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PhD candidate in Network analysis, Netherlands


The research programme of the Psychological Methods group is concerned with the conceptual analysis, technical development, practical implementation, and dissemination of methodological and statistical techniques in psychology. The central objective of the research program is to improve methodological practice in psychology; not only by developing new methods for psychological research, but also by adequately communicating methodological advances to the general psychological audience, and by assisting working researchers in the proper application of methodological techniques. The group consists of 25 researchers supervised by three full professors. The group is lead by Prof. Han L.J. van der Maas.

Project description

In recent years, we have developed methodology to determine network structures in clinical settings with (continuous) longitudinal (time series) data that derive from Experience Sampling Methodology (ESM). These network structures, which represent dynamic interactions between problems that a patient deals with, can be used in scientific research but have recently also been used in the selection of therapeutic interventions in treatment. The current project is devoted to test the robustness of the methodology now in place, and to further develop the network analysis techniques in a number of respects. For example, the methodology that we have developed to establish network structures in time-series data hinges on some assumptions (e.g., stationarity and linearity of the process) that are unlikely to be true. The linearity assumption, for example, cannot be exactly true because some characteristic variables in an ESM setting are intrinsically categorical (e.g., an event happens or does not happen) or bounded (e.g., one cannot sleep less than zero hours a night). These assumptions might not be extremely harmful with respect to the goal of determining the coarse network structure (i.e., which symptoms affect which other symptoms). However, such assumptions are probably harmful if we aim to understand processes of change as they are likely to operate in psychopathology. To give one example, we assume processes to be stationary in their parameters (e.g., the effect of one symptom on another remains constant), but it is likely that meaningful clinical change in fact corresponds to alterations in the parameters of the network structure (e.g., by offering cognitive therapy that reduces
the effect or worry on insomnia). We cannot currently model such processes adequately. In addition, we are not yet able to establish networks for large numbers of variables, which will likely be most suited for further analysis with network techniques. However, such techniques are within reach, and can be constructed on the basis of novel statistical inference approaches. The PhD project contributes to the development of these methodologies, and tests their feasibility in clinical applications.

The successful candidate will be based in the Amsterdam Psychosystems group led by prof. Denny Borsboom within the section of Psychological Methods. Psychosystems combines both development of methodology for network theory and applications in a wide range of fields like clinical psychology and brain sciences.

Job requirements

The PhD candidate should have the following credentials:

  • graduated with excellent results on a research-based MA thesis in Psychology or a closely related discipline;
  • experience with statistical analysis of network data, complex multivariate models, data mining, and time series analysis;
  • affinity with the field of psychopathology and psychiatry research.

Further information

For more information, please contact:

  • Prof. D. Borsboom
    T: +31 (0)20 525 6882


The full-time appointment will be for a period of 12 months plus a further 36 months contingent on a satisfactory performance during the first year. The gross monthly salary will range from €2,125 in the first year to €2,717 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.

Some of the things we have to offer:

  • competitive pay and excellent benefits;
  • top-50 University worldwide;
  • very friendly, interactive and international working environment;
  • building located in the city center of one of Europe's most beautiful and lively cities.

Job application

Applicants should submit a letter of interest that addresses qualifications, and a current resume. Applications (with job number 15-360) can be sent to Review of applications will begin 20 October 2015. 

Further Information

Application Deadline : 20 October 2015

PhD candidate in Network analysis : PDF

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Posted on 2015-09-27 00:00:00

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