PhD Position in Bayesian Network Psychometrics

University of Amsterdam Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

PhD Candidate in Bayesian Network Psychometrics

Faculty/Services:  Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
Educational level:  University
Function type:  Academic Staff
Closing date:  1 June 2022
Vacancy number:  8899

Are you interested in a PhD position that develops cutting-edge methodology for the analysis of psychological networks? We are looking for two PhD candidates to take part in the ERC-funded program A New Bayesian Foundation for Psychometric Network Modelling (Bayesian P-Nets) led by Dr. Maarten Marsman.

The psychological literature on network modelling is growing rapidly and Bayesian statistics offers concrete solutions to outstanding methodological problems (e.g., The two PhD candidates will develop new Bayesian methodology to analyse network models that cover a broad range of psychometric variables. One PhD project primarily focuses on modelling cross-sectional data and the other on modelling longitudinal data. Both candidates also work on implementing the newly developed methods in open statistical software (i.e., R, C++, and JASP). Additionally, the candidates will work on eliciting sensible prior distributions for network structures and parameters, and collaborate with substantive researchers that seek to apply the new methodology to their existing datasets.

The PhD projects will be conducted within the Psychological Methods program group at the University of Amsterdam, which is one of the largest and most successful research centres in the field of psychological methods. Its main areas of research are network analysis, Bayesian statistics, mathematical psychology, and psychometrics. Next to developing novel research methodologies, we also actively develop psychological theories on a variety of topics, including intelligence, psychopathology, and decision making. The group has a general focus on supporting open science and has made important methodological contributions to facilitate transparent research practices in the past decade.

What are you going to do

You will:

  • conduct PhD research on Bayesian methodology for network analysis (i.e., derive new models, develop Bayesian methods for their analyses, and implement these developments in software);
  • present research results regularly at (international) workshops and conferences, and publish them in international journals;
  • complete academic work resulting in a PhD thesis that will be defended at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences at the University of Amsterdam with the goal of obtaining a PhD degree;
  • make Amsterdam (or a location within commuting distance) your primary residence for the duration of the PhD project.

What do we require

For these positions, it is essential that you have:

  • a master, research master or equivalent degree specializing in psychological methods, psychometrics, mathematical psychology, statistics, computational science, econometrics, or a related discipline. The degree must have been obtained by the start of your employment;
  • a serious interest in mathematical or computational statistics with a working knowledge of elementary calculus;
  • excellent oral and written communication skills in English;
  • excellent programming skills in R;
  • excellent social and organizational skills;
  • experience working with Bayesian methods.

It is also essential you will make Amsterdam (or a location within commuting distance) your primary residence for the duration of the PhD project.

It is furthermore desirable (but not essential) that you have

  • experience with programming in C, C++, or JASP;
  • experience with network- and longitudinal or time-series models;
  • experience with computational statistical methods, including Expectation-Maximization algorithms and Markov chain Monte Carlo.

Please note that knowledge of the Dutch language is not required for this position, nor is it required for being able to live in Amsterdam. 

Our offer

The position concerns a temporary appointment of 38 hours per week for a term of 4 years. The initial contract will be for a period of 12 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended for a total duration of 4 years. We will put together a curriculum which will also include the opportunity to attend training courses and both national and international events. For this position the University Job Classification profile 'promovendus' applies.

Your salary will be €2,443 gross per month in the first year and will increase to €3,122 in the final year, based on full-time employment and in keeping with the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities. We additionally offer an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.3%.

The UvA offers excellent possibilities for further professional development and education.

What else do we offer

  • a position in which initiative and input are highly valued;
  • an enthusiastic and warm team that is open to new colleagues;
  • an inspiring academic and international working environment in the heart of Amsterdam.

About us

The University of Amsterdam is the largest university in the Netherlands, with the broadest spectrum of degree programmes. It is an intellectual hub with 39,000 students, 6,000 employees and 3,000 doctoral students who are all committed to a culture of inquiring minds.

About the faculty

A challenging work environment with a variety of duties and ample scope for individual initiative and development within an inspiring organization. The social and behavioral sciences play a leading role in addressing the major societal challenges faced by the world, the Netherlands and Amsterdam, now and in the future.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.


Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:

Job application

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application by 1 June 2022. You may apply online by using the link below.

Applications in one combined .pdf should include:

  • a curriculum vitae;
  • a letter of motivation (max. 1 page);
  • any other required information.

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

If you encounter Error GBB451, reach out to our HR Department directly. They will gladly help you continue your application.

No agencies please.