Doctoral scholarship for research project 'Multiple deprivation and health inequalities in Belgium'

Function description

You will be responsible for the organization, implementation and reporting of the research project ‘Multiple deprivation and health inequalities in Belgium’. Your research results will contribute to the preparation and defence of a PhD in Social Sciences (Demography). The research project will be conducted in collaboration with Sciensano and UCLouvain (Center for Demographic Research), and is part of the BELSPO-funded ELLIS project – ‘Monitoring and Mitigating Environmental Health Inequalities’.

There is an increasing body of evidence showing that environmental stressors can increase the risk of illness and premature mortality. Consequently, governments worldwide aim to mitigate the negative health effects of environmental exposures and secure environmental health benefits. As exposures are not equal among all segments of the population, it is important to understand and mitigate inequalities in environmental health. In Belgium, however, there is currently no systematic monitoring of environmental health inequalities, nor are there tailored tools to assess the impact of policy measures on the extent of, and inequalities in, environmental burden of disease.

The overall objective of ELLIS is to develop policy-relevant tools to monitor and mitigate environmental health inequalities in Belgium. More information about the project is available via

In the context of this project, the following PhD project will be funded:

Multiple deprivation and social inequalities in Belgium. While most studies focus on a single socioeconomic indicator, mainly the education level and the socio-professional category, ELLIS aims to develop a more comprehensive Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD), and implement this at the level of the statistical sector (i.e. the smallest administrative unit in Belgium). Furthermore, to quantify health inequalities using the new IMD, ELLIS will explore how health data can be derived at the level of the statistical sector. Specific data sources will include mortality and cause-of-death statistics, health insurance data, and health interview data. Geospatial modelling techniques will be applied to smooth and extrapolate across statistical sectors.


  • Master in demography, epidemiology, public health, statistical data analysis, or equivalent.
  • A motivation for conducting scientific research with a view to defending a PhD.
  • Demonstrable quantitative skills and interest in social sciences and public health.
  • Experience with programming in a statistical package, preferably with R.
  • Language skills: Excellent written and spoken English and French; a good command of Dutch is an asset.
  • Generic competences: proactive, communicative, accurate, able to work independently and in team.

We offer

  • A doctoral scholarship for 48 months offered by Sciensano and UCLouvain.
  • A socially relevant and challenging research project.
  • A dynamic environment and opportunities for development and training (both via Sciensano and via the UCLouvain Doctoral Training Programme).
  • Supervision of experienced scientists.
  • Start date possible from 01/04/2020 (flexible).
  • Place of employment: UCLouvain (Center for Demographic Research, Louvain-la-Neuve) and Sciensano (near Brussels South station).
  • Advantages: free commuting to and from work with public transport.


If you are interested in this offer, send a motivation letter and your CV before midnight on 20 March 2020 to the following addresses: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. & This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For more information, contact the same addresses.

COVID update

Due to the corona crisis, we have put the launch of the project on hold. We are therefore welcoming applications until 15 July 2020.


ELLIS is funded by the Belgian Federal Science Policy (BELSPO) through the BRAIN-be 2.0 (2018-2023) programme.

BRAIN-be logoBELSPO logo

Project coordinator

Prof. dr. Brecht Devleesschauwer

Sciensano, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Service Lifestyle and Chronic Diseases