PhD position Real World Evidence for Precision Drug Therapy (1.0 FTE)


Faculty of Science and Engineering


University of Groningen

The University of Groningen has an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative centre of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Balanced study and career paths in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 35,000 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, we are truly an international place of knowledge.

The Faculty of Science and Engineering harbours a kaleidoscope of disciplines and research strengths. Our programmes in research and education range from nanomaterials and biomachinery to astronomy, from mathematics to pharmacy, from neurosciences to computer science, and from molecular and evolutionary biology to marine biology.

The vacancy is set in the unit PharmacoTherapy, -Epidemiology & -Economics of the Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy (GRIP: The successful candidate will join a dynamic, multidisciplinary, group of researchers in this department, stemming from the disciplines of pharmacotherapy, pharmacogenetics, pharmacoeconomics, clinical pharmacology, clinical pharmacy, and clinical pharmacoepidemiology. We are active in research focusing on studies using “real world” health care data. We have access to various databases and recently started a collaboration with the Lifelines cohort study, genetic department and our in-house prescription database called Pharmlines Initiative.

Job description

In the unit of Pharmacotherapy, Epidemiology and Economics (PTEE) of the Groningen Institute for Pharmacy (GRIP: we are looking for a PhD candidate for a project in the area of Precision Drug Therapy. Precision drug therapy is a new and rapidly growing field that combines biomedical science, statistics, and machine learning. The ambitious goal of precision drug therapy is to identify optimal treatment strategies for patient subpopulations. You will seek to identify these subpopulations, the optimal treatment within those subpopulations, and possibly gain insight into the causes of diversity in patient response. To do this, you will make use of advanced statistical procedures embedded in the causal inference (potential outcomes) framework together with machine learning methods, applied to rich patient databases (see organisation, below). Such databases can include demographic and physiological measurements, genetic and genomic information, co-morbid conditions, individual patient preferences, adherence, lifestyle, and more.

Responsibilities and tasks:

- identifying relevant patient subpopulations or treatment trajectories
- identifying causal treatment effect heterogeneity
- writing scientific articles and conference communications
- participation in acquiring additional funds for this research line
- teaching activities (10% of total workload), mostly on supervision of bachelor and master students
- contribute to the scientific and collaborative research environment in the unit of Pharmacotherapy, Epidemiology and Economics (PTEE).


We are looking for a motivated and skilled student with an MSc degree in Pharmacy, Biomedical Sciences, Medicine, or related disciplines. High grades on statistics courses are an advantage, as is familiarity with a statistical programming language, but these are not requirements for application. The successful candidate must be motivated to become a 'pharmaceutical data scientist', and as such should be interested in learning advanced statistical and machine learning methods (under supervision). The candidate will learn and work with a statistical programming language (e.g. R or Python, but if desired by the candidate others such as Julia, C++, etc. are also possible). Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English are important.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 48 months.

We offer you, following the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

• a salary of € 2,395 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,061 gross per month in the fourth and final year for a full-time working week
• a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
• an 8.3% year-end bonus
• a full-time position (1.0 FTE) for 4 years
• a position for four years; first, you will get a temporary position 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 successful completion of the PhD thesis within the contract period is to be expected.

A PhD training programme is part of the agreement and you will be enrolled in the Graduate School of the Faculty of Science and Engineering.

Starting date is flexible; the ideal starting date is during or before the fourth quarter of 2021.

Job Application

Do you meet our qualification criteria? If yes, your application should include:

• cover letter (1 to 2 pages)
• curriculum vitae
• transcripts from your bachelor’s and master’s degree
• a short research statement describing what you wish to study and why (up to 1 page).

You can submit your application until 30 May 11:59 / before 31 May 2021 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our University. We are committed to building a diverse faculty so you are encouraged to apply. Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP), and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers,

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

Dr Maarten J. Bijlsma, Assistant Professor

Prof. Eelko Hak

In your application, please always include the job opening ID 221169

Digital application form