PhD Stress in Action. Modelling and predicting the effect of stress


Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences


University of Groningen

Job description

The experience of stress is an inherent aspect of daily life. However, can we validly measure this, and how and under what circumstances does it contribute to disease? We at the department of Psychometrics and Statistics at the University of Groningen are looking for a PhD student to work with us on the ambitious Stress in Action project (more details about the project can be found here:

What will you be doing?
The NWO gravitation project Stress in Action capitalizes on the fast technological advances and big data analytics to move stress research from the lab to daily life. You will be part of the data analytic support core (DASC) team. The DASC will develop a variety of big data analytics approaches. Specific analytical questions for DASC include: (1) How can the dynamic interaction between the contextual stress exposures and the multicomponent stress responses be best modeled? (2) How can these models account for individual differences in the effects of stress exposure? (3) How can we assess the predictive accuracy of these models? As a major innovation, we aim to combine Machine learning (ML) and Dynamic intensive longitudinal data (DILD) techniques to interpret temporal data better. Whereas ML focuses more on data-reduction and prediction and DILD techniques on explanation and intepretability, it is anticipated that a combination of these methods will provide better insights to answer our research questions.

More specifically, you will apply joint modelling and multilevel modelling (vector-autoregressive multilevel models) to develop dynamic predictive accuracy measures for intensive longitudinal data (e.g., the prediction of mood). The random effects coming from such a model can be used for individualized predictions. In this way, we can see if and when complex multilevel models are overfitting and whether the predictive accuracy changes over time. You will also provide a limited number of educational activities at the Psychology department, such as small-scale tutorials and guest lectures, in collaboration with the supervisors. For more information, see and

The position is situated in the Faculty of Behavioral and Social Sciences at the statistics and psychometrics department ( and the LaBlab (

The University of Groningen is a research university with a global outlook, deeply rooted in Groningen, City of Talent. Quality has had top priority for four hundred years, and with success: the University is currently in or around the top 100 on several influential ranking lists.

The Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences is a center of knowledge focusing on individuals and society. We study 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 to resolve or prevent these. Our Faculty employs about 650 employees. For more information about the Faculty, please check the link

Furthermore, as the position is part of an interdisciplinary project, you will be also working with the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rizopoulos’ lab ( Thus, short visits to Rotterdam are to be expected.


- MSc degree (or finishing soon) in psychology, health sciences, statistics, computer science, or a related discipline
- strong interest in Experience Sampling Methods
- knowledge of multilevel models or machine learning approaches
- familiarity with Bayesian statistics or time series analysis
- programming skills in R or Python
- affinity and preferably experience with writing research papers
- good social and communication skills and willing to work with other team members
- enthusiastic about translating scientific insights into practical guidelines and advice
- demonstrable competences as conceptual capacity, presenting, planning and organizing and monitoring.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 48 months.

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

- a salary of € 2,541 gross per month in the first year of the appointment, rising to € 3,247 gross per month in the fourth year for a full-time position;
- a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income and an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance
- attractive secondary terms of employment
- the position is classified in accordance with the University Job Classification (UFO) system; the UFO profile is PhD candidate
- a temporary position of 1.0 FTE for four years. You will first be appointed for 12 months. After a positive evaluation, the contract will be extended for the remaining period.

Intended starting date: 1 September 2023

Job Application

Are you interested in applying? If so, please submit the following documents:

1. letter of motivation
2. CV (including contact information for at least two academic references)
3. transcripts from your bachelor’s and master’s degree
4. a research proposal of max. 1000 words of a possible first project.

Please submit your application until 17 April 11:59pm / before 18 April 2023 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage:[…]/

Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers:

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Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

Dr Laura Bringmann (it is highly recommended to contact Dr Bringmann to discuss the project)

In your application, please always include the job opening ID V23.0167

Digital application form