Your PhD project is part of the larger consortium Growing Up Together in Society (GUTS) where seven Dutch universities collaborate to find answers to the question of how young people grow up successfully. This PhD project is part of a subteam of the project that operates in Nijmegen, in an interdisciplinary research group at Radboudumc. In addition, the GUTS project offers opportunities to develop yourself in terms of interdisciplinary research, societal impact, outreach, and open science.

This project bridges life sciences with social sciences, as it aims to investigate the underlying genetics of self-regulation, an important trait in young people that can affect their life outcomes in society. In our innovative study, we take genetics as a point of departure to understand the underlying biology of self-regulation. We will combine the strengths of large-scale data sources available from international consortia (e.g., UK Biobank, ABCD Study) and combine it with unique and deeply phenotyped local resources. We will use state-of-the-art statistical genetic methods to characterize individuals in the cohorts in terms of their genetic self-regulation profiles and examine whether such genetic profiles are a predictor of the individuals’ life outcomes. In addition, we will link the genomic profiles to the individuals’ cognitive performance and brain structure and function.

Part of the project will implement artificial intelligence/machine learning approaches to predict life outcomes based on genetics as well as other factors, and to develop potential preventive strategies against adverse life outcomes. In this project you will become skilled in developing hypotheses and analyzing large scale data, publishing in peer-reviewed journals, and presenting your work at conferences. The project will be supervised by prof. dr. Barbara Franke (Radboudumc Nijmegen), prof. dr. Mark de Rooij (Leiden University), dr. Marieke Klein and dr. Janita Bralten (both Radboudumc Nijmegen). In our research group at the Radboudumc, we investigate the genetic underpinnings of cognitive/psychiatric traits in the general population and psychiatric disorders, such as ADHD and autism. This PhD project is part of work package 4 of the GUTS consortium, led by Hilleke Hulshoff Pol (Utrecht University).


We are looking for a highly motivated scientist with a (preferably research) Master’s degree in cognitive neuroscience, psychiatric genetics, human genetics, bioinformatics, biostatistics, biomedical sciences, (technical) medicine, (neuro)psychology, or related areas. A scientist who can work effectively in an interdisciplinary research environment and has a goal-driven attitude.

In addition you possess the profile below:

  • Fundamental knowledge of genetics is essential, while knowledge of neuroimaging is considered a bonus.
  • A strong background in statistical analysis is required.
  • A willingness to learn and an affinity for programming are essential. Experience with programming (preferably Python, R) and experience with working in linux environment are highly desirable.
  • Experience with handling big data and/or database management is highly desirable.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills in English, excellent organizational and social skills, a high level of personal integrity, and the ability to guide junior researchers while enjoying working collaboratively as part of a team.
  • Ability to work effectively in an interdisciplinary team, collaborate with others in our lab and institute to solve problems, and contribute to high-quality neuroscience research.


The position will be hosted by the departments of Cognitive Neuroscience and Human Genetics of the Radboud University Medical Center. Both, the departments of Cognitive Neuroscience and Human Genetics provide inspiring and thriving research environments for PhD students. A particular strength of the Cognitive Neuroscience department is the close collaboration among the almost 20 working groups from all levels of neuroscience, from molecular research to network and system neuroscience and to cognition and behaviour in health and disease.

The Human Genetics department, with almost 30 working groups performing research, is one of the largest and most productive Genetics units in Europe. Both departments are part of the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, where over 1000 researchers focus on state-of-the-art cognitive neuroscience, with a multidisciplinary approach, offering excellent lab and neuroimaging facilities fully embedded in a clinical research environment.

Research Institutes
At the moment there are more than 1,300 PhD candidates at our medical hospital. This number includes PhD candidates on our pay roll as well as external candidates (those employed somewhere else but researching on our premises).

  • Radboud Institute for Health Sciences: ± 700
  • Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences: ± 400
  • Donders Center for Medical Neurosciences: ± 200

Read what it is like to do a PhD at the Radboud University Medical Center.

Radboud university medical center is a university medical center for patient care, scientific research, and education in Nijmegen. Radboud university medical center strives to be at the forefront of shaping the healthcare of the future. We do this in a person-centered and innovative way, and in close collaboration with our network. We want to have a significant impact on health and healthcare. We want to improve with each passing day, continuously working towards better healthcare, research, and education. And gaining a better understanding of how diseases arise and how we can prevent, treat, and cure them, day in and day out. This way, every patient always receives the best healthcare, now and in the future. Because that is why we do what we do.

Terms of employment

The salary depends on education. Scale 10 will be offered to MSc medical graduates; those holding degrees in other disciplines will be offered scale 10A.

Working at Radboud university medical center means that you are ahead of the curve and working together on the healthcare of the future. And there is more. Our secondary terms of employment are impressive. These are fully tailored to you thanks to our Employment Conditions Selection Model. At Radboud university medical center, you will be given trust, and you will take the responsibility to handle everything together. We provide annual courses, both professional and personal.

  • A gross monthly salary between € 2.789 and € 3.536 (scale 10A) or between € 3.230 and € 5.088 (scale 10) based on full-time employment.  
  • From 1 November 2023 the wages will increase by 4%.
  • An annual vacation allowance of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%.
  • If you work irregular hours, you will receive an allowance.
  • As a full-time employee (36 hours per week), you are entitled to approximately 168 vacation hours (over 23 days) per year.
  • Radboud university medical center pays 70% of the pension premium. You pay the rest of the premium with your gross salary.
  • You get a discount on health insurance as well: you can take advantage of two group health insurance plans. UMC Zorgverzekering and CZ collectief.

Application procedure

Will you make a difference for our patients? Please submit online your application before 4 May 2023 via the Radboudumc website. We would like to receive an up-to-date CV (including publications, if any), as well as a personal motivation letter and contact information of two referees. We will then contact you shortly. The first interview round takes place in week 19. We would appreciate it if you would take this into account.