Postdoctoral Researcher: Neural Mechanisms of Generalisation and Novel Inference (1.0 FTE)

Updated: 2 months ago

  • Employment: 1.0 FTE
  • Gross monthly salary: € 3,821 - € 5,230
  • Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging
  • Required background: PhD
  • Application deadline: 15 June 2022

The ability to generate novel, compositional solutions is fundamental for adaptive behavior in our uncertain world. Are you passionate about integrating insights across domains of action planning, vision and language to unravel the mechanisms of novel inference? As a postdoc, you will be part of a team of enthusiastic researchers studying the computations of novel inference.

We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with expertise in electrophysiology (e.g. MEG, EEG), an interest in novel inference for adaptive behaviour, and a collaborative team spirit.

As a postdoctoral researcher, you will study the role of neural signals in the learning and inference of novel meaning for language. Compositionality is fundamental to adaptive behaviour in different cognitive domains (e.g. language, vision, memory and action planning). The human ability to compose complex representations from basic building blocks depends critically on abstract, generalisable knowledge, and implicates the hippocampus and medial prefrontal cortex. What are the neurocomputational mechanisms that underlie inference and generation of the meaning of new words? Are they shared across cognitive domains? If yes, how? The project aims to advance our knowledge of the brain mechanisms of flexible and efficient behaviour, as well as shared inferential mechanisms across cognitive domains.

To this end, you will design, conduct, analyse and disseminate MEG experiments to probe the neural underpinnings of inference.

  • You hold a PhD in cognitive neuroscience, psychology, or a related field.
  • You have demonstrable experience with research using electrophysiological methods.
  • You have a strong interest in the neural computations of human cognition.
  • You have a team science mindset.
  • You have an excellent command of written and spoken English.

We are

The Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior 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 recognised 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. 

You will be embedded in Prof. Roshan Cools ' Motivational and Cognitive Control group at the Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging and collaborate with Dr Vitoria Piai at the Donders Centre for Cognition. Moreover, you will be part of the Big Question 5 team of the Language in Interaction research consortium and collaborate closely with Dr. Xiaochen Zheng , coordinating postdoctoral researcher of the Big Question 5 team.
Radboud University
We want to get the best out of science, others and ourselves. Why? Because this is what the world around us desperately needs. Leading research and education make an indispensable contribution to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. This is what unites the more than 24,000 students and 5,600 employees at Radboud University. And this requires even more talent, collaboration and lifelong learning. You have a part to play!
We offer
  • Employment for 1.0 FTE.
  • The gross monthly salary amounts to a minimum of €3,821 and a maximum of €5,230 based on a 38-hour working week, depending on previous education and number of years of relevant work experience (salary scale 11 ).
  • You will receive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • It concerns a temporary employment until 30 June 2024.
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Care Services . Our Dual Career and Family Care Officer can assist you with family-related support, help your partner or spouse prepare for the local labour market, provide customized support in their search for employment  and help your family settle in Nijmegen.
  • Working for us means getting extra days off. In case of full-time employment, you can choose between 29 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the legally allotted 20.

Additional employment conditions
Work and science require good employment practices. This is reflected in Radboud University's primary and secondary employment conditions . 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 subscription. And of course, we offer a good pension plan. You are given plenty of room and responsibility to develop your talents and realise your ambitions. Therefore, we provide various training and development schemes.
Would you like more information?

For questions about the position, please contact Roshan Cools, Principal Investigator at . Alternatively, you can contact Vitoria Piai, Principal Investigator at .

Practical information and applications
You can apply until 15 June 2022, exclusively using the button below. Kindly address your application to Roshan Cools. Please fill in the application form and attach the following documents:
  • A letter of motivation.
  • Your CV including the contact details of two referees.
  • Your top 2 outputs (e.g. publications).
The first round of interviews will take place on Tuesday 21 June. You would preferably begin employment as soon as possible.
We can imagine you're curious about our application procedure . It offers a rough outline of what you can expect during the application process, how we handle your personal data and how we deal with internal and external candidates.

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