PhD candidate position in Health Communication/Persuasion Technology

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences – Amsterdam School of Communication Research

Publication date
31 May 2018
Level of education
Master's degree
Salary indication
€2,222 to €2,840 gross per month
Closing date
17 June 2018
38 hours per week
Vacancy number

The Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) is the research institute in Communication Science at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, University of Amsterdam. We are looking for a PhD candidate for the project ‘Supreme Nudge’, funded by the Netherlands Heart Foundation. The PhD vacancy is positioned within the Persuasive Communication track, led by Prof. Julia van Weert, and the Amsterdam Center for Health Communication.

Project description

In the SUPREME NUDGE project, the opportunities for facilitating healthy lifestyle behaviours of low socioeconomic status adults through a supermarket-based intervention are investigated in a series of related work-packages (WPs). After assessing the needs and characteristics of the target group and the supermarket chain involved in the project (WP1), a pilot test will investigate effective intervention components in a virtual supermarket setting (WP2.1) and through a mobile app (WP2.2).

During the intervention phase, we will test the effects of ‘nudging’, pricing strategies and a physical activity mobile app on improvements in lifestyle and cardiovascular risk (WP3) and the upscaling of the intervention (WP4). SUPREME NUDGE is financed by the Dutch Heart Foundation and ZonMw, and will be coordinated by VU University Medical Centre. The project will be executed in collaboration with 9 public and private partners.

The PhD candidate vacancy

The current PhD candidate vacancy is for WP2.2. In this work package, you will be required to develop and pilot test an intelligent and individually tailored physical activity mobile application, based on a previously designed activity app. In this WP, you will investigate barriers and facilitators of mobile app usage in the target group and scientific experts so as to optimize the mobile application. This mobile application will then be pilot-tested in a small sample during a 6-to-8-week period.

The PhD position is 3-year full-time position, with around 0.05-0.10 FTE teaching time.


You should:

  • hold a Research Master’s degree in communication science or equivalent qualifications. Candidates who are due to graduate before October 2018 are also welcome to apply. Research Masters from related fields such as (health) Psychology, Health Education/Promotion, and Movement Sciences are also welcome to apply, but might have to do some extra coursework to get acquainted with the field of communication science. A Research Master is a 2-year Master program with 30 EC of methodological coursework;
  • excel academically, as shown in the grade transcripts and curriculum vitae;
  • have elaborate experience with quantitative and qualitative research methods, notably focus group interviews, survey research, and experimental design, as indicated in their Master thesis and/or courses taken;
  • have an excellent written and spoken command of English;
  • have the ability, willingness, and commitment to work in a small, multi-disciplinary team;
  • have excellent organizational skills;
  • have a strong wish to pursue an academic career.

Further information

You may address questions about the application procedure and other general questions to:

Questions about the project content you may address to:


The starting date of the position is set for 1 September 2018. The position is initially for 1 year. Extension of the contract after the first year to a total of three years is subject to satisfactory performance.

For PhD candidates, the gross monthly salary will be in accordance with the salary scales for PhD candidates at Dutch universities, i.e., ranging from €2,222 in the first year to €2,840 in the final year. Conditions are based on the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities.

Job application

The UvA is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. We value a spirit of enquiry and endurance, provide the space to keep asking questions and cherish a diverse atmosphere of curiosity and creativity.

To apply for this position, please send at least the following documents in English in a single, merged PDF file by e-mail to

  • ASCoR Application form;
  • clear indication of project ‘Supreme Nudge’;
  • motivation letter;
  • curriculum vitae;
  • proof of your Research Master’s degree. If you have not completed your degree at the time of application, please provide a statement from your supervisor confirming the expected date of completion.
  • an academic writing sample in English (e.g., course paper, Master thesis). 

The deadline for applications is 17 June 2018. Please state vacancy number 18-314 in the subject line of your application. Interviews with pre-selected candidates will take place in the week of July 2. #LI-DNP

No agencies please

Published by  University of Amsterdam