Postdoc in cognitive science

Updated: about 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 14 Apr 2023

The Department of Linguistics, Cognitive Science and Semiotics at the School of Communication and Culture at Aarhus University invites applications for a postdoctoral position in cognitive science. The postdoc position is affiliated with the EU ERC Consolidator project ‘The Evolution of Early Symbolic Behavior – eSYMb’ awarded to Professor Kristian Tylén.

The postdoc position is a full-time, three-year, fixed-term position. The position begins on 1 September 2023 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The School of Communication and Culture is committed to diversity and encourages all qualified applicants to apply regardless of their personal background.


The eSYMb project aims to establish a novel integrative framework for the investigation of early symbolic evolution, using records from archaeology in behavioural experimental investigations and computational modelling. Starting from the assumption that symbolic artefacts evolve adaptively over time to better fulfil their intended symbolic functions, the project investigates structural changes to symbolic artefacts and their cognitive implications to inform inferences about their past use. The project will thus establish transparent, data-driven methods and criteria to test concrete hypotheses about early human symbolic behaviour from archaeological sites across the world, focussing on the later part of human evolution (~150.000–12.000 years ago) based on measures critical to symbolic cognition and behaviour. You can read more about the project here:
Postdoc position

The successful applicant has a background in cognitive science, computational modelling, cultural evolution studies, computer science, digital humanities, computer vision or a related field. Your main task will be – in collaborations with the principal investigator (PI) and other members of the team – to build computational models (for example, neural networks of visual processing and/or agent-based simulations of social/cultural transmission) of the evolution of symbolic cognition based on cross-sectional and experimental data. The modelling will complement ongoing experimental work on human participants and primates, as well as archaeological fieldwork on cave art and theoretical work on human cognitive evolution.


Applicants must have a PhD or be able to document equivalent qualifications in a relevant field related to cognitive science. Applicants must be able to document, relevant to the position:

  • an internationally oriented research profile within one or more of the following fields: cognitive science, computational modelling, cultural evolution studies, computer science, digital humanities or computer vision, as documented by a PhD dissertation and/or research publications in relevant peer-reviewed outlets
  • experience with computational modelling, programming and statistics
  • experience in the self-directed management of research projects
  • excellent communication and interpersonal skills, in order to engage productively with collaborators from different disciplines both within the research team and with external organisations and institutions

Furthermore, it will be considered an advantage if applicants can document one or more of the following:

  • experience with modelling in a Bayesian framework (for example, probabilistic programming languages such as Stan, Turing or WebPPL)
  • experience with the use of neural network techniques (for example, convolutional networks) to analyse visual data
  • experience with agent-based modelling for the study of cultural evolution
  • a track record of research publications of a high international standard commensurate with the length of the applicant’s academic career
  • experience of participation in national and international research networks

Please note that applications that do not include uploaded publications (maximum five) will not be considered.

Although the Aarhus University application system includes an option to upload letters of recommendation, please do not include letters of recommendation or references with the application. Applicants who are invited to an interview may be asked to provide references.

Work environment

Active participation in the daily life of the department is a high priority, and we emphasise the importance of good working relationships, both among colleagues and with our students. In order to maintain and develop the department’s excellent teaching and research environment, the successful applicant is expected to be present at the department on a daily basis.

We respect the balance between work and private life and strive to create a work environment in which that balance can be maintained. You can read more about family and work-life balance in Denmark.

Aarhus University also offers a Junior Researcher Development Programme targeted at career development for postdocs at AU.

International applicants

International applicants are encouraged to read about the

attractive working conditions

and other benefits of working at Aarhus University and in Denmark, including healthcare, paid holidays and, if relevant, maternity/paternity leave, childcare and schooling. Aarhus University offers a wide variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including a

relocation service

and an

AU Expat Partner Programme

. You can also find information about the

taxation aspects of international researchers’ employment by AU


The department

The place of employment is the Department of Linguistics, Cognitive Science and Semiotics, Jens Chr. Skous Vej 2, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.

Prospective applicants are invited to view the department’s website .

School of Communication and Culture

The school is a part of the Faculty of Arts. You will find information about the school and its

research programmes



and diverse activities on its



The successful applicant will also be affiliated with the interdisciplinary research environment surrounding the Interacting Minds Centre at the School of Culture and Society.


For further information about the position, please contact the PI, Professor Kristian Tylén, PhD, Department of Linguistics, Cognitive Science and Semiotics and the Interacting Minds Centre:


If you need help uploading your application or have questions about the recruitment process, please contact Arts HR support by email: .

Qualification requirements

Applicants should hold a PhD or equivalent academic qualifications.


Faculty of Arts refers to the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Danish Universities

(the Appointment Order)


Aarhus University also offers a Junior Researcher Development Programme targeted at career development for postdocs at AU. You can read more about it here:

If nothing else is noted, applications must be submitted in English. Application deadline is at 11.59 pm Danish time (same as Central European Time) on the deadline day.

Aarhus University’s ambition is to be an attractive and inspiring workplace for all and to foster a culture in which each individual has opportunities to thrive, achieve and develop. We view equality and diversity as assets, and we welcome all applicants.

Shortlists may be prepared with the candidates that have been selected for a detailed academic assessment. A committee set up by the head of school is responsible for selecting the most qualified candidates. See this link for further information about shortlisting at the Faculty of Arts: shortlisting

Faculty of Arts

The Faculty of Arts is one of five main academic areas at Aarhus University.

The faculty contributes to Aarhus University's research, talent development, knowledge exchange and degree programmes.
With its 550 academic staff members, 240 PhD students, 9,500 BA and MA students, and 1,500 students following continuing/further education programmes, the faculty constitutes a strong and diverse research and teaching environment.

The Faculty of Arts consists of the School of Communication and Culture, the School of Culture and Society and the Danish School of Education. Each of these units has strong academic environments and forms the basis for interdisciplinary research and education.

The faculty's academic environments and degree programmes engage in international collaboration and share the common goal of contributing to the development of knowledge, welfare and culture in interaction with society.


The application must be submitted via Aarhus University’s recruitment system, which can be accessed under the job advertisement on Aarhus University's website.

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