Two PhD positions at The Department of Social Medicine

Maastricht University


July 9, 2021


Job description

The Department of Social Medicine, Maastricht University, is looking for two enthusiastic and highly motivated PhD students a 4-year funded PhD position in the field of socioeconomic inequalities in health. You will be part of the project “Inequities in type 2 diabetes: the role of environmental injustice and chronic stress” which has been funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO).

People in lower socioeconomic positions have heightened risks of type 2 diabetes (T2D). Instead of focusing on individual health behaviours (e.g. unhealthy diets), the project aims to describe how socioeconomic inequities extend to inequities in the exposome. People are differentially exposed to unhealthy residential (e.g. amount of green space), work (e.g. job control), and societal (e.g. classism) environments. Such environmental injustice is hypothesised to result in perceptions of powerlessness and inferiority, which contribute to a chronic stress-induced heightened risk of T2D in people with lower socioeconomic positions.

The project will make extensive use of Maastricht Study data (https: // www. GECCO will help in providing residential data. The Living Lab Public Health and the Living Lab Social Insurance will help in translating the findings into (policy) recommendations, together with stakeholders from the health care sector, work associations, and policy makers.

Both PhD students will study whether and how environments influence T2D. There is continuous attention to how the various “unhealthy” environments cluster and cumulate in their negative effect, to how these associations contribute to the socioeconomic inequities in T2D, and to how chronic stress is implicated, also in comparison with people's lifestyles.

PhD student 1 (1 fte) will foremost focus on the influence of the residential environment on T2D.

PhD student 2 (1 fte) will foremost focus on the influence of the work environment and classism on T2D.

Both PhD students will also need to help in data collection in the Maastricht Study.

The successful candidates will be working within the department of Social Medicine of the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences of Maastricht University under the supervision of Prof. dr. Hans Bosma (Professor of Social Epidemiology) and Dr. ir. Annemarie Koster (Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Physical Activity). There is a project team involving experts from various fields related to the topic of the project, including two Living Labs. Opportunities for networking, acquiring and developing knowledge and skills, and room for self-initiatives will be available.


  • You have (or will have) a master's degree in social sciences (sociology, psychology), health sciences, epidemiology, public health or a related discipline with a substantial component of quantitative research training or relevant research experience.
  • You are enthusiastic and like to work in an (inter)national context.
  • You have an interest and understanding of socioeconomic inequalities in health and/or psychosocial determinants of health.
  • You are able to function well in a multidisciplinary project.
  • You have excellent writing and speaking skills and preferably have earlier published publications.
  • You are able to work independently, to take initiatives and capable of managing deadlines.
  • You have good communication skills.
  • ,

    Conditions of employment

    Fixed-term contract: 1 +3 years.

    We offer a full-time employment contract as a PhD candidate. The employment contract will be for a period of 1 year and will be extended for another 3 years after positive evaluation.

    The salary will be set in scale P (between € 2.395 and € 3.061 gross per month) On top of this, there is an 8% holiday and an 8.3% year-end allowance.

    The terms of employment of Maastricht University are set out in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local UM provisions also apply. For more information look at the website https:// www. > Support > UM employees.


    Employer Maastricht University

    Maastricht University is renowned for its unique, innovative, problem-based learning system, which is characterized by a small-scale and student-oriented approach. Research at UM is characterized by a multidisciplinary and thematic approach, and is concentrated in research institutes and schools. Maastricht University has around 20,000 students and 4,700 employees. Reflecting the university's strong international profile, a fair amount of both students and staff are from abroad. The university hosts 6 faculties: Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Faculty of Law, School of Business and Economics, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience.


    Department Social Medicine

    Through both research and teaching, the mission of the department of Social Medicine is to contribute to the body of knowledge on the interrelations between health and social participation, across the different stages of life, and to strengthen both practice-based research and evidence-based practice (https: //

    The department is part of the School Caphri (Care and Public Health Research Institute) of the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences (https: // www. health-research-institute) .

    The Social Medicine department is closely affiliated with the Maastricht Study (https: // www. The Maastricht Study is an extensive phenotyping study that focuses on the etiology of type 2 diabetes, its classic complications (cardiovascular disease, nephropathy, neuropathy and retinopathy), and its emerging comorbidities, including cognitive decline, depression, and gastrointestinal, respiratory and musculoskeletal diseases. The study uses advanced state-of-the-art imaging techniques and extensive biobanking to determine health status in a population-based cohort of 10,000 individuals that is enriched with type 2 diabetes participants.


    Additional information

    For more information, feel free to contact Hans Bosma ( or Annemarie Koster (

    An assessment will take place at the final stage of the selection procedure. The aim here is that both the assessment committee, as well as the applicant, together are able to ensure a well-informed deliberation in order to commence the PhD trajectory.

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