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PhD - Improvements in health-state valuations using discrete choice experiments

Posted 13 Jul 2024
Work experience
1 to 3 years
Full-time / part-time
Job function
€2,770 - €3,539 per month
Degree level
Required languages
English (Fluent)
Dutch (Fluent)
31 Jul 2024 00:00

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This PhD project aims to advance our methodological research on employing discrete choice experiments (DCE) to value health for cost-effectiveness analyses. Historically, interviewer-based time-trade-off studies have been utilized, which are costly and time-consuming to manage as well as difficult for respondents, necessitating extensive quality-control measures. In contrast, DCEs offer a promising alternative for measuring health-related quality of life through online surveys. This approach is not only more cost-effective and less resource-intensive but also less complex for respondents and allowing for automated, model-based quality-control procedures during and after data collection. However, DCEs tend to undervalue health unless they are based on complex design optimization and statistical estimation methods.

Job description

The PhD candidate will play a pivotal role in the further validation and enhancement of DCE methodologies for health valuation. The research is methods-focused, striving to refine existing methods and introduce innovative ones, while also making cutting-edge methods more accessible to applied researchers. The project is structured into five work packages (WP), each outlining an independent research project. Collectively, these WPs aim to bridge significant gaps in creating a stand-alone DCE valuation protocol. Research topics include optimizing level overlap to adjust the method’s complexity for respondents, evaluating empirical performance of time discounting functions, employing adaptive optimization for discrete choice designs using Bayesian techniques, enhancing the estimation of complex discrete choice models with limited data, and the automatic detection of survey responses generated by artificial intelligence. Additionally, candidates will have the opportunity to contribute their own enhancements to the DCE valuation protocol.

Job requirements

We seek an excellent candidate with a recently acquired or nearly completed MSc degree in econometrics, statistics, or a related discipline. The ideal applicant will be eager to conduct methodological research on DCE applications in health and health-state valuation, possess a robust statistical foundation, and demonstrate proficiency in implementing new (Bayesian) models and optimization algorithms in programming languages such as C++. Experience in web development and familiarity with cloud-based computing are highly desirable, as the developed code will be integrated into an online data collection platform.

Employment conditions and benefits

We offer you an internationally oriented and varied job in an enthusiastic team, with excellent working conditions in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU).

The start date of this position is 01-SEP-2024 and you will be based at campus Woudestein in Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM). This position is for 0.85 fte - 1 fte. The salary ranges from a minimum of € 2.770 to a maximum of € 3.539 gross per month Scale PhD on a fulltime basis (38 hours), in accordance with the CAO-NU. The contract is entered initially for the duration of 1 year; subject to satisfactory performance the contract will be extended to 3 years.

Everything else we offer you, you can find below!

  • Everything you need for a good work-life balance: the option to work from home in consultation with your manager, 41 days of paid leave with a 40 hour contract, 8% holiday pay and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus, and a significant discount on a subscription for our on-campus sports centreOpens external!
  • Sustainable, inclusive and diverse work environment with an open culture, where you can be yourself and we pay attention to each other and to the world around us. Make the most of our bicycle budget, or join networks such as Young@EUROpens external, FAME or QuEUR.
  • Time and space for your development in the broadest sense: development days and a personal career budget, foreign exchange opportunities with most costs paid by EUR, and free access to our university library.
  • Good pension with ABP that EUR contributes 2/3rds towards, discounts on various collective insurances with Zilveren Kruis Achmea, Loyalis, and Allianz, and compensation for travel, working from home and home internet use.
  • Are you currently combining your job with parenthood, or do you want to do so in the future? EUR offers partially paid parental leave and fully paid additional birth leave for partners, and our campus features a daycare.
  • Moving to the Netherlands for your job with EUR? Then you may be eligible for the 30%-ruling if you meet the requirements of the Belastingdienst (Dutch tax agency), and with our Dual Career Programme we will also help your partner find the right job for them.


Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) is an internationally oriented university with a strong social orientation in its education and research, as expressed in our mission ‘Creating positive societal impact’. EUR is home to 4.100 academics and professionals and almost 33.000 students from more than 140 countries. Everything we do, we do under the credo The Erasmian Way – Making Minds Matter. We’re global citizens, connecting, entrepreneurial, open-minded, and socially involved. These Erasmian Values function as our internal compass and create EUR’s distinctive and recognizable profile. From these values, with a broad perspective and with an eye for diversity, different backgrounds and opinions, our employees work closely together to solve societal challenges from the dynamic and cosmopolitan city of Rotterdam. Thanks to the high quality and positive societal impact of our research and education, EUR can compete with the top European universities.

Faculty / Institute / Central service

Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM) is part of Erasmus University Rotterdam and is responsible for a bachelor and four master programs on policy and management in healthcare, which serve 1000 students. In addition, research is being done on three major research themes: ‘competition and regulation in healthcare’, ‘quality and efficiency in healthcare’ and ‘healthcare management’. ESHPM has about 175 employees. The position offered is within the department of Health technology Assessment (HTA).


The Health Technology Assessment (HTA) department within ESHPM, and its linked contract research institute iMTA, are distinguished by and internationally renowned for independent and excellent research in HTA, health economics and health outcomes research. The HTA department contributes to important and influential methodological innovations in these areas. It is dedicated to stimulating the use of cost-effectiveness information in healthcare decision making. The department is responsible for teaching HTA in several courses of the bachelor Health Policy and Management, the master programmes Health Economics Policy and Law (HEPL), and Health Economics (HE), and the European master programme Health Economics and Management (EUHEM).

Met een open blik op de wereld en met aandacht voor diversiteit van achtergronden en opvattingen werken onze wetenschappers en onderzoekers, docenten, studenten en professionals nauw samen aan het oplossen van maatschappelijke vraagstukken. Dit doen we onder het motto Making Minds Matter, wat staat voor onze ambities.
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