Student Assistant position

Student Assistant
Language Development

The Language Development Department is offering a Student Assistant position, available from May 1st, 2024.

Job description

We are seeking a student assistant to help with the Department’s research on how humans acquire language. The assistant will assist with lab-based studies with children and adults, and with coding language and communicative behaviour in caregiver-child interactions. The position would suit a student with an interest in a career in research in language, cognitive science, education and/or cognitive neuroscience.


  • Assist with creating and conducting lab-based studies with babies, children and/or adults
  • Coding and transcribing observational and experimental data
  • Assist with everyday lab business, e.g., recruitment




  • Good fluency in spoken and written Dutch and English
  • Study in a relevant discipline (e.g. Psychology, Linguistics, Cognitive Neuroscience, Cognitive Science, or a related discipline)
  • Excellent attention to detail and organisational skills
  • Flexible availability (e.g. willingness to work some Saturdays)



  • Good fluency in spoken (and written) German
  • Experience with leading and/or running experimental or observational studies with adults and/or children, preferably on topics related to language
  • Experience with the use of PRAAT and/or ELAN (however, training will be provided for all tasks)
  • Ability to drive a car and a full clean driving license, to travel within the region for testing


What do we offer you

  • Position available from 1st May 2024, though start date is negotiable
  • Term of appointment of 6 months initially, with the possibility of extension
  • Between 16 and 19 hours per week, set according to the student’s study schedule
  • The hourly rate is 13.27 Euro (age 21 and up) and 12.41 Euro (age under 21, and/or without a Bachelor’s degree)


Application procedure

The deadline for applications is midnight (CEST) on Friday March 8th, 2024. Please submit your application directly via this link on our recruitment portal.


Applications should include:

  1. A cover letter outlining your motivation to apply and detailing how you fit the requirements above
  2. A current CV that includes details of education, relevant work and/or voluntary experience and language(s) proficiency (to facilitate a bias-free hiring process, please do not include a photo or details of gender, age or marital status)

  3. A summary of courses and grades achieved from relevant Bachelor’s and/or Master’s degrees

  4. The names and contact details of two referees (referees will not be contacted unless you are invited to interview)

Interviews will be held on Monday March 18th and Tuesday March 19th, 2024, at the MPI in Nijmegen. Please let us know in your cover letter if you are available on these dates.

For further information or questions about these positions, please contact the secretary of the Language Development Department, Ilse van den Dobbelsteen (Ilse.vandenDobbelsteen [at] (Ilse[dot]vandenDobbelsteen[at]mpi[dot]nl)).


The Employer

The Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Psycholinguistics is entirely devoted to psycholinguistics – the study of how we produce and understand language, and how we acquire these skills as first or second language learners. Our goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind and with other agents, how multiple modalities (as in speech, gesture and sign) shape language and its use in diverse languages, and how we can learn languages of quite different types. We are situated on the campus of the Radboud University and have close collaborative links with the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour and the Centre for Language Studies at Radboud University.  We also work closely with other child development researchers as part of the Baby and Child Research Centre.

Staff and students at the MPI have access to state-of-the art research and training facilities (including audio-visual equipment, EEG, fMRI, eye tracking, virtual reality labs, molecular biology labs and a child-friendly child development lab).

The Institute is part of the Max Planck Society, an independent non-governmental association of German-funded research institutes dedicated to fundamental research in the natural sciences, life sciences, social sciences, and the humanities.

The MPI for Psycholinguistics recognises the positive value of diversity, promotes equality and challenges discrimination. We are committed to redressing systemic problems with diversity in science, and therefore welcome applications from individuals from minority groups and from groups that are otherwise under-represented.

About the Language Development Department

The research of the Language Development Department focuses on how children learn to communicate with language, how the developing brain supports this process, and how it is affected by cross-linguistic, cultural and individual variation. Research broadly falls into three themes, though many projects address multiple themes:

  • Language in the brain: studies focus on the nature and function of the brain’s learning and processing mechanisms.
  • Languages across the world: studies focus on the role of the multimodal environment and its effects on acquisition across languages and cultures.
  • Language over development: studies focus on mapping and explaining the trajectory of language development, acknowledging that developmental systems are characterised by constant and dynamic change.

In addition, the department’s Innovations team produces methodological primers, web- and app-based assessment tools, and pipelines for the semi-automatic analysis of day-long recordings.


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