The School for Mass Communication Research at KU Leuven in Belgium invites applications for a PhD Position in Mobile Dating effects in the 2020/21 academic year.

Project details:

A PhD researcher is hired to collaborate on a novel project focused on understanding mobile dating under the supervision of Prof. Dr Laura Vandenbosch and Prof. Dr Sindy Sumter.  The researcher will start a PhD in Social Sciences (communication sciences) at KU Leuven. The project is funded by Vandenbosch’s recently acquired FWO grant. The PhD research is situated within a unique collaboration between KU Leuven and the U of Amsterdam. This collaboration implies that the researcher will conduct his/her PhD trajectory at KU Leuven, but will also go on research visits working at the UvA with Dr.Sindy Sumter.

Popular-social dating apps have provided young adults with a unique media space to satisfy developmental needs. The current project postulates that the effects of mobile dating are more complex than what has been previously assumed and aims to introduce several novel perspectives to understand the multilayered role of mobile dating in contemporary well-being threats for young adulthood. Particular attention to relevant differential susceptibility factors (i.e., gender, sexual orientation, narcissism, attachment style and mate value), and the differential dynamics of reciprocal relationships across different time intervals will be given. As a result, the project aims to provide a well-detailed structure on how to understand the role of mobile dating in well-being threats that are pressing in today’s society (e.g., gender stereotypes, sexism, body dissatisfaction, loneliness, commitment problems, self-esteem depletion, and negative affect). A multi-method approach will be used in which a large scale content-analytical study will document for the first time the occurrence and manifestations of different types of strategic self-presentation in mobile dating profiles. The interval-contingent experience sampling method of measurement burst research will further provide a unique account of the fluctuations in the links between mobile dating and well-being.

Worth of Award

  • An initial 1-year contract of a (PhD) research position that can be prolonged to 3 years that can be initiated on 1 September 2020 or a date in2020 preferred by the candidate and approved by L. Vandenbosch and S. Sumter.
  • Salary and benefits are in line with the university salary scale for PhD candidates and highly competitive according to international standards.
  • PhD candidates will be enrolled in KU Leuven’s Doctoral Programme of the social Sciences, in which they acquire many other important career skills.


  • Each applicant should be highly motivated to study media effects and learn about explanatory mechanisms. He/she should be motivated to work within a team and thus has the social skills necessary to have fruitful collaborations with colleagues and to conduct research in different settings.
  • Applicants can have a master in communication sciences (cum laude), social informatics(cum laude), and psychology (cum laude) or in related fields (sociology …)(cum laude).
  • Applicants are preferred to be fluent in English, and need to have excellent writing and presentation skills. Knowledge of the Dutch language is an advantage.
  • The applicant needs to have quantitative (survey) and qualitative research skills and data analytic experience (e.g. SPSS, AMOS, R, Python…). Clear strengths are experienced with content analytical, diary or longitudinal research.  He/she should be motivated to further develop their methodological skills and learn about measurement burst research.
  • Academic writing skills (e.g., publications in academic journals or papers to be presented on conferences) need to be further developed over time.

How to Apply

Applications can be submitted in English.

Interested candidates are asked to submit the following documents before July 2020 when applying for the position:

  • CV
  • A motivation letter explaining your personal background and interest in an academic career


Please email, call, or Skype the supervisor of co-supervisor if you want to receive more information about the position.

Laura Vandenbosch

The email address: [email protected];

The telephone number:  +32 16 3232 02.

A (Skype) appointment can be made by email.

Sindy Sumter


Deadline: You can apply for this job no later than June 30, 2020, via the online application tool

Click here for more details and to apply

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