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  3. PhD candidate VICI-project - When mummy and daddy get under your skin

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PhD candidate VICI-project - When mummy and daddy get under your skin

The Department of Child Development and Education is looking for a PhD candidate for the VICI-project, entitled ‘When mummy and daddy get under your skin’. A …

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Spui, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 uur
€ 2222 - € 2840 per maand


The Department of Child Development and Education is looking for a PhD candidate for the VICI-project, entitled ‘When mummy and daddy get under your skin’. A new look at how parenting affects children’s stress reactivity and disruptive behaviour’. The project will be supervised by prof. dr. Geertjan Overbeek and dr. Loes van Rijn-van Gelderen.

Project description

Child maltreatment is a widespread, global phenomenon that affects the lives of millions of children all over the world. In children who experience chronic maltreatment or highly dysfunctional caregiving, stress reactivity is significantly upregulated, towards hyperarousal, vigilance and alertness. The stressful parenting environment may be related to epigenetic signatures in children. Specifically, dysfunctional parenting predicts methylation (gene silencing) in a glucocorticoid gene pathway responsible for heightened stress reactivity and disruptive behaviour in children. How can we undo this process? This project focuses on the hypothesis that by improving parenting with known-effective parenting interventions, previously methylated gene pathways that are responsible for impaired stress reactivity can become demethylated―leading to improved stress reactivity that prevents or diminishes children’s disruptive behaviour. This hypothesis will be examined in an experimental research paradigm (i.e., a randomized controlled trial) among at-risk children (aged 12-14 months) and their families in the Amsterdam SARPHATI cohort. The project is unique in that it pairs (epi)genetic and physiological data with observational and questionnaire data on parent-child interactions in a randomized controlled trials of VIPP-SD; a known-effective parenting intervention.


  • Participation in the PhD-programme of the Graduate School of Child Development and Education and RPA Yield;
  • independently carrying out research, writing scientific articles, and completing a PhD dissertation within four or five years;
  • active participation in the programme group of Preventive Youth Care, and the Research Institute of Child Development and Education;
  • participating in conferences, workshops, seminars, and other scholarly activities.


The PhD candidate should have the following credentials:

  • graduated with excellent results on a research-based Research Master or Master thesis in (Ortho)Pedagogics, Psychology, or a closely related discipline;
  • interest in child development, and how we can use knowledge from psychology and pedagogics to help children flourish;
  • experience in carrying out quantitative research and analyses;
  • excellent communication and academic writing skills (Dutch and English);
  • excellent organization and project coordination skills;
  • experience in working with parents and children;
  • knowledge of/interest in parent-child interactions, stress reactivity, and (epi)gene-environment interplay in childhood;
  • knowledge of/interest in family interventions and parent training programmes.


The appointment will be for a period of 12 months plus a further 36 or 48 months (depending on either a 0.8 fte/1.0 fte appointment) contingent on a satisfactory performance during the first year. Intended start date for the project is 3 September 2018.

The gross monthly salary will range from €2,222 in the first year to €2,840 in the final year, based on a full-time position of 38 hours per week, plus 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% end-of- year allowance, in conformity with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

Additional information

For more information please contact:

Applications must be sent by e-mail with the required documents:

  • curriculum vitae ;
  • motivation letter;
  • grade list.

You can send these as one PDF file to vacatures-pow-fmg@uva.nl before 25 June 2018. Please note that application interviews will be held Wednesday, June 27 and/or Thursday, June 28