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PhD candidate “Personalized rewards of lifestyle changes in cardiovascular diseases”

Wetenschappelijke functies, PhD-posities
Omvang (fte)
Geplaatst op
3 maart 2020
17 maart 2020 Vacature gesloten

The Institute of Psychology of the Faculty Social and Behavioral Sciences, in collaboration with the Leiden University Medical Centre, has an opening for a

PhD candidate
 Personalized rewards of lifestyle changes in cardiovascular diseases 

Project description
Recent large-scale population research showed that healthy lifestyle extends lifetime by six years and delays the onset of chronic diseases by nine years. Multiple interventions are available to help people achieve a healthier lifestyle which are successful in motivating people to initiate a behavioural change (BC) but often fail keep people aboard and maintain their change. The present project investigates and evaluates how design can support motivation for a BC maintenance. To reach this aim we will investigate four strategies of personalisation of motivating incentives: 1) Adapt incentive–type, -quantity, and –moment to BC stage; 2) Introduce personal health feedback as motivator; 3) Personalise incentives to user’s engagement profile; and 4) Change system-initiated incentives into user-initiated incentives.

The Enduring Rewards project will work on three existing behavioural change programs. One of these programs is the Box Program as part of the Benefit-for-all program. The Box is a eHealth program, started by the Cardiology department of the LUMC, that aims to facilitate recovery after cardiac events. Patients are provided at home with a box containing devices that facilitate telemonitoring and telecare. Long-term motivation for patients to maintain using the Box is key for successful prevention of a next CVD event.

The PhD in the Enduring Rewards project will work in a team of psychologists (LU), cardiologists (LUMC), and game design- and eHealth-companies. Other involved partners in the project are design research (TUD) and public health (EURMC).

Key responsibilities

  • Research and design means to foster this motivation by creating and studying personalized incentives as used in the Benefit-for-all program;
  • A co-creation with target group, literature research on long-term motivation, iteratively test and develop behavioural maintenance modules for the Box, including an evaluation study;
  • Conducting different studies of this PhD project;
  • Writing scientific, peer-reviewed publications, resulting in a PhD thesis.

Selection criteria

  • A Master or equivalent degree in a relevant field (completion of the MA thesis before the PhD project starts), including (health, medical or biological) psychology, health sciences, design and/or related discipline to the project;
  • High affinity with the research area of creating personalized incentives for effective health behavior change in cardiovascular diseases;
  • Substantial knowledge of statistical methods and high analytical skills;
  • Ambition as high-potential researcher aimed at excellent scientific research;
  • Ability to work independently in a interdisciplinary setting;
  • Social and organizational competencies;
  • Excellent communication and writing skills;
  • Affinity and/or experience with co-creation as well as working with behavioural change projects and the target group;
  • Since the research will be performed in the Dutch context, the candidate needs to speak and write Dutch fluently.

Our organisation
The Faculty Social and Behavioural Sciences comprises four institutes: Education and Child Studies, Political Science, Psychology and Cultural Anthropology & Development Sociology. The Faculty also includes the Centre for Science and Technology Studies. The Faculty is home to 5,000 students and 600 members of staff. Our teaching and research programmes cover diverse topics varying from adoption to political behaviour.  

Terms and conditions
The appointment is for a period of one year with an extension of three years after positive evaluation of capabilities and compatibility. The appointment must lead to the completion of a PhD thesis.
 Salary range from 2,325.- to 2,972.- gross per month (PhD scale in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme.
 Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. More information can be found at our website.

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

For further information about our unit and its teaching and research activities, please visit our website. Inquiries may be addressed to Andrea Evers, or Veronica Janssen, telephone 071 527 63627, e-mail

Please submit online your application no later than 17 March 2020 via the blue button in our application system. Applicants should submit online:

  • A letter of interest;
  • A CV;
  • The names and contact information for two references (no letters);
  • Copies of your academic transcripts (cijferlijst).

Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.

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