PhD position Physical and mental resilience in sports (2.0 FTE)


Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences


University of Groningen

Since its foundation in 1614, the University of Groningen has enjoyed an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative center of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Balanced study and career paths in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 31,000 students and researchers to develop their own individual talents. Belonging to the best research universities in Europe and joining forces with prestigious partner universities and networks, the University of Groningen is truly an international place of knowledge.

The Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences is a centre of knowledge focusing on individuals and society. The faculty studies issues relating to human behaviour, and the relationships between people and society as a whole. This includes the study of how people function under normal circumstances, but also of the problems encountered by individuals or groups, and how these can be resolved or prevented. The Department of Psychology is part of the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences, and offers bachelor’s and master’s programmes in both Dutch and English to over 3000 students.

About the University Medical Center Groningen – Center for Human Movement Sciences

The University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) was established in 2005 as a joint activity of the University of Groningen and the Academic Hospital Groningen (AZG). At present, the UMCG is one of the largest hospitals in the Netherlands and the largest employer in the Northern Netherlands. More than 10,000 employees provide patient care, are involved in medical education and perform cutting-edge scientific research, focused on ‘healthy and active ageing’.

The Department of Human Movement Sciences is a Department within the UMCG and the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the University of Groningen. The main goal of the Department is to develop knowledge about the mechanisms of human movement and human performance. This scientific knowledge is applied to optimize human movement and human performance in healthy and clinical populations through prevention and innovative treatment over the life span (healthy ageing). Approximately 400 Bachelor’s, 150 Master’s and 50 Minor’s students, along with over 30 PhD students, form the heart of the ‘learning’ community in a stimulating academic, clinical and social environment.

Job description

Athletes are exposed to various physical and mental stressors, such as high training loads and defeats. For professional sports organizations, maintaining and improving the resilience of athletes is a top priority to prevent performance decrements and physical or mental problems. Although sports organizations increasingly measure physical and mental data of athletes, they lack resources to integrate these data and to use it to determine the resilience of individual athletes. The aim of this project is to gain novel insights into resilience, and to provide athletes and coaches with concrete feedback on the resilience of athletes. Two important questions in this project are: 1) By integrating daily fluctuations in the physical and mental states of athletes, can we accurately predict resilience lapses (e.g., the occurrence of injuries, mental problems)? and 2) Do coaches and athletes benefit from personalized feedback on the physical and mental resilience of athletes? Two PhD candidates will be hired on this project, one will be based at the Department of Psychology, University of Groningen, and the other at the Center for Human Movement Sciences, University Medical Center Groningen. The project is interdisciplinary, in a collaboration between psychologists, human movement- and sport scientists, and data scientists. Furthermore, data collection will take place at the Dutch premier division soccer clubs FC Groningen, Vitesse, and PSV. Hence, the PhD candidates will work in an interdisciplinary team, in close connection with the sports field. The research project is funded by ZonMw and is officially titled: ‘Resilient athletes: A multidisciplinary individualized approach’ (see:


• having (almost) finished a (research) master's degree in the domain of Psychology, Sport Sciences, Human Movement Sciences, Data Science, or a related discipline
• an excellent academic record
• eagerness to publish international articles and write a dissertation
• good social and communication skills to collaborate with scientists from different disciplines, as well as practitioners in the sports field
• excellent command of English and academic writing skills
• proven research abilities and affinity with sports, soccer in particular
• have expertise or an affinity with computer- and data science
• good command of the Dutch language, or willingness to learn Dutch
• the ability to translate scientific knowledge and insights to lay people working in sports practice, and the ability to translate questions from sports practice to empirical questions.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 12 months.

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:
• a salary of € 2,325 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 2,972 gross per month in the fourth and final year
• you will get a temporary full-time position (1.0 FTE) of one year with the option of renewal for another three years. Prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that you will successfully complete your PhD thesis within the next three years
• a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
• an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance.

Job Application

Do you meet our Qualification criteria? If yes, your application should include, in one pdf file:
• letter of motivation
• CV (including contact information for at least two academic references)
• individual mark sheets.

You can submit your application until 6 October 23:59 pm / before 7 October 2019 Dutch local time by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

Interviews are planned for 23 or 25 October 2019. Interview and moving expenses are fully covered.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

Dr R.J.R. den Hartigh
+31 50 3639726

Prof. K.A.P.M. Lemmink
+31 6 25646586

In your application, please always include the job opening ID 219478-79

Extra informatie kan worden verkregen via een van de volgende links:

Sport Science Institute Groningen Football Science Groningen Research in the talent development and creativity program

Digital application form