Opportunities

PhD candidate in Developmental Psychology

Job description

We are looking for a highly capable, eager, and intrinsically motivated PhD candidate. The project is embedded in our developmental psychobiology research group (DPBLab; PI: Prof.dr. Carolina de Weerth) at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour in Nijmegen (the Netherlands). This position is part of a program started with a personal VICI grant awarded to de Weerth by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). The grant is on children’s gut microbial colonization in relation to stress early in life and later brain functioning, behavior, and cognition. The colonization of the gut by microbes is of interest because it is assumed to play an essential role in children’s physical, behavioral, and cognitive development.

The aim of this PhD project is to examine whether a naturalistic stress-reducing intervention program based on caregiver-infant contact can positively affect infant gut microbial colonization and infant behavioral and cognitive development. In an RCT, caregiver-infant contact in 3-month-old infants starting center-based childcare will be increased in the intervention group during the hours spent in childcare. Trained volunteers will provide this extra caregiver-infant contact.

The idea behind this study is that by means of extra physical contact and high quality one-to-one interaction, young infants’ stress levels upon entry to childcare will be reduced. Heightened stress hormones in the period of adaption to childcare were found in an earlier study of our group (Albers et al., 2016) and may be due to reduced ono-to-one attention, maternal separation, changing caregivers, etc. This study will hence start to uncover causal relations between the infant’s stress while adapting to childcare and the quality of the early microbial colonization and the infant’s development. Additionally, it will potentially provide a simple, yet efficient, stress-reducing intervention that may also have positive effects on infant physical and psychological health. An additional focus of interest in this study is on how the intervention affects mood and well-being of the infants’ parents, the professional childcare caregivers, and the volunteers providing the contact.

Profile

You will be part of the 2018 VICI grant program ‘How gut bacteria and stress shape child development’. You will join our very dynamic and highly collaborative research group, a multidisciplinary group of senior and junior researchers. You will help design, preregister, and carry out the RCT study. You will contact the childcare centers and parents, train the volunteers, and collect behavioral, psychological, health, and biological data.  Data collection will be in childcare centers and possibly also in the lab or home environments. You will analyse the data and report the results in scientific journals and conferences, and in a doctoral dissertation.

We expect:

  • a Master’s degree in psychology (e.g., developmental psychology, developmental psychopathology, clinical psychology) or related discipline;
  • a Research Master’s degree is an advantage;
  • a profound interest in fundamental and developmental psychobiological research;
  • advanced statistical skills and experience in scientific writing, or at least a keen interest and motivation to acquire such skills;
  • expertise in relevant computer packages (e.g. SPSS, R, Castor, etc.);
  • (research) expertise in testing infants/children, and in longitudinal studies, is an advantage;
  • good organizational skills; data-management skills are an advantage;
  • advanced proficiency in spoken and written English (please write your application in English);
  • good command of the Dutch language (mandatory requirement);
  • good social and communication skills;
  • a collaborative nature, pleasure in team work;
  • an energetic and productive attitude; eager to work hard;
  • flexibility, independence, perseverance, and resilience to stress;

Candidates who only partially meet this profile are nonetheless strongly encouraged to apply.

Organization

The project is embedded in the unique and excellent infrastructure of the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour. The Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging offers three 3 Tesla MRI systems, MR-compatible systems for recording EEG and peripheral psychophysiological measures, a 275-channel MEG system, an EEG-TMS laboratory, and state-of-the-art computational facilities. The Ernst Hahn Institute in Essen (Germany), a partner of the Donders Institute, provides access to a 7 Tesla system. All facilities are fully research-dedicated laboratories with excellent technical support. The Donders Institute furthermore provides a unique and stimulating learning environment for young researchers, including a high-profile graduate school and in-house methodological expert courses.

Research into stress and stress-related disorders is an important focus area at Radboud university medical center. Researchers working on this theme jointly organize regular discussion meetings and lectures to promote integration of research conducted within molecular, cellular, systems, behavioral, and clinical neurosciences across campus.

Conditions of employment

  • Employment will be for 4 years, 1.0FTE.
  • Salary will be in accordance with the relevant national labor agreement (CAO UMC) and based on research experience and qualifications.
  • Planned start date for this position is before the end of 2019.

Information

For any information please contact Prof.dr. Carolina de Weerth (Carolina.deWeerth@radboudumc.nl; tel. +31-24-3665059). Please use this email address only for information. For more information and for applying, see:

https://www.radboudumc.nl/en/vacancies/71161-phd-candidate-in-developmental-psychology

Deadline for applications: 26 September 2019


Postdoc in Developmental Psychology

Job description

Prof.dr. Carolina de Weerth is looking for an energetic and highly competent post-doctoral researcher to join her Developmental Psychobiology Lab (DPBLab). This position is funded by a personal VICI grant awarded to Prof. de Weerth and funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). The grant is on healthy children’s gut microbial colonization in relation to stress early in life and later brain functioning, behavior, and cognition. There are many opportunities for publications in this very active and highly collaborative lab. Existing longitudinal data sets from several ongoing studies also continue to be analyzed and published. Consequently, the position allows for outstanding productivity and a great start of a research career. The postdoc period may include carrying out a follow-up assessment round and/or an experimental study. The position is for 2 years to up to 3 years, depending on whether the contract is for 1.0 FTE or 0.8 FTE, respectively.

Profile

You will be part of the 2018 VICI grant ‘How gut bacteria and stress shape child development’. You will join the very dynamic and highly collaborative Developmental Psychobiology Lab, a multidisciplinary group of senior and junior researchers.

We are looking for a postdoc with:

  • A PhD title. The scope of our research is broad (see http://www.dpblab.org). Consequently, candidates may have diverse backgrounds (e.g., developmental psychology, developmental psychopathology, developmental neuropsychology).
  • A profound interest in fundamental and developmental psychobiological research;
  • Very strong writing skills, as proven by several publications in (high-impact) international journals,
  • Extreme familiarity with data management of large multi-method multi-trait data sets, including excellent organizational skills,
  • Excellent advanced data-analytic skills; if these are relevant to longitudinal studies this would be an advantage.
  • Expertise in relevant computer packages (SPSS, R, etc.)
  • Excellent interpersonal, leadership, and supervision skills,
  • Good social and communication skills, being able to work in a team as well as independently,

The responsibilities of the position include:

  • Developing and pre-registering research protocols
  • Preparing and submitting (medical) ethical applications
  • Data coding and analysis
  • Writing and dissemination of results for peer-reviewed publications in high-impact journals
  • Writing and dissemination of results for the public, professional journals, internal reports, etc.
  • Presentation of findings at conferences and symposia
  • Organization of symposia/conferences
  • Training and supervision of PhD and (Research) Master students, as well as research assistants
  • Assisting with grant applications
  • Data collection at the lab as well as in the home

Research environment

The project is embedded in the unique and excellent infrastructure of the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour. The Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging offers three 3 Tesla MRI systems, MR-compatible systems for recording EEG and peripheral psychophysiological measures, a 275-channel MEG system, an EEG-TMS laboratory, and state-of-the-art computational facilities. The Ernst Hahn Institute in Essen (Germany), a partner of the Donders Institute, provides access to a 7 Tesla system. All facilities are fully research-dedicated laboratories with excellent technical support. The Donders Institute furthermore provides a unique and stimulating learning environment for young researchers, including a high-profile graduate school and in-house methodological expert courses.

Research into stress and stress-related disorders is an important focus area at Radboud university medical center. Researchers working on this theme jointly organize regular discussion meetings and lectures to promote integration of research conducted within molecular, cellular, systems, behavioral, and clinical neurosciences across campus.

Conditions of employment

  • Employment will be for 2-3 years after a positive evaluation.
  • Salary scale in accordance with the relevant national labor agreement (CAO UMC) and based on research experience and qualifications.

Information

For any information please contact Prof. dr. Carolina de Weerth (Carolina.deWeerth@radboudumc.nl; tel. +31-24-3665059).


Radboud Excellence Professorship

For colleagues there are opportunities of working at our lab with a Radboud Excellence Professorship (click here). Professors may come for a maximum period of 6 months, and we can offer them excellent opportunities for carrying out research, and for investigating research questions of their interest within the large data set of our longitudinal Bibo project. Contact us for more information on the possibilities (yearly deadlines: 1 May and 1 November).


Radboud Excellence Postdoc Fellowships

For colleagues that obtained their PhD between 2 and 8 years ago, and have a good publishing record, there are opportunities of working at our lab with a Radboud Excellence Fellowship (click here). Fellows can come for 1 to 2 years, and we can offer them excellent opportunities for carrying out research, and for investigating research questions of their interest within the large data set of our longitudinal Bibo project. Contact us for more information on the possibilities (yearly deadlines: 1 May and 1 November).


Other opportunities

Our lab offers PhD and postdoc opportunities, as well as undergraduate opportunities to gain research experience. Prospective Master and PhD students with external funding are invited to contact us. Also, Bachelor and Master students can apply for summer internships on a voluntary basis. For those looking for (additional) funding, there are some opportunities to obtain funding in The Netherlands (click here) and from the Radboud University (click here and here).

We select candidates based on their motivation, CV, English language capacities, and writing skills.