PhD position in meta-research: The effectiveness of interventions to improve psychological science

Tilburg University
March 27, 2023
Offerd Salary:€2.541
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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Tilburg University Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences is looking for a PhD position in meta-research: The effectiveness of interventions to improve psychological science

Department : Methodology and Statistics Location : Tilburg Full-time equivalent : 1.0 FTE (40 hours per week) Monthly full-time gross salary : €2.541 (first year) - €3.247 (fourth year) Duration of employment contract : 12 and 36 months

We are looking for an ambitious PhD candidate who is driven by the motivation to improve science, and is not afraid of a challenge!

Your position In this PhD project, you will empirically assess the effectiveness of proposed/implemented interventions in the publication system to improve robustness of psychological science. You will study whether the intended effect(s) is/are achieved, but also whether there are any positive or negative side-effects (e.g., can researchers “game” the system? How does the intervention affect diversity and inclusion?). A rough outline of the project would entail: Project 1: Conduct a systematic review of the current proposed/implemented interventions to improve reproducibility and replicability of psychological research findings. Project 2: Conduct retrospective observational studies comparing papers that were or weren't subject to certain interventions. This can include comparisons of different research fields where different best practices are the norm. Project 3: Implement a randomized controlled trial to directly test the effect of certain interventions at the study or journal level on reproducibility and replicability.

You are encouraged to make this research your own, by choosing your own specific focus and project implementations.

Research context You will work under direct supervision of dr. Michèle Nuijten and prof. dr. Jelte Wicherts. You will be part of the Meta-Research Center (https: //, a renowned research group working on a variety of topics within meta-research in psychology (i.e. publication bias, meta- analysis, causal inference, p-hacking, preregistration, qualitative research). You will have ample opportunity to collaborate within the research group, and you are encouraged to seek collaborations outside the Meta-Research Center as well. Your findings on the effectiveness of interventions to improve psychological science can have direct impact on the field. You are encouraged to actively share your findings and recommendations through scientific papers and conferences, but also through channels such as blog posts, social media, and news outlets. We welcome active discussion and invite criticism on our work. We strongly value open science: among other things, we encourage preregistration, sharing of data and materials, and we facilitate open access publication. Beside research, you will also contribute to the teaching tasks within the department.

Background The past 10 years have been a time of reflection for psychology. Many key findings could not be replicated, which led to the question: how trustworthy is psychological research? Research from the last decade has pointed to a combination of publication pressure and publication bias, questionable research practices, and lack of transparency (among other things) as the cause for this “replication crisis”. We are now at the point where we can shift our focus to solutions: can we implement interventions that make research findings in psychology more reproducible and replicable? Many interventions have been suggested already in various contexts: training (of students and researchers), recognition and rewards, funding, and more. In this project we will focus on interventions in the publication system (e.g., preregistration, open science badges, TOP guidelines, statistical checks). It is encouraging to see the growing list of initiatives, but we need more empirical research to assess which interventions actually work.

Your qualifications We have the following requirements:

  • A (nearly finished) (Research) Master's degree in psychology or a related field
  • A strong background in methodology and statistics
  • Experience with programming
  • Tilburg University is an international university, firmly rooted in the region and therefore bilingual. We expect our employees to meet the language level appropriate for the position. For academics, an excellent command of English is required: CEFR level C2.
  • In addition, we value curiosity and creative thinking. Many proposed interventions still fall neatly within the current academic system and publication framework. It is possible that effective interventions fall outside these confinements. You are encouraged to take this possibility into account in your work and challenge your supervisors with new ideas, theories, methods, and tools.

    Our offer This is a position for 1.0 FTE (40 hours per week) of the full-time working week. The salary amounts to a minimum of €2.541 and a maximum of €3.247 gross per month for full time employment contract, based on UFO profile PhD student and salary scale number PhD's of the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. Tilburg University uses a neutral salary system for scaling that is based on relevant education and work experience. You are entitled to a vacation allowance of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% of your gross annual income. If you work 40 hours per week, you will receive 41 paid days of leave per year. Tilburg University offers excellent employment conditions. We think flexibility, professional and personal development, and good employee benefits important. We make clear agreements about career paths and offer all kinds of facilities and schemes to maintain an optimal balance between work and private life. You can also follow numerous training courses, for example in the areas of leadership skills, personal effectiveness, and career development. Tilburg University values an open and inclusive culture. We embrace diversity and encourage the mutual integration of groups of employees and students. We focus on creating equal opportunities for all our employees and students, so that everyone feels at home in our university community. Tilburg University has a lively campus in beautiful green surroundings that is easily accessible by public transport. We are committed to a sustainable society and challenge you to make an active contribution. Please visit working at Tilburg University for more information on our terms of employment.

    Information and application More information about the vacancy can be obtained from dr. Michèle Nuijten via [email protected]

    We invite you to apply for this position before April 7th 2023; this can only be done online. Please address your motivation letter to dr. Michèle Nuijten ([email protected]) and attach a CV and at least one reference (organization, contact person, phone number, and e-mail address). We will only approach referees for candidates who proceed to the second selection round.

    Letter selection will take place on April 11th; you will receive notification from us shortly thereafter. You will ideally start working for Tilburg University on September 1st, 2023, but there is some flexibility possible around this date.

    This vacancy has been published internally and externally simultaneously. In case of equal suitability, our preference will go to an internal candidate.

    About Tilburg University

    Serving society and making it better for its citizens. That is what drives us. Tilburg University's founder, Martinus Cobbenhagen, believed that anyone who wants to understand society must be actively and consciously involved in it. These ideas still form the basis of our university.

    Under the motto Understanding society, our more than 2,800 employees develop and transfer knowledge and bring people from different disciplines and organizations together. In this way, we want to contribute to solving complex social issues. In doing so, we work from the fields of economics, business and entrepreneurship, social and behavioral sciences, law and administration, humanities and digital sciences, and theology.

    We educate our 20,000 students of 132 nationalities to become Tilburg University Shaped Professionals: responsible and entrepreneurial thinkers, driven by solidarity, a sense of responsibility and empathy, who are able to influence and give direction to a rapidly changing society in an innovative way.

    Recruitment code Tilburg University applies the recruitmentcode of the Dutch Association for Personnel Management & Organization Development (NVP).

    Disclaimer The text of this vacancy advertisement is copyright-protected property of Tilburg University. Use, distribution and further disclosure of the advertisement without express permission from Tilburg University is not allowed, and this applies explicitly to use by recruitment and selection agencies which do not act directly on the instructions of Tilburg University. Responses resulting from recruitment by non-contractors of Tilburg Universities will not be handled.

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