PhD on ‘Economic Crises, Health and Mortality across Europe’

Closing Date: 
Monday, April 29, 2019

PhD on ‘Economic Crises, Health and Mortality across Europe’ (1.0 fte).

Organisation The Demography Department of the Faculty of Spatial Sciences at the University of Groningen is looking for a PhD researcher on the topic ‘Economic Crises, Health and Mortality across Europe’.

 Since its foundation in 1614, the University of Groningen has enjoyed 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 the 28,000 students and researchers to develop their own 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.

The Faculty of Spatial Sciences consists of approximately 100 members of staff, 100 PhD students and around 1000 undergraduate students. We focus on high quality teaching and research in the fields of social and economic geography, demography, and spatial planning. With a single collective research theme of 'towards Wellbeing, Innovation and Spatial Transformation' (tWIST), it is our mission to produce research which is world-leading, distinctive, and policy-relevant. With two Bachelor and eight Master programmes, we provide a wide range of courses within the fields of geography and spatial sciences.

 The PhD researcher will be based in the Department of Demography / Population Research Centre (PRC). The Department of Demography offers teaching and training at different levels, among which the Master in Population Studies. The Population Research Centre (PRC), is an internationally oriented demographic research and training institute. The PhD topic ‘Economic Crises, Health and Mortality across Europe’ is part of the research programme “Population and Mortality Health”. Prof. dr. Fanny Janssen (promotor) and dr. Tobias Vogt (co-promotor) will supervise the PhD trajectory. We are an active member within the Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health (University of Groningen and University Medical Centre Groningen). We closely collaborate with the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute in The Hague. Moreover, we participate – together with nine key demographic/public health institutes in Europe and the USA – in the International Max Planck Research School for Population, Health and Data Science (IMPRS-PHDS), hosted by the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock (Germany).

Project Description

 Since the 1990s, European societies were exposed to different economic crises. Central and eastern European countries faced a severe increase in unemployment and economic insecurity during the transformation years in the 1990s. Likewise, countries in Southern Europe were challenged by economic and financial crisis in the 2010s.

 Economic recessions or crises can be perceived as external shocks that have a major impact on societies and individuals. Increasing unemployment, declining quality of social services or curtailing of welfare benefits may be the result of economic downturns. These changes in the wider economic and social environment individuals may lead to an adaption of health behaviours which eventually affects health at the individual and population level.

The central objective of the PhD project is the study of individual and population level health consequences of economic crises in Europe. Using demographic and public health methods, the PhD researcher will investigate mortality levels and trends across different populations in Europe and how they are affected by economic crises. Additionally, the PhD researcher will follow an individual level approach to analyze if exposure to economic crises during different periods of the life course affects long term physical and cognitive health.

The PhD thesis will consist of a minimum of 4 first-authored articles in international scientific journals, an introduction and a discussion, and will be written in English. Presentations at (inter)national conferences are part of the job as well. Teaching will take up 15% of your time.

Conditions of employment

In accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, the University of Groningen offers a salary of € 2,325 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 2,835 gross per month, based on a full-time position (1.0 FTE). This is excluding a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income and an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance.

The appointment of the PhD researcher is with the Faculty of Spatial Sciences at the University of Groningen. As such, the PhD researcher will be admitted to the Graduate School of the Faculty of Spatial Sciences, and a PhD trainings program is part of the agreement.

We expect the PhD researcher to start – the latest - September 1, 2019.

Students not previously or currently enrolled in the European Doctoral School of Demography (EDSD) are expected to enroll their first PhD year in the EDSD. As part of the PhD trajectory, the PhD student is also expected to enroll for three years within the International Max Planck Research School for Population, Health and Data Science (IMPRS-PHDS), which was established this year.


We are looking for a candidate with:

•a (Research) Master’s degree in a field of study relevant to the topic of “Economic crises and individual/population health” (e.g. population studies, demography, geography, epidemiology, public health, economics), to be completed before 1 September 2019; •excellent study results and CV;
•good writing skills and fluency in English; preferably experience in academic writing; •previous experience or proven interest in the research field of health/mortality in Europe; •strong conceptual thinking with the desire and capacity to relate theoretical topics to practical challenges and solutions;
•strong motivation, good communicative skills, proactive and independent work. We are looking for a candidate with the following competences:
•conceptual capacity & abstract reasoning
•communicative skills (presenting)
•planning & organizing

•drive & enthusiasm

Students previously or currently enrolled in the European Doctoral School of Demography (EDSD) are especially encouraged to apply for the position. ProcedureYou may apply for this position up until April 22, 2019 by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university's website).

Please submit the following information:

-a motivation letter (no more than 1 page, in English)

-a curriculum vitae (including a list of publications if any)

-a copy of your Master diploma and transcripts -the contact details of two referees whom we might contact for a recommendation

Interviews will take place May 20 and May 21, 2019. Information A more detailed project description can be obtained from the secretaries of the Demography Department,

Further information about the project that cannot be derived from the project description can be obtained from dr. Tobias Vogt, is not appreciated. 

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