VLIZ recruits: Researcher Blue Psychology | Flanders Marine Institute

Flanders Marine Institute

Platform for marine research

VLIZ recruits: Researcher Blue Psychology

Join our research team as a researcher on blue psychology. Investigate the role of sensory perception of the marine environment and behaviour at the coast for health and wellbeing. Through collaboration with academic promoters, you are expected to pursue a PhD at a Flemish University.

Researcher Blue Psychology: role of sensory perception and behaviour for health and wellbeing

Our society evolves towards a sedentary lifestyle disconnected from nature and living in (sub)urban areas. To date, adults spend about 20% of their time outdoors. For children this figure shrinks to only 9%. Research suggests that exposing people to a natural environment reactivates them. This element in combination with the sensory perception of natural environments contributes to a better mental health, less illness and longer life expectancy. Most studies currently available in this field of research are related to green environments. The coast as a natural blue environment though, provides excellent opportunities to change our behaviour in a sustainable way. The Flemish coast with its sandy beaches stimulates people to be more physically active and increases social interactions amongst its users. In this research line, we aim to assess the interaction between human health and wellbeing, sensory perception of the coast as well as the behavioural aspect of users of the Belgian coast. We will make use of cross-sectional, longitudinal and/or experimental intervening studies. This research, in collaboration with university research groups, complements an ongoing study at VLIZ on the psychological and physiological restoration capacity of the Belgian coast. The main focus will be on the indirect, subtle, sensory and behaviour related effects of the blue environment on human health and wellbeing.

Our offer

  • We offer a challenging job in the dynamic environment of VLIZ.
  • A contract of two years as researcher, which will be followed by a new two-year contract in case of a positive evaluation. The salary follows the salary scales of scientific personnel in the Flemish Government.
  • Fringe benefits: holiday pay, end-of-year bonus, meal vouchers, hospitalization insurance, bike allowance, free public transport for home-work commuting and an attractive holiday arrangement.

Your main responsibilities

  • To plan and perform a psychological research project on the behaviour related and often indirect sensory and mental effects of the Belgian coastal environment on human health and wellbeing. This involves the planning and organization of experiments, sample and data processing, data analysis and interpretation;
  • To take initiative to discuss planning and report progress to the head of the research unit and collaborating scientists;
  • To write high quality research manuscripts for submitting to peer-reviewed scientific journals;
  • To supervise BSc and MSc students for job student, internship or thesis work;
  • To interact and collaborate with colleagues at VLIZ to increase interdisciplinarity in various research projects;
  • To possibly contribute to research and innovation projects in collaboration with partners from the Blue Economy;
  • To present research at national and international conferences;
  • To network at national and international level with other (marine) scientists;
  • To contribute to events organized by the Department or the Institute, such as the VLIZ Marine Science Day.
For each function, VLIZ considers enthusiastic involvement, open servitude, excellent professionalism and integrity as important characteristics.

Your profile

  • MSc in Psychological or Social Sciences or equivalent, with an interest in experimental design and analysis of large datasets;
  • Experience with the analysis of large datasets and with R open software is a plus;
  • Experience with research on the (marine) environment and human health or wellbeing is a plus;
  • Knowledge of scientific method and of the marine environment are a plus;
  • Critical and creative;
  • Scientifically integer;
  • Open minded and taking initiative;
  • Passionate scientist, keen to learn new skills and develop excellent research;
  • Strong interpersonal skills, a motivated team player;
  • Willing to work in an international context;
  • Good oral and written English communication skills;
  • Academic writing skills are a plus;
  • Knowledge of Dutch is recommended, willingness to learn Dutch is necessary to work with surveys;
  • Knowledge of statistics.

About us

For 20 years, the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) has been strengthening the accumulation of marine knowledge and the excellence of marine scientific research in Flanders. VLIZ is a coordination and information platform, a focal point for marine and coastal research, which also serves as an international contact point for marine science. Important activities are national and international networking, information and data management, scientific communication for policy and industry, education and the general public, and logistical support of marine research. Since 2017, the institute also initiates, promotes and executes innovative and multidisciplinary marine research, and this at the service of, in collaboration with or complementary to Flemish and international marine research groups.

To strengthen its research capacity with research that is in line with priority innovation domains of the Flemish Blue Economy, VLIZ hires a new colleague in its Research Department. Join our multidisciplinary team in Oostende at the Belgian coast. You will work in a unique institute in which your science will be supported by state-of-the-art data systems and services, research infrastructure, science communication and an extensive marine library. Moreover, VLIZ is part of a wide network of Belgian and international marine research groups, offering many opportunities for scientific collaboration.

Additional information

For more information concerning this vacancy, please contact:

Does this vacancy appeal to you?

Send in your cover letter and CV no later than 30 September 2019:

You can contact us by telephone on +32 (0)59 34 21 30.

VLIZ promotes equality and diversity in the workplace. You will be recruited based on competencies. Qualities of people are decisive, regardless of gender, religion, ethnic origin, age, sexual orientation or any disability.


Based on the received motivation letters and CVs, a select group of candidates will be invited for a job interview. You will be informed by email. The job interviews take place in the offices of VLIZ. Employment can start immediately after the selection procedure.