Vacancy: PhD position methods for evaluation of diagnostic eHealth tools and AI algorithms

This vacancy has been recommended by the Julius Center.

The Julius Center offers a challenging position as a PhD student, focused on the study of different methodological aspects (study design, types of data analysis) for the evaluation of diagnostic tests and/or algorithms (models).

In all medical disciplines, diagnostic tests and prediction models are being developed to accurately diagnose patients suspected of having a disease or health disorder. These tests and models are evaluated by assessing their diagnostic accuracy based on sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values, for which methods are well established.

However, there are still methodological challenges in this field, especially in the context of the emergence of diagnostic tests using eHealth, medical apps, big data and artificial intelligence. The new European regulations (the so-called MDR and IVDR) require stricter evaluations of diagnostic devices before they can be marketed and eventually used in clinical practice. However, there is no methodological one-size-fits-all approach, so there is needed guidance on how to evaluate these specific types of diagnostic tests or algorithms.

As a PhD student, you will study various methodological challenges related to the evaluation of diagnostic tests and prediction models. What type of research and evidence is desired for different types of diagnostic tests or algorithms? How can we evaluate diagnostic tests or models for conditions with imperfect reference standards? How can we determine the true clinical benefit of using these tests or models without conducting large-scale randomized trials? What burden of proof is required to ensure market access for (and use of) these tests and models, in accordance with MDR and IVDR regulations?

These are examples of methodological challenges that you will explore during your PhD and try to formulate solutions for. You will be part of a multidisciplinary team, attend weekly meetings, share results of your research through presentations at both these weekly meetings and (international) conferences, and contribute to epidemiology education for (medical) students.

Candidates for this position should have an MSc in epidemiology/clinical epidemiology, health economics (HTA), biomedical or health sciences, or biostatistics. You should have a keen interest in the methodology of clinical research and be able to work in teams and communicate about your ideas with colleagues. Fluency in written and spoken English is required, and fluency in spoken Dutch is an advantage.

The maximum salary for this position (36 – 36 hours) is € 3.196,00 gross per month based on full-time employment. The starting salary is OIO scale step 0 €2.495,-.
In addition, we offer an annual allowance of 8.3%, holiday pay, travel expenses and opportunities for advancement. The terms of employment are in accordance with the Cao Universitair Medische Centra (UMC).

In this position you will be supervised at the Department of Epidemiology as part of the team Methods of Epidemiological Research and Cochrane Netherlands, at the Julius Center of UMC Utrecht. This group evaluates and develops new research methods focused on prediction model and intervention research. You will be part of an energetic, enthusiastic team of over 40 PhD students from different backgrounds. The Julius Center has an extensive national and international network.


Date of entry: 13 October 2021