Two vacant postdoctoral positions for the ERC project NEEDS: Dynamic Urban Environmental Exposures on Depression and Suicide (2017-2022)

Institution (Location)
Start Date
October 1, 2017
Position Description

We invite applications for two fully funded,
full-time, 4-year postdoctoral positions to join the 5-year European Research
Council funded project called “NEEDS: Dynamic Urban Environmental Exposures on
Depression and Suicide“. NEEDS is headed by Dr. Marco Helbich at the Department
of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Utrecht University, and is embedded in
the interdisciplinary
Healthy Urban
research program.

The project aims to
understand the relationships between environments
(i.e. the
built, natural, and social environment)
depression, and suicide in the Netherlands. A key aspect is that
are exposed to multiple environments not only
the day
but also over the course of their lives affecting
depression and suicide risk. To address this issue, a broad range of
methodological innovations will be applied including tracking people with
Global Positioning System-enabled smartphones, conducting register linkage
studies on a population level, space-time data analytics and statistical
modeling. The project promotes a multidisciplinary approach combining health
science, geographic information science, and geography.

The first postdoctoral researcher will address how
environmental exposures along people’s daily movement affect their degree of
depression. Data will be collected through a survey and people’s mobility will
be tracked with Global Positioning System. The second postdoctoral researcher
will address to what extent environmental exposures over people’s life-course
affect suicide mortality by means of setting up cohort study using linked
population register data.


 The successful candidate will initially be offered a
full-time position as a researcher at Utrecht University for two years. On the
basis of a positive evaluation halfway through the second year, the contract
will be extended to up to four years.

Employment conditions are based on the Collective Labor
Agreement of Dutch Universities. Based on the experience and qualifications of
the candidate, the gross monthly salary starts in the first year at a minimum
of €3.068 and a maximum of €4.028 based on full-time (38 hours) employment. The
salary is supplemented by a holiday allowance of 8% per year and a year-end
bonus of 8.3%. Applicants from abroad can apply for a 30% tax reduction.

Utrecht University offers a pension scheme, a contribution
to commuting expenses, collective insurance schemes, and
flexible employment conditions
(multiple choice model). There are several options to adjust your employment
conditions to your personal situation. Facilities for child care and sports are
available on our campus, which is only 15 minutes away from the historical city
center of Utrecht. More information can be found in the
of employment

the organization

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates
our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At
Utrecht University, various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major
societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies,
Life Sciences and Sustainability.

The Faculty of Geosciences at Utrecht University
offers a unique environment to study societal challenge as it combines
knowledge on energy efficiency, economics, energy policy, behavioral sciences,
innovation systems, and knowledge on (sustainable) urban development. The
Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning has its focus on the enhancement
of long-term economic developments of cities, how to cope with social inequalities
and how to ensure a healthy urban living. Research on these topics takes place
within our research program “Urban Futures: Transitions Towards Economic and
Social Sustainability for Cities”.

Our research program is the basis for our research
masters Human Geography and Geographical Information Management and
Applications and professional masters in Human Geography, International
Development Studies and Spatial Planning. The department runs also a large and
highly appreciated bachelors program and is part of the Netherlands Graduate
School of Urban and Regional Research for PhD candidates. Unique
characteristics of the department are a special team focusing on innovations
within teaching methods and a center of expertise which brings the knowledge
from fundamental research outside our university by educational programs for
high school teachers and professional consultancy for public partners.

The city of Utrecht is one of the oldest cities in the
Netherlands, with a charming old center and an internationally oriented culture
that is strongly influenced by its century-old university. Utrecht city has
been consistently ranked as one of the most livable cities in the Netherlands.

Candidate’s Qualifications (who should apply)

We are looking for passionate and motivated
postdoctoral researchers, who

  • Have a PhD either in health science, geographic
    information science, geography, or related disciplines by the time of
  • Have proven interest in and enthusiasm about the
    outlined research topics and methods;
  • Have a strong research profile documented through
    high-quality publications;
  • Are team players who can conduct academic research
    independently at the highest level;
  • Are proficient in both spoken and written English and
    have excellent communication skills;
  • Are well versed in quantitative data analytics (e.g., in
    R) and geographic information systems;
  • Have excellent knowledge in conducting a survey and ideally
    knowing the Dutch language (for the depression study);
  • Have, desirably, experience in project acquisition and
    proposal writing;
  • Have the willingness to teach for 10% of their time
    (e.g., mentoring graduate students).

 If this profile suits you, we encourage you to apply
and are looking forward to meeting you.

How to Apply

Your application must contain the following documents:

  • A cover letter (max. 2 pages) describing your
    motivation for one of the positions, how your experience is relevant for the
    project and how you contribute to the project;
  • Your curriculum vitae including the names and
    addresses of two referees who we may contact;
  • A complete list of publications;
  • A writing sample of a selected publication.

will be accepted until May 1, 2017.
Interviews will be conducted
mid-May 2017. The intended starting date is October 1, 2017 (an earlier or
later starting date may be negotiated). You can apply via



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