Netherlands: PhD position in the Department of Neuropsychology and Psychopharmacology at Maastricht University

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Job description

The Netherlands has adopted the categorization system of the International Council on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety (ICADTS) in traffic laws, which states that drivers using category III medicinal drugs are unfit to drive. The ICADTS classification has been accepted as the “gold standard” worldwide and reflects expert knowledge and drug pharmacology.

Yet, it has been acknowledged that it is based on knowledge on “acute” drug impairments observed during treatment initiation. However impairments may dissipate during chronic use if tolerance develops. This has urged patients, physicians and regulatory authorities to question the validity of the ICADTS system for predicting long term drug effects. The present PhD position will focus on 1) assessment of driver fitness in chronic users of medicinal drugs and 2) validation of a driving test battery to assess fitness of individual drivers receiving chronic drug treatment.  Research will be performed within a national network involving Maastricht University, Utrecht University and the University of Groningen.

In short, this consortium will conduct studies into the long term effects of antidepressants, anxiolytics and hypnotics on driving as assessed in “real-life” on-the-road driving tests, driving simulators and neuropsychological tests measuring skills and abilities relevant to driving. In addition, the consortium will develop and validate a standard driving test battery that will be utilized in future evaluations of individual drivers who use a diversity of CNS drugs.



We are looking for an applicant who: holds a (research) master degree in cognitive (neuro)psychology or neuroscience; has affinity with psychopharmacology and experimental research; has excellent English writing skills; preferably has experience with Eprime programming and statistical design.

Conditions of employment

Temporary employment for 4 years. Your salary would be € 2.083,– gross per month in the first year up to € 2.664,– gross per month in the fourth year according to the PhD-student salary scale. Each year an evaluation will take place.

Contract type: Temporary, 4 years


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 15,000 students and 4,000 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 Humanities and Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience.

Additional information

For further information please mail: Prof dr Jan Ramaekers (Psychopharmacologist):

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