Postdoctoral Researcher: Computational Neuroscience of Curiosity at the Predictive Brain Lab

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: 14 Apr 2024

1.0 FTE

Gross monthly salary
€ 4,332 - € 5,929

Required background

Organizational unit
Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging

Application deadline
14 April 2024

Apply now

Humans build internal models of themselves and their environment to understand the past and predict the future. These models are constantly evaluated and updated based on new, surprising input. In this ERC-funded research project, you will investigate how surprise is linked to our intrinsic drive to seek information, i.e. curiosity.

Curiosity is a basic element of our cognition, but its neural underpinnings and computational mechanisms are still poorly understood. While we understand some of the drivers that intrinsically motivate us to seek information, there are currently no convincing models of information seeking. As a postdoctoral researcher, you will be part of a team that will address this question. Using a computational approach, you will build predictive models of human information-seeking behaviour, and test the behavioural and neural implications of these models.

  • You have a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience, Experimental Psychology, Artificial Intelligence, or a related field.
  • You have an affinity with programming and you possess demonstrable experience with quantitative data analysis techniques (e.g. in Matlab or Python).
  • You are highly motivated to conduct interdisciplinary empirical research in the field of computational cognitive neuroscience.
  • You have good collaborative and communication skills.

We are

The Predictive Brain Lab (link is external) is based at the Donders Institute of the Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands and headed by Prof. Floris de Lange. Its research mission is to find out how the brain makes sense of the world, using prior knowledge to form predictions about incoming signals. We strive to understand this process at the computational, algorithmic and implementational level. Therefore, we use a multidisciplinary approach, focusing on behavioral and neural mechanisms of prediction, and utilizing a combination of psychophysics, non-invasive human neuroimaging (fMRI, EEG/MEG), and computational and neural network modeling approaches. We represent many different nationalities and we come from diverse (personal and scientific) backgrounds. We promote a supportive and stimulating work environment, where we  can have fun and carry out excellent scientific research.

Radboud University

At Radboud University, we aim to make an impact through our work. We achieve this by conducting groundbreaking research, providing high-quality education, offering excellent support, and fostering collaborations within and outside the university. In doing so, we contribute indispensably to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. To accomplish this, we need even more colleagues who, based on their expertise, are willing to search for answers. We advocate for an inclusive community and welcome employees with diverse backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives. Will you also contribute to making the world a little better? You have a part to play.

If you want to learn more about working at Radboud University, follow our Instagram account (link is external) and read stories from our colleagues.

Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
The Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour is a world-class interfaculty research centre that houses more than 700 researchers devoted to understanding the mechanistic underpinnings of the human mind. Research at the Donders Institute is focused around four themes: 1. Language and communication, 2. Perception, action and control, 3. Plasticity and memory, 4. Neural computation and neurotechnology. Excellent, state-of-the-art research facilities are available for the broad range of neuroscience research that is being conducted at the Donders Institute. The Donders Institute has been assessed by an international evaluation committee as excellent and recognized as a ‘very stimulating environment for top researchers, as well as for young talent’. The Donders Institute fosters a collaborative, multidisciplinary, supportive research environment with a diverse international staff. English is the lingua franca at the Institute.
The mission of the Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging (DCCN) is to conduct cutting-edge fundamental research in cognitive neuroscience. Much of the rapid progress in this field is being driven by the development of complex neuroimaging techniques for measuring activity in the human brain - an area in which the Centre plays a leading role. The research themes cover central cognitive functions, such as perception, action, control, emotion, decision-making, attention, memory, language, learning and plasticity. The Centre also aims to establish how the different brain areas coordinate their activity with very high temporal precision to enable human and animal cognition. Our internationally renowned centre currently hosts more than 100 PhD candidates and postdoctoral researchers from more than 25 countries, offering a stimulating and multidisciplinary research environment. The centre is equipped with four MRI scanners (7T, 3x 3T), a 275-channel MEG system, an EEG-TMS laboratory, several (MR-compatible) EEG systems, and high-performance computational facilities.

We offer
  • We will give you a temporary employment contract of 2 years.
  • Your salary within salary scale 11 depends on your previous education and number of years of (relevant) work experience. The amounts in the scale are based on a 38-hour working week.
  • You will receive an 8% holiday allowance and an 8,3% end-of-year bonus. 
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Support Service . The Dual Career Programme assists your partner via support, tools, and resources to improve their chances of independently finding employment in the Netherlands. Our Family Support Service helps you and your partner feel welcome and at home by providing customised assistance in navigating local facilities, schools, and amenities. Also take a look at our support for international staff page to discover all our services for international employees.
  • You will receive extra days off. With full-time employment, you can choose between 30 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the statutory 20. 

Additional employment conditions

Work and science require good employment practices. Radboud University's primary and secondary employment conditions reflect this. You can make arrangements for the best possible work-life balance with flexible working hours, various leave arrangements and working from home. You are also able to compose part of your employment conditions yourself. For example, exchange income for extra leave days and receive a reimbursement for your sports membership. And, of course, we offer a good pension plan. We also give you plenty of room and responsibility to develop your talents and realise your ambitions. Therefore, we provide various training and development schemes.

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Practical information and applying

You can apply no later than 14 April only via the button below. Address your letter of application to Floris de Lange.

The first interviews will take place on Monday 22 April. Any second interview will take place on Monday 29 April. You will preferably start your employment between May and July.
We can imagine you're curious about our application procedure . It describes what you can expect during the application procedure and how we handle your personal data and internal and external candidates. If you wish to apply for a non-scientific position with a non-EU nationality, please take notice of the following information (link is external) . 

Apply now Application deadline 14 April 2024

We would like to recruit our new colleague ourselves. Acquisition in response to this vacancy will not be appreciated.

Would you like more information?
Prof. F.P. de Lange (Floris)
Principal Investigator
Last modified: 13 March 2024
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