For best experience please turn on javascript and use a modern browser!
Urban Mental Health

Open call for projects

Open Call for connected PhD projects within the research priority area Urban Mental Health.

The UvA research priority area Urban Mental Health represents a research collaboration between the UvA Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, the Faculty of Science, the Faculty of Medicine and the Institute for Advanced Study.

UMH awards grants for research into fundamental, neurobiological, psychological, epidemiological and translational research within the central framework of mental health in an urban environment. Applications need to involve at least two of these three Faculties in a collaborative effort and ideally involve, at least partly, a complexity science approach.

The main evaluation criterion is whether the proposed research fits within the themes and/or one of the work packages of Urban Mental Health. Applicants are advised to focus on a specific project that can be addressed in terms of a clear and well-defined hypothesis and specific aims, and can be completed within a reasonable time, and for which the collaboration between the at least two Faculties provides an added value, this value will have to be explained.  

Terms and Restrictions

UMH PhD grants are to be used for research with the University of Amsterdam as its main affiliation. UMH does not fund construction of buildings or VAT.


UMH uses a two-tier review process and will work with a first round of brief Letters of Intent  that will be subject to peer review by the board. The best applications will then be invited to submit a full application a few weeks later. Applications will be accepted for a salary for a PhD candidate including overhead in accordance with the rules of the faculty where the PhD candidate will be hosted + appropriate research-costs up to € 15.000 per year.

Applicants should fulfil the following criteria:
1) In order to be eligible for an UMH PhD grant, the applicant must be working at one of the three Faculties and hold the academic rank of assistant professor (or equivalent) or higher. Applicants are expected to be part of one of the four partner Institutes/Faculties and have a position for at least four years. UMH will not fund the salary of the applicant of an Award except under extraordinary circumstances. If salary for the P.I. is requested, it must be clearly justified. Further collaborative partners may be included when there is a surplus value, as long as two of the participating faculties are involved, in one which the PhD project will be officially embedded.

2) No applicant may receive more than one UMH PhD grant. No applicant may submit more than one grant application in the same grant cycle. Investigators of the same laboratory can also apply for another grant provided there is not too much scientific overlap between the proposed research projects. An applicant can be part of another application, but then as consultant/advisor (involved for 5% max).

3) The research plan should be coherent and focused, hypothesis driven and ideally connect to the backbone of the RPA (see work package 2 of the RPA). The researchers are open to work on the bigger picture and participate in weekly sessions at the IAS. In the plan, it should be illustrated in a convincing manner that the proposed research can be completed within the time available. From the biographical sketch of the applicants, it should become clear they can perform the planned work. A recent impact factor of their papers should be indicated.

4)Board members cannot be one of the main applicants but the board will assign one or two board members to take a role in the funded projects, specifically in relating the project to the overall aims of UMH. 

Awards are granted on the basis of a joint evaluation of the scientific merit and quality of the applicant’s research proposal and CV, and its relevance for urban mental health.

In the first tier, a brief Letter of Intent (LoI) of 1 p A4 research and 1 p for CV for each of the participating researchers is required. The LoI will be selected based on the relevance for urban mental health, the promise, originality and feasibility of the research plan and the applicant's past performance. Upon selection, applicants are invited to submit a full proposal that will be peer reviewed by members of the UMH board and where applicable, also by external experts. In September, the 1st applications and evaluations will be discussed and ranked in a joint meeting of the UMH board after which a selection of applicants is invited to submit a larger full proposal of 3 pages (see below).

Based on the evaluation of the invited full proposals, the UMH board decides on funding in October. Projects should start in the beginning of January. To ensure that UMH is funding meritorious research proposals that have a high potential for success, the UMH board bases its decisions on a rigorous peer-review process, taking program goals into consideration.

Within these constraints, UMH will seek to maintain a good balance of funding between:

A. Experienced, established investigators and young, promising investigators

B. The different topics and areas identified in the different work packages of the full UMH proposal (see website) and between the different faculties. UMH is not funding an disproportionally high number of grants in one particular area. The UMH board reserves the right to also appoint the ius promovendi to one of the 2 applying partner faculties, based on an approximately equal distribution of UMH funds over the 3 faculties.  

Taking these criteria into account, the UMH board will select only grants that have received a sufficient, pre-set high quality rank which is likely to guarantee the quality, and successful completion of the research. Applications that receive a low rating will not be funded.

Applicants normally will be notified in writing of the decision concerning their application. UMH staff is not authorized to provide information on priority scores, ranking, or likelihood of funding of applications prior to written notification of applicants.

Human/Animal Research Subjects

UMH requires that the research it funds meets or exceeds national ethical regulations regarding the use of human subjects or animals in research and researchers need to apply for approval by the appropriate (animal) Ethical Commissions where relevant.

Publication Acknowledgement

All publications, papers, book chapters or presentations, resulting from research sponsored by UMH must be acknowledged as follows: “This study was supported by the research priority area Urban Mental Health of the University of Amsterdam” and a pdf of the paper should be send to the UMH project coordinator upon its publication.

Discontinuation of Grant Funding

Although UMH can have committed grant funding for the stated term of the grant, it reserves the right to discontinue the grant at any time in the event the work performed is in breach of the terms and obligations stated herein, or violating general UvA regulations.

Time line

  • 4 September 2019: Submission of Letters of Intent (LOI)         
  • 11 September 2019: Preselection of LOIs
  • 11 October 2019: Deadline full application
  • 24 October 2019: Decision full application by UMH board
  • January 2020: Intended start date of PhD
Letter of Intent form


Please send your final submission as a pdf to the following email adress: