PhD Candidate: Prospective Longitudinal Cohort Study Children With Visual Impairments Radboud University, Faculty of Social Sciences Netherlands

PhD Candidate: Prospective Longitudinal Cohort Study Children With Visual Impairments 


Faculty of Social Sciences 

Vacancy number: 24.46.18 

Application deadline: 9 December 2018



Children and young adolescents with visual impairments form a small heterogeneous group of children with special needs. To offer the best possible education, care and guidance, professionals preferably use evidence-based treatments. A prerequisite is that professionals possess the right theoretical and practical knowledge of the development of children with visual impairments. Much of our knowledge is still limited, partly outdated and sometimes incorrect, and the development and well-being of siblings and parents are largely unknown. 

This PhD project, a prospective longitudinal cohort study of children and adolescents with visual impairments and their parents and siblings, will be set up to find key factors that should be taken into account in education and intervention. Some children and youngsters with visual impairments develop well, others do not. We want to find out which factors determine development and well-being. 

A few example questions are:

  • Which spontaneous behavioural adaptations do adults make, deliberately or indeliberately, when dealing with children with visual impairments?

  • To which extent are spurts, delays or typical or atypical paths found in the development of children and adolescents with visual impairment?

  • What is the well-being of children with a visual impairment and their family members?

  • What are the differences and similarities between children with the same visual disorder or syndrome?

The goal of the project is to generate longitudinal data that can be used to improve early intervention, treatment and guidance of children and adolescents with visual impairments and their family members by making an up-to-date description of developmental paths of children and youngsters with a visual impairment. The project takes somatic, psychologic and social factors into account, as is usual in biopsychosocial models of development in health care and in the ICF-CY framework that is generally used by rehabilitation centres for people with visual impairments.


Work environment

You will work within the Learning and Plasticity programme of the Behavioural Science Institute (BSI) at Radboud University (Nijmegen, Netherlands). This programme deals with the micro-analysis of learning and cognitive plasticity. The main focus of this programme is on the learning and development of communication and cognition in normal and atypical populations. Intervention studies involving individuals with a variety of disorders as well as those at risk will also be conducted to yield a better understanding of the dynamic factors that can prevent or remediate learning problems. 

The BSI is one of the research institutes of the Faculty of Social Sciences. Its mission is to conduct top-level research on human behaviour. In addition to its fundamental aim (to understand behaviour), the BSI aims at societal relevance (to influence behaviour). The BSI Graduate School, which is officially recognised by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), is responsible for the training and supervision of the institute’s PhD candidates. The BSI has state-of-the-art research facilities for observational studies, experiments, eye-tracking studies, EEG measurements and GSR recording, psychobiological research, and behavioural measurements in both real and 3D virtual environments. 

The work will be done in close collaboration with Dr Sabina Kef of the Department of Clinical Child and Family Studies of the Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. This department studies children’s well-being and mental health in relation to the quality of the relationships with caregivers and peers. How this works, is still partly unknown. The central mission is to contribute to these relationships, especially for children and families who are marginalised, stigmatized, at risk, or face mental or physical health problems. The scientific staff contribute to research and theory on various aspects, including parenting, attachment, family relationships, self-regulation, social cognitions, and the interplay between individual and environmental factors.


What we expect from you

  • a Research Master or Master degree in psychology, pedagogy/remedial education, neuropsychology, rehabilitation psychology, cognitive or experimental psychology, clinical psychology, or a related field;

  • broad experience with (experimental) research, good methodological and analytical qualities, and experience with collecting and analysing data (R, SPSS);

  • a good proficiency in written and spoken English and Dutch;

  • experience and/or affinity with children and adolescents with disabilities, preferably children with visual impairment;

  • preferably experience with longitudinal studies, video recording and video analysis software;

  • a clear interest in psychosocial development and family processes in young children and adolescents;

  • organisational talent, accompanied by independence and perseverance;

  • good social skills in contacts with children, parents, teachers and colleagues.


What we have to offer

  • employment: 0.8 - 1.0 FTE;

  • the gross monthly starting salary in the first year amounts to €2,266, based on a 38-hour working week, and will increase to €2,897 in the fourth and fifth year (salary scale P);

  • in addition to the salary: an 8% holiday allowance and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus;

  • duration of the contract: 4 years (1.0 FTE) or 5 years (0.8 FTE) ;

  • you will be appointed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (0.8 FTE) or 3.5 years (1.0 FTE);

  • as part of the contract, you will participate in teaching for approximately 10% of your work time;

  • you will be stationed in Nijmegen. As part of the collaboration with VU University Amsterdam parts of the research can be done at that university;

  • you will be classified as a PhD Candidate (Promovendus) in the Dutch university job-ranking system (UFO);

  • you will be able to make use of our Dual Career Service where our Dual Career Officer will assist with family related support, such as child care, and help your partner prepare for the local labour market and with finding an occupation.


Are you interested in our excellent employment conditions?


Other Information

Intended start date: 1 February 2019. This research is financially supported by a grant of the ‘Stichting tot verbetering van het lot der blinden’ (Dutch Foundation for the Improvement of the Fate of the Blind) .


Would you like to know more?

Further information on: Behavioural Science Institute 
Further information on: Movement in Sight 
Further information on: Educational and Family Studies Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam


For more information about this vacancy, please contact: 
Dr. Mathijs Vervloed, Associate Professor of Radboud University
Telephone: +31 24 3616047


Dr. Sabina Kef
Telephone: +31 20 5988895


Are you interested?


You should upload your application (attn. of dr. Mathijs Vervloed) exclusively using the button 'Apply' below. Your application should include (and be limited to) the following attachment(s):

  • Motivation Letter, please mention whether you are in the possession of a driving license

  • CV

  • Proof of proficiency in English and Dutch (Cambridge certificate, TOEFL or IELTS score)


The first round of interviews will take place on 17 December 2018. 
The second round of interviews will take place on 20 December 2018.

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