Two PhD positions on identity and autonomy in adolescence Utrecht University, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences Netherlands

Two PhD positions on identity and autonomy in adolescence 


Job description

The Department of Education and Pedagogical Science, division Youth and Family, has two vacancies for PhD students on the project Development of Adolescent Identity and Autonomy during Transitional Periods: Putting the Individual Back into Development (INTRANSTION). The INTRANSITION project has been funded by an ERC Consolidator grant. You will be part of a larger project team, containing the principle investigator, three PhD candidates, two postdocs and a number of student assistants.


Adolescents need to develop their identity and autonomy whilst also remaining highly connected to parents and friends. Identity develops through interactions with parents and friends and is important for adolescents’ relational functioning and societal participation. This project examines how identity and autonomy are formed in daily interactions with parents and friends, during transitions from childhood to adolescence and from adolescence to emerging adulthood. The INTRANSITION project aims to examine how development of identity and autonomy affect each other during adolescence. The project will examine intra-individual (or within-person, as opposed to inter-individual or between-person) processes of change in identity and autonomy. Three cohorts of adolescents will be followed for two years during important transitional periods: one cohort that transitions from elementary to secondary education and two cohorts that transition from secondary to tertiary education (in different school levels). Data will be collected on moment-to-moment behaviour during interactions with parents and friends, relational experiences across hours and days, and long-term development. One PhD candidate will focus on the transition from elementary to secondary education and the second PhD candidate will focus on the transition from secondary to tertiary education.


The candidate will contribute to the collection of data. In addition, the candidate is expected to disseminate the knowledge gained from the project through publishing five research articles in international research journals, the dissertation and presenting results at international and national conferences.

The candidate will be a part of the local PhD Programme of the Utrecht Centre for Child and Adolescent Studies (UC-CAS) within the Utrecht Graduate School of Social and Behavioural Sciences (UGSSBS). The candidate will also be expected to follow advanced graduate courses as deemed necessary including advanced statistics and methodology courses offered by UU-CAS training and education programme. The candidate will also be expected to spend 10% of his/her time providing teaching assistance at undergraduate level.



We are looking for motivated candidates who have:

  • affinity with psychosocial development and relationships during adolescence;
  • a Research Master's degree or equivalent in Child and Adolescent Studies, (Developmental) Psychology or a related discipline in Social Sciences;
  • excellent research and writing skills, experience using longitudinal statistical methodology and knowledge of adolescent development;
  • a good written and oral command of the English language;
  • good social skills and affinity with data collection.



We offer a temporary position from September 1st for 1 year with an extent of 0.8 or 1.0 FTE. Upon a positive performance the appointment will be extended with a period of 3 or 4 years. The gross salary is €2,222 in the first year and is expected to increase to €2,840 (scale P Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) gross per month for a full-time employment in the fourth year, contingent on satisfactory performance. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8 % and a year-end bonus of 8.3 % per year. We offer a pension scheme, (partly paid) parental leave, collective insurance schemes and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). More information is available at: working at Utrecht University.

About the organization

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

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 liveable cities in the Netherlands.


The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences is one of the leading faculties in Europe providing research and academic teaching in cultural anthropology, educational sciences, interdisciplinary social science, pedagogical sciences, psychology, and sociology. Research and teaching activities are concentrated in five areas: Behaviour in Social Contexts, Child and Adolescent Studies, Cognitive and Clinical Psychology, Education and Learning and Methodology and Statistics.

More than 5,600 students are enrolled in a broad range of undergraduate and graduate programmes. The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has some 850 faculty and staff members, all providing their individual contribution to the training and education of young talent and to the research into and finding solutions for scientific and societal issues.

The Department of Youth and Family, and its research programme Adolescent Development are part of of the local PhD programme of the Utrecht Centre for Child and Adolescent Studies (UC-CAS) within the Utrecht Graduate School of Social and Behavioural Sciences (UGSSBS).

Additional information

A full description of the project and additional information about the vacancy can be obtained from Prof dr S. Branje, telephone number + 31 30 253 40 39 or


Please upload a motivation letter, a curriculum vitae and contact information of at least two referees.


You can apply by using the button below.

The application deadline is


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