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PhD student Translating movement behaviour data to public health recommendations

PhD student | Marie Skłodowska-Curie Doctoral Network Fellowship ‘Translation of advanced movement behaviour data to real-life behaviour and public health recommendations’ (36 hrs/week)
PhD student Translating movement behaviour data to public health recommendations
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  • Hours: 36 uur per week
  • Location: Medische faculteit locatie VUmc
  • Contract type: fixed-term
  • Salary: € 2.789 - € 3.536
  • React until: 31 March 2023
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The project

LABDA (Learning Network for Advanced Behavioural Data Analysis) is an EU-funded MSCA Doctoral Network, that brings together leading researchers in advanced movement behaviour data analysis at the intersection of data science, method development, epidemiology, public health, and wearable technology to train a new generation of creative and innovative public health researchers via training-through-research. The main aims of LABDA are to establish novel methods for advanced 24/7 movement behaviour data analysis of sensor-based data, examine the added value of advanced behavioural data analysis and multi-modal data for predicting health risk and facilitate the use and interpretability of the advanced methods for application in science, policy and society. Via training-through-research projects, 13 doctoral fellows will contribute to reaching these aims. Together, they will develop a joint taxonomy to enable interoperability and data harmonisation. Results will be combined in an open-source LABDA toolbox of advanced analysis methods, including a decision tree to guide researchers and other users to the optimal method for their (research) question. The open-source toolbox of advanced analysis methods will lead to optimised, tailored public health recommendations and improved personal wearable feedback concerning 24/7 movement behaviour. For more information, see the project’s website: LABDA project

Question about this vacancy?
Chey Edwards Chey Edwards +31621487245 Recruitment adviseur
About your role

As a PhD student in the project ‘Translation of advanced 24/7 movement behaviour data to real-life behaviour and public health recommendations’ your challenge is to characterise behaviour profiles across subgroups using advanced methods with an intersectional approach, and to translate optimal behaviour profiles into public health recommendations. Your work will result in the contextual description of behavioural profiles of different subgroups, taking into account various characteristics including age, gender, ethnicity, and socio-economic position. In addition, you will develop an advice for developing public health recommendations based on advanced methods.

Your tasks

Your specific responsibilities will be to:

  • Design and apply a mixed-methods approach to the project;
  • Characterise behavioural profiles using existing cohort data based on advanced behavioural data analysis tools;
  • Apply an intersectionaly lens throughout all phases of the PhD project;
  • Engage with all stakeholders relevant to the translation of 24/7 movement behaviour throughout the PhD project;
  • Report on findings by publishing scientific articles, resulting in a dissertation;
  • Present findings at (inter)national meetings/conferences;
  • Collaborate and exchange knowledge and skills with the other LABDA fellows;
  • Contribute to the LABDA toolbox of advanced analysis methods for sensor-based behavioural data;
  • Contribute to educational activities of the department and within the consortium.
About you

We are looking for an ambitious PhD candidate with the following requirements:

  • Master’s degree in human movement sciences, data science or a related discipline;
  • Experience in quantitative, qualitative and/or mixed methods;
  • Previous experience in analysing accelerometer data is a plus;
  • Proficient with at least on programming language (e.g. Python, R, MATLAB);
  • Preference to work in an interdisciplinary, collaborative, inclusive environment;
  • Excellent communication and collaboration skills and fluent in English;
  • Affinity with youth and health.

To be eligible, applicants need to fulfil the MSCA basic requirements:

  • All researchers recruited in a Doctoral Network must be doctoral candidates, i.e. not already in possession of a doctoral degree at the date of the recruitment;
  • Doctoral candidates must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the recruiting host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are not taken into account.
Our offer
  • We offer an initial contract for 12 months that can be extended (after evaluation) for another 36 months. 
  • PhD students (Onderzoeker in Opleiding) are placed in scale 21, with a fulltime gross salary. The starting salary is € 2.789,-  and increases to € 3.536,- in the fourth year. 
  • Additional benefits include an 8.3% end-of-year bonus and 8% holiday pay.
  • The opportunity to follow further training and development.
  • Pension is accrued at the ABP. VUmc contributes a large part of the premium (70%).
  • In addition to excellent accessibility by public transport, we reimburse 75% of your OV travel costs (commuting costs).
    Scientific advice from internationally recognised experts.
    Access to a broad network of innovative enterprises and organisations.

Fellows will also benefit from a living allowance, a mobility allowance and a family allowance (if already married). The mobility and family allowances are fixed amounts, regardless of the country of recruitment, and may be taxable depending on the country in which the researcher is recruited. Successful applicants are eligible for parental leave in keeping with Amsterdam UMC standard employment policy.

For Dutch citizens it is mandatory to provide a VOG (a declaration of good behaviour).

If you don’t have the nationality of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland, you need a residence permit in the Netherlands. We will help you with the application for this. You can find information on the general conditions here: general conditions.

For more information about our employment conditions, please visit our website.

About your workplace

You will be hosted at the Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc, Department of Public and Occupational Health, in the research group Child and Adolescent Public health Research and Innovation (led by Prof. Dr. Mai Chin A Paw).

For more information see Jeugd en gezondheid

As part of the project you will go on secondments to:

  • Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu (The Netherlands): to characterise behaviour profiles using Doetinchem Cohort Study data (collaborator: dr S. Picavet);
  • Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Medicale (France): to characterise behaviour profiles using Whitehall II accelerometer data (collaborator: dr S. Sabia);
  • SENS Innovation ApS (Denmark): to work on the translation of public health recommendations from a commercial perspective (collaborator: dr K. Lykkegaard).

Working at Amsterdam UMC means working in an inspiring and professional environment in which developing one`s talents and skills is encouraged. We offer you ample opportunity for development, deepening and broadening, additional training and a place to grow!

Further information

For more information about the research team and working environment, you can visit the following websites:

Amsterdam UMC has an open culture. This means that we hope that everyone feels welcome in our organization and that we strive to offer equal opportunities to everyone. We therefore cordially invite all interested parties to respond to this vacancy. Check out our approach to diversity and inclusion.
What to expect
A job in our beautiful capital city
Working for the favorite employer in healthcare (intermediary 2021)
All colleagues have the same goal: contributing to tomorrow’s care
There is room for development, deepening and broadening of your knowledge
An active staff association that organizes fun activities and arranges discounts on products and services for you
Amsterdam UMC innovates continuously, which requires a flexible attitude from everyone
Two large locations, good for your pedometer!
You have more than 15.000 colleagues, not all of whom you will get to know personally
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Amsterdam UMC
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Application tips:

  • Read the full text about the vacancy and prepare your CV and motivation letter accordingly;
  • We are taking the motivation letter very seriously. In the letter, try to impress us with the relevancy of your education and professional experience (if any) to the position. Moreover, we appreciate if you could write about what and how you can contribute to the project.

For more information about this position, you can contact prof. dr. Mai Chin A Paw via

For more information about the application procedure, you can contact Chey Edwards, corporate recruiter, via or via: 06-21487245.

A reference check and screening may be part of the procedure. Read here what this entails. If you come to work for us, we ask for a VOG (Certificate of Good Conduct). 

Acquisition in response to this vacancy is not appreciated.