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PhD position on the Psychology of Science Scepticism

We are looking for a highly motivated candidate for a 4-year PhD position on the psychology of science scepticism, which is part of a project funded by an ERC …

ongeveer 2 maanden geleden


Nieuwe Achtergracht, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Vast contract
Uren per week:
38 - 38 uur
€ 2395 - € 3061 per maand


We are looking for a highly motivated candidate for a 4-year PhD position on the psychology of science scepticism, which is part of a project funded by an ERC grant awarded to Dr Bastiaan Rutjens. Within the project, you will work closely together with the other members of the core project team, which consists of Bastiaan Rutjens, a postdoctoral reearcher, another PhD student, and a research assistant. More information on the lab team can be found at PsySci (Psychology of Science) Lab.

The PhD project will be conducted within the Social Psychology program group at the University of Amsterdam. Within the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, the discipline of Psychology offers a range of Bachelor's and Master’s degree programmes, while its research is carried out at the Psychology Research Institute (Psyres). The successful candidate will be part of the Social Psychology program group.

Project description

Science scepticism among the public represents an important societal challenge. While recent research has shed light on some of the ideological correlates of specific manifestations of science scepticism - such as climate change denial and vaccine hesitancy - a unifying psychological principle that can be applied to science scepticism more generally has not yet been identified. Our lab investigates psychological distance to science as a precursor of science scepticism. In this project, the focus will be on evaluations of scientists (i.e., trust in scientists, stereotypes about scientists, scepticism about scientists’ motives). Various methods will be employed, including large-scale cross-national surveys, controlled experiments, and secondary data analysis.

The PhD candidate will work under the daily supervision of Dr Bastiaan Rutjens and Prof. Gerben van Kleef, who are both based at the Department of Psychology of the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, which is ranked 16th in the QS World University Rankings. The University of Amsterdam has access to state-of-the-art research facilities (Psychology labs / Spinoza center) to implement and coordinate the proposed research. The PhD candidate will report the research results at project meetings, conferences and in international journals, ultimately leading to a PhD dissertation. The candidate will also provide teaching assistance (15%).


  • Master’s degree (preferably obtained in a research master program) in social psychology, cognitive psychology, psychological methods, communication science, or equivalent program;
  • passion for research and a demonstrable interest in the topic of the project (i.e., science skepticism, social stereotypes, trust);
  • strong in conceptual thinking as well as in data analysis skills;
  • experience/strong affinity with big data analysis techniques (e.g., web scraping, social network analysis) and text analysis (e.g., LIWC);
  • experience/strong affinity with behavioral outcome measures and behavior change;
  • excellent writing skills;
  • excellent English proficiency.


Our offer

The PhD position is for four years (initial employment is 12 months. After a positive evaluation, the appointment will be extended with 36 months). The project should lead to a dissertation. Based on a full-time appointment the gross monthly salary will be €2,395 in the first year, increasing to €3,061 in the fourth year (conform the  Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

What else can we offer you?

A motivating work environment with a variety of duties and sufficient scope for individual initiative and development within an inspiring organization. We cherish inquisitive minds and persevering spirits, and allow you the opportunity to dig deeper with your questions. Diverse, unique, dynamic, internationally oriented and ambitious: these are all characteristics which typify UvA staff. Strongly committed to the city of Amsterdam and the international society of which it is part, the UvA stands for independence, creativity, innovation, an international perspective and a critical yet open mindset.

Additional information

Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:

Would you like to learn more about working at the University of Amsterdam? Visit our website.