Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Department of Clinical, Neuro- and Developmental Psychology of the Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences is looking for a PhD candidate in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, within the GUTS consortium, (1,0FTE).

What are the optimal conditions for youth to grow up successfully? Are you interested in investigating this question? Join the Growing Up Together in Society (GUTS) consortium as a PhD student and learn to do cutting edge research on adolescent behavioural and brain development in a dynamic and interdisciplinary team.


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 Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience aims to examine the development of neural representations of self-concept in adolescence. Specifically, in this PhD project you will investigate the predictors of individual differences in neural representations of self-concept and how these neural representations affect social functioning and academic motivation in adolescence. You will study these neural correlates by measuring functional connectivity during resting-state and brain activity during an experimental paradigm using functional MRI. 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 in combination with various self-report measures as well as hormone levels. After concluding this PhD, you will be an expert in functional MRI including resting-state analyses and will have experience in multiple aspects of developmental cognitive neuroscience.

Your duties
You will be supervised by dr. Mariët van Buuren (daily supervisor), dr. TuongVan Vu and Prof. dr. Lydia Krabbendam. 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.

If you are passionate about exploring the interactions between brain activity & connectivity, individual differences in background factors, academic 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.


A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,541 (scale 1) 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


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 30,000 students. We employ over 5,500 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.

Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences
The Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences focuses on the broad domain of behaviour and health. Our teaching and research programmes are devoted to current developments in society, from healthy aging to e-health, from juvenile crime to dealing with depression, from training for top athletes to social media as a teaching tool. We are unique in that we combine three academic disciplines: psychology, movement sciences and education.

Working at Behavioural and Movement Sciences means working in an ambitious organization that is characterized by an informal atmosphere and short lines of communication. Our faculty offers tremendous scope for personal development. We employ more than 600 staff members, and we are home to around 3,400 students.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the VU Website and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until 11/06/2023. Submitting a diploma and a reference check are part of the application process. Please add the names of two referees. Referees will be contacted directly in case of shortlisting.

The job interviews are planned for the week of June 26, when possible please take them into account when applying for the position.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact dr. Mariët van Buuren,