PhD: Eye tracking dashboards for improvement of student support

Website Utrecht University

The department of Educational Sciences at Utrecht University has a vacancy for a PhD candidate. We are looking for a talented and enthusiastic upcoming researcher with an affinity for designing educational innovations.

Your job

In this position, you will be responsible for conducting a PhD research project within the project “How is it going? Eye-tracking dashboards for teachers to improve student diagnosis and support”. In this project, we investigate the value of dashboards that visualise eye-tracking data within higher education. Such dashboards may be able to support instructors in finding out whether students have a good understanding of the material offered in web lectures, and in planning topics for contact hours in a blended-learning context. Eye-tracking data could potentially play a role in this process, as it contains information about student understanding. In this project, we investigate these questions further, and we develop a dashboard in co-design with teachers. We will then test the dashboard’s effects in two studies.

The full project description is available upon request. The supervision team consists of Dr Ellen Kok , Dr Anouschka van Leeuwen , and Professor Liesbeth Kester.

Your tasks will include:

  • conducting the research, including developing the dashboard;
  • writing international publications about the research and writing a dissertation;
  • presenting the research at (inter)national conferences;
  • contributing actively to the research community;
  • teaching or supervising students (max 10%)

Your qualities

We are looking for a researcher who can work on this multidisciplinary project, and who can implement and evaluate technological innovations to support effective teaching. Furthermore:

  • You hold or will soon have a (Research) Master’s degree in a relevant field, e.g. educational science, cognitive psychology, educational psychology, behavioural science, artificial intelligence, or another relevant field.
  • You have excellent methodological and analytical skills and experience collecting and analysing complex data.
  • Having an interest in technology and programming is a requirement. It is a plus if you already have experience with eye-tracking research or dashboard development, or if you are proficient in one or more programming languages.
  • You can adequately set up and carry out practical studies with students and teachers.
  • A good command of the Dutch language is a plus, due to the development of web lectures and contact with participants.
  • You have very good writing skills in English, as evidenced by e.g. your Master’s thesis or (ideally) a forthcoming or already published article.
  • You are proactive, enthusiastic, and have good collaboration skills.
  • You are competent in project management, flexible, and proactive in your approach to work so that you can complete your dissertation on time.

Our offer

We offer:

  • a position for one year, with an extension to a total of four years upon successful assessment;
  • a full-time gross salary between €2,770 in the first year and €3,539 in the fourth year of employment in scale P of the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities (CAO);
  • 8% holiday bonus and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions based on the CAO.

In addition to the terms of employment laid down in the CAO, Utrecht University has a number of schemes and facilities of its own for employees. This includes schemes facilitating professional development, leave schemes and schemes for sports and cultural activities, as well as discounts on software and other IT products. We also offer access to additional employee benefits through our Terms of Employment Options Model. In this way, we encourage our employees to continue to invest in their growth. For more information, please visit Working at Utrecht University.

About us

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major strategic themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Pathways to Sustainability. Sharing science, shaping tomorrow.

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 7,000 students are enrolled in a broad range of undergraduate  and graduate programmes. The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has some 1,100 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 faculty is located at Utrecht Science Park near the historical city centre of Utrecht.

More information

For more information, please contact Ellen Kok  via

Candidates for this vacancy will be recruited by Utrecht University.

Please note that international candidates that need a visa/work permit for the Netherlands require at least four months processing time after selection and acceptance. Our International Service Desk (ISD) can answer your questions about living in the Netherlands as international staff . Finding appropriate housing in or near Utrecht is your own responsibility, but the ISD may be able to advise you therewith. In case of general questions about working and living in the Netherlands, please consult the Dutch Mobility Portal.

Apply now

As Utrecht University, we want to be a home for everyone. We value staff with diverse backgrounds, perspectives and identities, including cultural, religious or ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. We strive to create a safe and inclusive environment in which everyone can flourish and contribute.

To apply, please send your curriculum vitae, including a letter of motivation, via the ‘apply now’ button.

The first round of interviews takes place on 3 April 2024, from 12:00 to 17:00 hours. An assessment is part of the procedure if you are selected for the second round of interviews.

Our preferred start date is 1 September 2024.

The application deadline is 25 March 2024.

To apply for this job please visit