PhD position Privacy and Persuasion in Online Social Network Campaigns

Erasmus University Rotterdam
Job Vacancy
Communication and Media
Required language
Dutch, English


PhD position Privacy and Persuasion in Online Social Network Campaigns

Obtain a PhD in Behavioural Science while being part of the innovative team-science project “SocialMovez: Effective and responsible health campaigns for adolescents using online social networks”. You will investigate approaches to engage young people in online social network campaigns while safeguarding their privacy.

Job Description

As a PhD student, you will get the opportunity to be part of this innovative research project led by Prof. Moniek Buijzen and Dr. Thabo van Woudenberg. The project is funded by a Vici Grant by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

Online Social Networks (OSN) such as Instagram and Snapchat offer unprecedented technological opportunities to promote a healthy lifestyle among adolescents’ social networks, for example, via ‘peer influencers’. The SocialMovez project will reveal how online social networks can be utilized and how campaigns can be optimized by using innovative data-analytic technologies, while safeguarding youth’s privacy. A team of five researchers will address this aim in a multimethodological approach, including automated analysis of OSN communications, qualitative co-creation focus groups with users, controlled experiments, and a large-scale controlled field intervention validating an OSN-based obesity-prevention campaign in a real online social network.

Your role in the project will be to integrate digital privacy in OSN health campaigning theory and practice. More specifically, you will use theories of behaviour change and informational law to investigate the most effective mechanisms to engage young people in an OSN health campaign, while taking into account their informational and psychological privacy. Your research will involve, for instance, OSN content analysis, focus groups, and experimental designs in online social networks. Therefore, we expect you to have affinity with advanced quantitative methods and a drive to understand behaviour and behaviour change.

The team members will work closely together in reaching the overall objective: developing a  framework for effective and responsible OSN health campaigns. Moreover, we will closely collaborate with health practitioners and youth communication professionals. Are you interested to be involved in our team? Then please write a short research proposal that addresses the research aim of the PhD project you are applying for (i.e., How will you integrate digital privacy in  OSN health campaigning theory and practice?). We are very curious to find out about you, and your thoughts about which study design and analyses you would use for your project. The proposal will not only demonstrate your current research competencies, but also your own ideas for the project.

See also our other PhD vacancy, PhD position social influence in online social networks


What we expect from you:

  • A Master’s degree in social sciences or law (or expected to be obtained in the near future); for example, a Research Master’s degree in Behavioural Science, Communication Science, Psychology, Informational Law, or comparable.
  • Proven affinity with digital communication technology.
  • Excellent research, methodological and statistical skills.
  • Excellent oral and written command of English.
  • A basic command of Dutch is preferred.
  • Experience with research involving minors is preferred.
  • Team science and open science practices are appreciated.

Conditions of Employment

Internationally-oriented and varied work within an enthusiastic team, with attractive fringe benefits in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU). Your initial employment term will be for 1,5 years but will be extended with 2,5 years if your performance proves satisfactory. Your remuneration starts with €2325,- gross per month (salary scale P.0, CAO NU). Erasmus University Rotterdam offers attractive terms of employment, including a holiday allowance of 8%, a year-end payment of 8.3% and 41 annual leave days in case of a full work week. In addition, EUR takes part in the ABP pension scheme, and we also offer partially paid parental leave. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Moreover, EUR staff members are allowed to make use of the EUR facilities, including the Erasmus sports centre and the University Library. We value diversity and believe that a diversity of talents contributes to our vision and strategy to excel as a university on research and education. This means that we are looking for a person who can complement our team well.


Erasmus University Rotterdam

The Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), named after Rotterdam-born humanist and theologian Erasmus, is a research university with a strong international orientation and a pronounced social focus, both in its education and research activities. On the lively, modern campus, more than 28.000 students and scholars of more than 100 nationalities are constantly encouraged to develop their talents and meet their ambition. Our more than 2700 scientists and employees work together with all our students to solve challenges faced by global society, drawing their inspiration from the consistently dynamic and cosmopolitan city of Rotterdam. The academic education offered at our faculties is intensive, engaging and strongly focused on practical application. We increasingly perform our research in multidisciplinary teams, which are closely interwoven with international networks. In terms of research impact and the quality of its degree programmes, EUR can compete with the foremost universities in Europe, which is reflected in its consistent top-100 position in most major universities rankings. Erasmus University Rotterdam’s key values are daring, curiosity, social involvement, breaking new ground and striving for success


Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences (ESSB)

The Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences (ESSB) is home to a vast diversity of scientific disciplines: public administration, pedagogical sciences, psychology and sociology. In addition, the Erasmus University College, IHS, and two research institutes RISBO and DRIFT are linked to the faculty. This also reflects in the content of the (international) bachelor's and master's programs and in research.  Our activities are always focused on people and society. At the ESSB fundamental, internationally oriented research is of paramount importance. In addition, social research for professionals, policy makers, and the society is part of our research activities. ESSB offers a stimulating research environment where major national and international research grants are received. Appealing guest researchers and ambitious PhD candidates come along to conduct their research. Our education is small-scale and works with innovative forms of education such as Problem-Based Learning (PBL). Both the Dutch and English programs are highly ranked by students and alumni. ESSB is home to over 4000 students and more than 400 staff-members. The different disciplines are supported by the Faculty Office (for more information, please visit

Additional Information

For more information about the application procedure, use the “Apply now” button. For more information about EUR and the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences, please visit For more information about the SocialMovez project and this specific vacancy, please contact Thabo van Woudenberg at and/or Moniek Buijzen at