Job Properties
  • Job Type
    Full-time Position
  • Category
    Software & Information Technology
  • Languages
  • Experience Required
  • Degree Required
    • Province
    • Date Posted
      September 10,2022
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    PhD for the research project “Optimal Organization of Youth...

    Mental health problems in childhood and adolescence can have long-term consequences. Prevention and early intervention are important, which makes access to good quality mental healthcare essential. Decentralization of youth mental healthcare in the Netherlands was supposed to incentivize municipalities to focus on prevention, early detection, and early intervention. As each municipality has the possibility to organize and purchase youth care in their own way, it is likely that there is variation between (groups of) municipalities in contracting, reimbursement, pricing, and other requirements to providers. Each way of purchasing care may have (unintended) implications.

    First, in this research project, the PhD student will study whether current ways of purchasing care elicit provider responses, such as responses to (perverse) financial incentives, and what the effects of these responses are on treatment and outcomes of children and adolescents with mental health problems. Second, the PhD student will investigate the impact of having a small number of contracted providers in a municipality on treatment and outcomes of children and adolescents with mental health problems, for instance as a result of market power. To study these research questions, the PhD student will use observational data and econometric techniques.

    Research activities
    The research activities in this PhD project will be:
    1. To write a detailed research proposal that fits within the project description, outlining the societal and scientific relevance of the project as well as the steps and research required to successfully complete the PhD project;
    2. Map the different purchasing schemes that exist within youth mental healthcare in the Netherlands and hypothesize which of these might lead to different provider responses that can be reliably investigated;
    3. Investigate the causal relationships between the selected purchasing schemes and the mental healthcare received by children and adolescents using (large) administrative datasets or survey data and appropriate econometric techniques, such as difference-in-difference estimation or regression discontinuity designs;
    4. Investigate the degree of competition among youth mental healthcare providers;
    5. Investigate the (causal) relationship between the degree of competition in the youth mental-healthcare market and the mental healthcare received by children and adolescents;
    6. Investigate the effect of differences in youth mental healthcare caused by different purchasing schemes or market concentration on relevant health- and socioeconomic outcomes for the affected children and adolescents.
    7. Disseminating research outcomes, including writing reports, scientific publications and presentations at scientific conferences.

    The supervision team consists of dr. Danielle Jansen (University Medical Center Groningen, Department of General Practice and Elderly Care Medicine and Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences, Department of Sociology), dr. Hermien Dijk (Faculty of Economics and Business, Department of Economics, Econometrics and Finance) and prof. Gerard van den Berg (Faculty of Economics and Business, Department of Economics, Econometrics and Finance and University Medical Center Groningen, Department of Epidemiology).

    The PhD student will be employed at the Faculty of Economics and Business and enrolled in the Graduate School of Economics & Business and will attend research meetings and other activities at all three faculties.


    The PhD student is expected to:

    • have a relevant master’s degree in the social or health sciences (economics, sociology, psychology, finance, epidemiology, bioinformatics, statistics or a similar discipline)
    • have strong quantitative research skills, for example, illustrated by previous experience with the application of econometric techniques
    • have an affinity with, or strong interest in, child and adolescent mental healthcare
    • have an interdisciplinary background, or affinity with working in an interdisciplinary team
    • be able to show perseverance, flexibility, project management and collaboration skills
    • be fluent in English (both oral and written)
    • enjoy planning and taking initiatives
    • enjoy academic writing and have the desire to publish. Having previous experience with writing academically is appreciated
    • be able and willing to work in Groningen, in an international and interdisciplinary environment.


    The University of Groningen, founded in 1614, has an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative centre of higher education, offering high-quality teaching and research. Balanced study and career paths in a wide variety of disciplines encourage 36,000 students and researchers to develop their individual talents. Belonging to the best research universities in Europe and joining forces with prestigious partner universities and networks, the University of Groningen is truly an international place of knowledge.

    Faculty of Economics and Business
    The Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB) provides an inspiring study and working environment for students and employees. International accreditation reflects the faculty’s performance at the highest standards. FEB’s programmes, academic staff and research do well on various excellence ranking lists. The Department of Economics, Econometrics and Finance provides an excellent and challenging environment for research and study. Researchers in the Department specialize in microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics, health economics, economic history, dividend policy, capital structure, corporate governance, portfolio management, valuation, banking, corporate social responsibility, microfinance, and investments.

    Faculty of Medical Sciences
    The Faculty of Medical Sciences is located at the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG). The UMCG is one of the Netherlands’ eight university medical centers and the largest employer in the Northern Netherlands. It has an ambitious, dynamic, international environment with state-of-the-art facilities. More than 13.000 employees provide patient care, are involved in medical education and perform cutting edge scientific research with focus on healthy ageing. The Department of General Practice & Elderly Care Medicine of the UMCG contains over 200 enthusiastic and committed employees. Besides student education and the three-year training to become a general practitioner, the department also conducts scientific research in general practice, elderly care medicine and midwifery, and provides patient care in the Academic General Practice Groningen.

    Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health
    This project is part of the Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health (AJSPH). The Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health is a joint partnership of the University of Groningen, UMCG, the Hanze University of Applied Sciences and NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences. The AJSPH is a network of researchers and partners with one single goal: more healthy years. Rooted in fundamental research, the AJSPH actively conveys their knowledge and expertise through education, consultancy and integral collaborations. They aim to act both locally and regionally, with the ultimate ambition to create impact on a global scale.

    Conditions of employment

    We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

    • a salary of € 2,541 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,247 gross per month in the fourth and final year,
    • a full-time position (1.0 FTE)
    • a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
    • an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance
    • minimum of 29 holidays and additional 12 holidays in case of full-time employment.

    The full-time appointment is temporary for a period of in principle four years, under the condition of a positive assessment at the end of the first year.

    Starting date: preferably January 1, 2023


    Do you meet our criteria? If yes, your application should include:

    The application package consists of the following separate documents:

    1. a motivation letter
    3. your CV
    4. a scan of your diploma including transcripts
    5. other relevant documents.

    The documents 1-4 are compulsory and please note that incomplete application packages or applications sent by email will not be taken into account.

    You can submit your application not later than 21 September 2022, 24.00 hrs Dutch local time (CET) at the latest by means of the application form (click on “Apply” below on the advertisement on the university website).

    An assessment may be part of the application procedure, consisting of psychological tests and an interview.

    The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage:

    Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers:

    We provide career services for partners of new faculty members moving to Groningen.

    Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.


    For information you can contact:

    • SOM, for general information on the application procedure, somvacancies
    • Hermien Dijk, for information on the content, h.h.dijk

    Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.

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