PhD Student

Last application date
Jun 15, 2021 00:00
PP07 - Department of Developmental, Personality and Social Psychology
Limited duration
Master’s degree in psychology or a related discipline
Occupancy rate
Vacancy type
Research staff

Job description

Project description: At Ghent university, in the Department of Developmental, Personality and Social Psychology, we are looking for a full-time PhD student as part of an ERC-funded project (Outside-In: How Bullying in Adolescence Gets Into The Mind and Under the Skin; ERC-2019-STG- 853517). The overall aim of this project is to examine the emotional and biological mechanisms linking bullying victimization to health outcomes in adolescence. Being bullied is a major stressor for many adolescents and it is recognized as a public health concern worldwide. Adolescents who are exposed to bullying are at increased risk for mental and physical health problems, which could even perpetuate into adulthood. Unfortunately, current understanding of how bullying can pose such deleterious effects remain poor, thus limiting our ability to inform prevention and intervention efforts.

This ERC project aims to address this fundamental gap by examining

  • (a) how exposure to bullying may alter psychological (e.g., emotional) and biological (e.g., HPA-axis) processes among adolescents in real-time in their real-life, using the experience sampling method
  • (b) the extent to which bullying influences gene expression processes resulting in a gene expression profile characterized by enhanced pro-inflammatory activity, that increases risk for health problems.

. Together, this research has the potential to offer unique insights about short- and long-term interplay between psychological, physiological and molecular processes through which bullying may get into the mind and under the skin.

Your role:

The PhD student will work as part of a team (involving two other PhD students, a postdoc and the PI) to setup a large-scale, school-based, longitudinal project, including the collection of intensive longitudinal data (experience sampling data) and biological markers.

The PhD student will be primarily in charge of the development of the experience sampling study, and s/he will be responsible for various aspects of this data collection as well as the statistical analysis of these data.

About Ghent University:

Ghent University is a world of its own. Employing more than 8,000 people, it is actively involved in education and research, management and administration, as well as technical and social service provision on a daily basis. It is one of the largest, most exciting employers in the area and offers great career opportunities. With its 11 faculties and more than 80 departments offering state-of-the-art study programmes grounded in research in a wide range of academic fields, Ghent University is a logical choice for its staff and students.

What we can offer you:

  • The PhD appointment is for 4 years (upon satisfactory performance; yearly evaluation) and will start no later than September 1st.
  • Teleworking is possible and the modalities of teleworking will be agreed upon with the supervisor, in line with Ghent university guidelines.
  • The PhD student will have the opportunity to attend international conferences and to spend a research stay abroad in other research labs.
  • Remuneration will be determined according to salary scale AAP3 (more information about our salary scales).
  • All Ghent University staff members enjoy a number of benefits, such as a wide range of training and education opportunities, 38 days of paid leave, bicycle commuting reimbursement, ecocheques, etc. A complete overview of all our fringe benefits (in Dutch).

Job profile

We are looking for candidates with:

  • An appropriate degree (preferably a research master) in Psychology or a related discipline. The degree requirements must be fulfilled at the start of the job appointment
  • Prior research experience (e.g., involvement in data collection)
  • Evidence of excellent research and communication skills
  • High proficiency in both English and Dutch (oral and written)
  • Highly motivated, inquisitive and passionate about research, strongly interested in the research topic, well organized, who like to work in a team, and possess excellent cooperative skills
  • Experience with collecting intensive longitudinal data (e.g., daily diary data, experience sampling data) and knowledge about analysing this type of data, or other complex nested data (e.g., multilevel data), is desirable (however, note that eagerness and an excellent predisposition to learn how to work with these data is a basic requirement).

How to apply

Applications must be submitted in English and should include in a single PDF file:

  • A detailed CV, including an overview of study results (grades)
  • A motivation letter (maximum two pages, double-spaced, font 12)
  • Contact information of (at least) two (academic) referees

Applications should be sent via email directly to Matteo Giletta (, with email subject “PhD position ERC-2019-STG- 853517”, by June 15th 2021 (23:59 Amsterdam Time).

After an initial screening, interviews will take place in the second half of June (probably via Skype).

For additional information about this vacancy, please contact Matteo Giletta (