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Language in Interaction: 2 Postdoc Positions available

Two four-year full-time positions are currently open on the Language in Interaction project for Big Question 4.

Scientific summary

We aim to characterise variation in language processing and learning skills and to determine how these variations relate to those in the underlying biology of individual participants. The project has two strands: Strand A focuses on language processing skills in young adults, and Strand B on language learning skills in children and adults.

Strand A will develop a comprehensive battery of language tasks targeting sound, meaning, and grammatical processing of words and longer utterances during speaking and listening. In addition, tasks will be selected or developed assessing general cognitive skills that are likely to affect performance in language tasks. The battery will be normed on a demographically representative sample of 1000 young adults (aged 18-30 years). Strand B uses variability in learning ability to investigate why second-language acquisition can become harder in adulthood. It will consist of two sub-projects, one on grammar learning and one on word learning. In each sub-project, a large number of child, adolescent and adult Dutch participants (aged 8-30 years) will be tested using behavioural and neuroimaging techniques.

Two four-year full-time positions are currently open. The preferred starting date for both positions is September 1st 2018.

Position specific information

Please find descriptions of the available positions below.

Interested?
Information on the application procedure or Apply directly

Postdoc Position 1

Determining neurobiological underpinnings of linguistic skills

Content Description
This postdoc will manage the sub-project on the neurobiology of language processing within Strand A. In this subproject we use structural MRI, resting state and task-based fMRI and Diffusion Weighted Imaging to determine the individual arrangements of the language connectome. Neuroimaging data will be acquired from about a third of the sample recruited for norming of the test battery (i.e. ~360 people). The task of the postdoctoral fellow will be to develop appropriate test paradigms, pilot them, organize the assessment of the main sample, and take the lead in the data analyses and reporting.

Requirements
Candidates should have a PhD degree (or equivalent) in the neurobiology of language or a closely related field of study. They should be familiar, ideally, with running and analysing MRI data (including DTI data), with carrying out psycholinguistic experiments, and with research on individual differences. They should also have excellent organizational and communicative skills, and programming abilities and they should have knowledge and experience in current data analysis techniques. They should have demonstrable interest in language processing and in the cognitive neuroscience of language.

Applications from excellent candidates with a less than ideal profile will also be considered. Women and members of minority groups are especially encouraged to apply.

Embedding and Terms of employment
This position will be held at the Donders Institute, Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

  • Employment: 1.0 FTE;
  • in addition to the salary: an 8% holiday allowance and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • a maximum gross monthly salary of €4,757 based on a 38-hour working week (salary scale 11);
  • you will be appointed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 30 months.
  • the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) of Dutch Universities is applicable to this position;
  • you will be classified as a Researcher, Level 3 in the Dutch university job-ranking system (UFO);

Further information about Postdoc Position 1
Please contact: Prof. dr. Peter Hagoort or Prof. dr. Antje Meyer

Postdoc Position 2

Individual differences in word learning

Content Description
This postdoc will manage the sub-project within Strand B on word learning. In this sub-project, a large number of child, adolescent, and adult (age 8-30 years) Dutch participants will be tested using behavioural and neuroimaging techniques. Behavioural tasks will include a battery of cognitive tests, the battery of language tasks generated by Strand A, measures of English and Dutch proficiency, and critically, a training task on learning new words. Neuroimaging will include functional MRI, and Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI). The goal is to characterize variability in word learning abilities by linking performance on the training task to the other behavioural data and to the functional and structural neural measures. Why do some individuals find it easier to learn language, and why do aspects of language learning change with age?

Requirements
Candidates should have a PhD degree (or equivalent) in the cognitive neuroscience of language learning, memory, or a closely related field of study. They should be familiar, ideally, with running and analyzing MRI data (including DTI data), with carrying out psycholinguistic experiments, with research on individual differences, and with testing children, although the actual data acquisition will be performed primarily by research assistants. They should also have excellent organizational and communicative skills and programming abilities and they should have knowledge and experience in current data analysis techniques. They should have demonstrable interest in language acquisition (prior work on word learning would be especially welcome) and in the cognitive neuroscience of language and/or memory. They should ideally be a proficient speaker of Dutch.

Applications from excellent candidates with a less than ideal profile will also be considered. Women and members of minority groups are especially encouraged to apply.

Embedding and Terms of employment
This position will be held at the Donders Institute, Centre for Medical Neuroscience, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

  • Employment: 1.0 FTE;
  • a maximum gross monthly salary of €4,917 based on a 36-hour working week (salary scale 11);
  • in addition to the salary: an 8% holiday allowance and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • you will be appointed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 30 months;
  • the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) of Dutch University Medical Centres is applicable to this position.

Further information about Postdoc Position 2
Please contact: Prof. dr. Guillén Fernández or Prof. dr. James McQueen

Last checked 2018-04-20 by Carolin Lorenz
About MPI

This is the MPI

The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

The institute is situated on the campus of the Radboud University. We participate in the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, and have particularly close ties to that institute's Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. We also participate in the Centre for Language Studies. A joint graduate school, the IMPRS in Language Sciences, links the Donders Institute, the CLS and the MPI.

 

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