Early career Postdoctoral Position at the Donders Centre of Cognition (1.0 FTE)

Updated: about 2 months ago

  • Employment: 1.0 FTE
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Required background: PhD
  • Application deadline: 29 November 2021

How do we control ourselves during emotionally challenging social interactions? As a postdoc, you aim to answer this question by bridging the fields of social motor cognition, affective neuroscience and clinical psychology. You will use transcranial focused ultrasound, a cutting-edge non-invasive technology for non-invasive brain stimulation, in combination with fMRI. The results of your project will then be used to enhance the efficacy of clinical interventions in social anxiety patients.

Imagine facing sudden aggression in a crowded underground train. How do you control yourself during that emotionally challenging social interaction? This cognitive neuroscience project bridges the fields of social motor cognition, affective neuroscience, and clinical psychology to understand social-emotional control. This project focuses on how individuals rapidly consider action goals alternative to their automatic action tendencies, and select an option based on potential consequences of those alternative action goals. The project considers two ways people use to overcome automatic social-emotional action tendencies: internal goal-switching, internally generating alternative goals for those actions; or learning external outcomes, based on learned consequences of an action. We aim to assess how the combination of these two neuro-computational mechanisms explains human social-emotional regulation and its variation across individuals in relation to social anxiety.

You will join a multidisciplinary team at the Donders Institute. The project is embedded in the research groups of Prof. Ivan Toni, Prof. Karin Roelofs, and Prof. Lennart Verhagen, combining expertise in social neurocognition, experimental psychopathology and neuromodulation. The project will manipulate neural nodes implementing social emotional regulation with non-invasive neuro-modulation methods (transcranial focused ultrasound), and measure neuro-behavioural consequences of that intervention. This knowledge will then be used in the second part of the project to enhance the efficacy of clinical interventions in social anxiety patients.

You will be responsible for planning, executing and analysing projects investigating the control of emotional action tendencies using transcranial focused ultrasound and/or transcranial alternating current stimulation, during performance of social-emotional control tasks in fMRI. The position also involves supervision of a dedicated research assistant, as well as mentoring of junior researchers (PhD candidates and MSc students). You will take the lead in reporting the findings, in collaboration with the PIs, in international journals and conferences.

  • You have a PhD degree in cognitive neuroscience, or in a related field, with hands-on experience in human neuroimaging and/or neuromodulation.
  • You are code literate (Matlab or Python, R) and fluent in written/spoken English.
  • Given the interdisciplinary and multi-PI research setting, you should have a strong collaborative attitude and a proven ability to work in a team.
The Donders Institute values a diverse workforce. Female candidates are therefore particularly encouraged to apply.
We are

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 decision-making, 3. Development and lifelong plasticity , 4. Natural Computing & 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 is 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.

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 starting maximum gross monthly salary is €3,807 on a full-time basis (salary scale 11, step 0 ). Note that in the case of employment commencing prior to a doctorate having been officially awarded, researchers will be employed on salary scale 10, step 3 , with a gross full-time salary of € 3,270 as per faculty regulation.
  • You will receive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • It concerns a temporary employment for 3 years.
  • 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 Ivan Toni, Full Professor at or ivan.toni@donders.ru.nl. Alternatively, you can contact Karin Roelofs, Full Professor at or karin.roelofs@donders.ru.nl .

Practical information and applications
You can apply until 29 November 2021, exclusively using the button below. Kindly address your application to Ivan Toni. Please fill in the application form and attach the following documents:
  • Letter of motivation.
  • CV including 2 recommendation letters.
The first round of interviews will take place on Monday 13 December. The second round of interviews will take place on Friday 7 January. You would preferably begin employment on 1 April 2022.
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.

We drafted this vacancy to find and hire our new colleague ourselves. Recruitment agencies are kindly requested to refrain from responding.

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