PhD position 'The influence of the home environment on academic skills'

Voor 1.0 fte
Vacaturenummer 18081
VU onderdeel: Extern

VUnet Vacatures afbeelding 08 Nederlands
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is a leading, innovative and growing university that is at the heart of society and actively contributes to new developments in teaching and research. Our university has ten faculties which span a wide range of disciplines, as well as several institutes, foundations, research centres, and support services. Its campus is located in the fastest-growing economic region in the Netherlands (the Zuidas district of Amsterdam), and provides work for over 4,500 staff and scientific education for more than 23,000 students.
The Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences (FBM) at VU University Amsterdam is unique in the wide field of behavioural and health sciences for combining the disciplines of psychology, education theory and human movement sciences. The faculty contributes to a better understanding of the way behaviour and movement are caused and can be influenced so as to promote physical and mental health and improve performance. The faculty houses the Netherlands Twin Register (NTR) with which ground-breaking research is conducted in behavioural genetics.
The Department of Biological Psychology is looking for a PhD student for a project that is part of the NWO gravity program "Why some children thrive and others do not" from the national Consortium on Individual Development ( The project focuses on the interplay of genetic and environmental influences in school performance and behavioural control. You will use data from the Netherlands Twin Register ( and actively contribute to the continuation and enrichment of the data collection. The project focuses on the effect of the home environment on school performance and behavioural control in adolescents. Are adolescents with a lower socio-economic background more likely to go to a lower level of secondary education than can be expected based on their school performance and behavioural control? Is the effect of the home environment on school performance and behavioural control larger in a lower socio-economic environment? What is the influence of several characteristics of socio-economic status (parental education, family income and neighbourhood deprivation) on school performance and school level?
As a PhD student you are responsible for part of the data collection at Statistics Netherlands and make use of the unique large-scale longitudinal database of the Dutch Twin Register. You investigate the causes of differences and similarities in school performance and behavioural control. In your PhD research you carry out behavioural genetic (genetic architecture and gene-environment interaction / correlation) and molecular genetic analyses (polygenetic risk score analyses).
Job requirements
A completed research master in biological psychology, behavioural genetics, psychometrics, developmental psychology, or similar; knowledge of statistical methods (structural comparison models as implemented in Mx, Mplus, Lisrel and R); knowledge of genetic epidemiology and family research; experience with dealing with large, longitudinal datasets; interest in / knowledge of children's development; affinity with questionnaire research; willingness to take responsibility for data collection / data linkage; knowledge of quantitative genetics; good writing skills in (academic) English; good speaking and writing skills in Dutch are a plus.
The employment contract is entered into for a period of 12 months and with sufficient perspective extended to a total of 3 years. At the end of the third year, the employment contract must be concluded with a dissertation.
The Vrije Universiteit has attractive secondary conditions of employment and regulations such as:
• 8.3% end-of-year bonus and 8% holiday allowance;
• A minimum of 29 days' holiday with full working hours;
• Market-based travel expenses scheme.
You can find our terms and conditions of employment at
Salary is in accordance with the CAO for universities. The salary is € 2.588,00 gross per month for a full-time appointment. The maximum salary is € 2.840,00 gross per month.
Information and application
For more information on the project, please contact: Prof. dr. Dorret Boomsma, or dr. Eveline de Zeeuw, Applications can be sent to Natascha Stroo, department manager,, stating the vacancy number in the e-mail header and with a motivation letter, recent CV and grade list in one  attachment.
Please mention the vacancy number in the e-mail header or at the top of your letter and on the envelope.
Any other correspondence in response to this advertisement will not be dealt with.