Postdoctoral Researcher for the project ‘Sociochemistry of Stress communication | Utrecht University

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Postdoctoral Researcher for the project ‘Sociochemistry of Stress communication’ (1.0 FTE)


The Department of Psychology has a job opening for a Postdoctoral Researcher to work on the project “Sociochemistry of stress communication”. Social communication research has traditionally focused on verbal and nonverbal communication involving language and vision, but we have found that the sense of smell (olfaction) plays an important role as well. Humans can, for example, smell fear on others. This implies that emotional states are transmitted from one person to another via body odor and are picked up by the sense of smell. In this project we intend to investigate the underlying mechanisms of chemosensory perception of stress, by focusing on the biochemical and psychological aspects involved in transmission and perception of body odor. We are looking for a highly motivated postdoc to strengthen our team. The project will have a fundamental as well as an applied research focus. The project is part-funded via industry and hence involves collaboration with public and private partners. This project is aligned with UU focus areas Human Centered AI and Applied Data Science, and falls within the domain of Sensory Systems in Social Context and Social Cognition and Goal-oriented behavior in the department of Social-, Health and Organizational Psychology.

The post-doc will manage international research projects working closely with industry and academic partners to investigate the process of sociochemical communication of stress for applied purposes in the interest of improving wellbeing. The postdoc will prepare studies, coordinate between the partners, manage and participate in data-collection, conduct and oversee data-analyses, present results and write reports and publications. Some of the envisioned projects require state-of-the-art methodology, and the ability to creative thinking towards solutions. The vacant position includes some educational tasks within the Department of Psychology (0.2 FTE).

The position involves 80% research activities and 20% educational tasks within the Department of Psychology.
The core tasks include:

  • designing studies and developing methods as part of a team of scientists;
  • managing studies between the partners;
  • overseeing and participating in data collection;
  • overseeing and participating in data-analyses;
  • presenting project updates to a variety of audiences;
  • writing of reports and scientific publications as part of a team;
  • participating in team meetings;
  • teaching tasks may include teaching on bachelor and master-level courses.


We are looking for a Researcher with a PhD in experimental/cognitive psychology or neuroscience/social psychology or (neuro)science, who has an interest in working at the interface of academia and industry R&D to enable application of scientific insights with speed.
Furthermore your suitability is ideally exemplified by:

  • strong management, organizational and team skills;
  • background or interest in perception, in particular human olfaction;
  • keen interest in multidisciplinary research, in particular the biosciences;
  • demonstrated programming ability in languages such as R, Matlab;
  • \broad expertise in psychophysiological measurement;
  • creativity in setting up and managing experiments;
  • advanced statistical skills;
  • good command of English language;
  • demonstrated academic writing skills;
  • interest to work with public and private partners;
  • some experience in teaching in higher education.


We offer a temporary position (1.0 FTE) for three years (annual contract with renewal for two years). The gross salary starts at €3,746 (scale 11 according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year. In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions externe link (multiple choice model). More information about working at Utrecht University externe linkcan be found here.

Over de organisatie

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University externe link, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability. Utrecht is a young and vibrant city with a large academic population, around 30 minutes south of Amsterdam. It combines a beautiful old city centre with a modern university. Utrecht has an excellent quality of life, with plenty of green space and a strong bicycle culture.

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences is one of the leading faculties in Europe providing research and academic teaching in cultural anthropology, educational sciences, interdisciplinary social science, pedagogical sciences, psychology, and sociology. Almost 6,000 students are enrolled in a broad range of undergraduate and graduate programmes. The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has about 850 faculty and staff members, all providing their individual contribution to the training and education of young talent and to the research into and finding solutions for scientific and societal issues.

The Psychology department is one of the oldest and largest in the Netherlands, conducting research on and teaching a wide array of sociological themes, such as social inequality, crime, migration and integration, social networks, policy and organization, cooperative relationships, families and work.

Aanvullende informatie

We aim to be able to fill the position by 1 August 2021. Interviews are scheduled for 30 April. For additional information, please contact by email Brenda Wiefferink, via externe link (for procedural matters) or prof. Dr. Monique Smeets, via externe link(regarding the content of the vacancy).


Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. You can apply by using this link to the vacaturesite. Please upload a motivation letter and your curriculum vitae and the name and contact info of at least two professional references.

Please note: Due to the current situation regarding COVID-19, the process of selection and interviews may take place online.

Uiterlijk reageren op 16 april 2021.

Publicatie datum:

31 Mar 2021




Melek    Usta
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