Talent+ Program

Talent+ is a multifaceted training program to provide cutting-edge research experience and training skills to talented people from under-represented backgrounds, carefully tailored to make them competitive for a career in Cognitive Science. Examples of under-represented groups include: people from the global south, people from historically ethnically or economically disadvantaged backgrounds, first generation college educated people, first generation immigrants, and people with disabilities.

The program contains three paid schemes, each designed to provide research experience at the MPI for Psycholinguistics, and/or free/reduced cost access to courses at our partner, Radboud University. The three schemes are:

  1. Internship scheme (3 months)
    For international students from the global south & underprivileged local students with at least a BA.
  2. Research assistant scheme (1-2 years)
    For economically disadvantaged graduates (not currently enrolled in any BA/MA/PhD program) who want to gain international research experience, but cannot afford to study full-time/pay international student fees. 
  3. TALENT scheme (6 months)
    For masters-level graduates from all underrepresented backgrounds with an intention to continue in academia.In addition, Talent+ offers support for the candidates to get to the Netherlands, find housing, and to set up a network in Nijmegen.


Note: The 3-month and 6-month internship calls have now closed! We are currently reviewing the applications. Candidates will receive a notification in early June.


Mission statement


Many groups have been historically excluded from Cognitive Science, or systematically discriminated against within this research field. As well as undermining societal attempts to improve equality and inclusion, this also has a negative impact on science, as teams with diverse experience and expertise tend to be more creative and innovative.
The main goal of the Talent+ program is to bridge this gap, by increasing the competitiveness of students from under-represented backgrounds for a career in Cognitive Science, increasing the diversity within the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and within the field of Cognitive Science more broadly, and increasing the visibility of research in under-represented countries by forming international networks. 



If you have any questions, please contact us at talent [at] mpi.nl (talent[at]mpi[dot]nl)
Please first check if your question is among the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below:

FAQs about eligibility | Last Updated: 06 May 2024

01. Can I apply for a Talent+ internship when I have a PhD degree or am currently enrolled in a PhD program?

You can, but we will prioritize people without a PhD and who have had no access to institutions in the Global North.

02. Can I apply for the 3-month internship program if I already have a Master’s degree?

Yes, you can definitely apply to both internships, especially if you're unsure where your profile fits best. Your CV will surely be the same for both, but you should individually motivate your choice for your 3-month and the 6-month internship specifically in each motivation letter.

03. Can I apply for the 3-month internship if I am enrolled in Bachelor’s program but haven’t graduated yet?

If you expect to graduate before the start date of the internship, you can apply. We will prioritize people with a Bachelor’s degree.

04. Can I apply for both the 3-month and the 6-month program?

Yes. If you are not sure which one is a better fit, you could apply to both. It will be the same committee reviewing it.

05. Can I apply if I am already in the Netherlands?

Yes. In fact, we encourage people from underrepresented groups in the Netherlands (such as refugees, first/second/third generation immigrants, first generation college educated people) to apply.

06. Do I need prior research experience?

The short answer is no. We are looking for candidates who have not had extensive research experience or access to highly funded institutions but are interested in going into research or pursuing a PhD.

07. Can I apply to more than one department / research group?

The reason why we ask you to declare a department is that we want to know specifically what research/techniques/researchers you're interested in working with. That being said, if you have 2 departments that you are interested in and can justify why you want to join each of them, that's fine. What we ask is that you motivate your choices and clarify how and why you chose that department.

08. Should I apply to a department whose research topics that I have more experience in or to one that I am interested in but have no experience in?

The purpose of this program is looking forward. Although your experience and knowledge so far matter and will be taken into account, we want to know what your future goals and your interests are and hopefully help you move in that direction.

09. Do I have to stick to the department I initially chose?

When we reach the interview stage, you will have been assigned to a specific department and ideally to a specific supervisor. At that point, you will not be able to change departments.

10. If I am not eligible for the Talent+ program, is there another way to apply for an internship or PhD at the MPI?

Yes, there is. Check out our other vacancies here.

FAQs about the program | Last Updated: 06 May 2024

01. Are the Talent+ internships full-time or part-time?

Both the 3-month and 6-month internships are full-time. If there are specific reasons why you need to work part-time (such as care responsibilities, health issues), please let us know in the motivation letter and we will do our best to accommodate.

02. Can I work part-time next to the internship?

If you are here on a visa, you will not be able to work or study outside of this internship. This internship is by default full-time (although we can discuss this on a case by case basis if there are specific reasons why you would need to work part-time) and we would like for you to take full advantage of the internship, which means you will not be able to work extra. That being said, if there are economic constraints that would make it difficult for you to subsist on the stipend we are providing, we are willing to discuss this on a case-by-case basis.

03. Can this internship turn into a PhD at the MPI?

No, if you want to pursue a PhD at the MPI, you have to apply independently.

04. Can I take courses during the internship?

For legal reasons, if you're on a visa you may not enroll in a degree granting program using the same visa as your internship. You also may not use this internship for course credit. You will also not be enrolled at the university through this program so you will not be able to take university courses as part of this internship. Given that we suggest and strongly prefer that the internship be full-time we do not recommend that you take courses.

05. How much spare time will I have? Do I have to be at the MPI everyday?

The default assumption is that you will work approximately 40 hours a week. If you have special circumstances that preclude you from doing that, we are open to discussing other options. The specific dates and times that you will be required to attend the institute will be established on a case-by-case basis with your supervisor.

06. Is there a tuition fee? Will I be enrolled at the university? Will I receive a diploma or degree upon completion of the internship?

No, there is no tuition fee as you will not be enrolled in a diploma or degree granting program at a university. You will be an intern at the institute, working directly with a supervisor rather than taking courses for credit.

FAQs about the application procedure | Last Updated: 06 May 2024

01. What documents do I need to include in addition to my CV and motivation letter?

In addition to your CV and motivation letter, please only include your university diploma and transcript. If you have a certificate of an English exam, you can also include it, though this is not obligatory.

02. Do I have to answer all the questions in the motivation letter template?

We want to make sure that you address all of the topics in the motivation letter as well as the questions in bold. The other questions are simply suggestions to give you a sense of the kind of information we are looking for in that section.

03. Can I submit provisional documents if I am still waiting for my official diploma?

Yes, absolutely.

04. Do I need to submit reference letters?

We require that you provide the names of 2 to 3 references. They may be asked to answer some questions about their experience working with you, but you will not need to present the reference letters with your initial application.

05. Who is a suitable reference? Can it be my friend?

We require that at least 1 but preferably 2 of your references be people that have supervised you (professor, internship supervisor, university mentor, etc) but you may provide an additional reference who has not supervised you if you believe they can provide a relevant characterization of how you work and perform in a work environment.

06. Is 1 reference enough if I don't have 2?

We strongly recommend that you provide at least 2 names of possible references.

FAQs about visa and logistics | Last Updated: 06 May 2024

01. What type of visa should I apply for?

If you are accepted for the 3-month internship, you should apply for a short-stay business visa. If you are accepted for the 6-month internship, you should apply for an apprentice visa.

02. When should I start my visa application?

As soon as possible, and no more than 10 working days after acceptance. Please notify us as soon as you apply for a visa and keep us updated of the process.

03. Will you help me get a visa?

We will provide guidance from our HR department and we will assist with any questions, providing as much information as we can. We will not be able to provide you with a lawyer or do any of the processing ourselves in your stead.

04. Can I extend my visa for holiday purposes?

No, you would have to apply for a separate visa for that.

05. Can I extend my stay in the Netherlands/ at the MPI?

No, not on the same visa. The contract will end after 3 months or 6 months depending on your internship.

06. Can I bring my family with me?

The short-stay business visa and apprentice visa usually do not allow for family members of the applicant to come to the Netherlands. If you need to bring family members along, let us know in the motivation letter and we will try to accommodate you.

07. Will the MPI pay for my visa?

We have a limited budget to cover visa costs. If you have been accepted for the internship, please consult with us about the specifics of your situation.

08. Will the MPI pay for my flight?

Yes. We will reimburse your travel costs to Nijmegen on arrival and from Nijmegen on departure. You will have to book your own ticket and get reimbursed after arrival. If this presents an obstacle, please contact us.

09. Will the MPI provide assistance in finding housing in Nijmegen?

Yes, we will provide assistance. We will be in touch with you about housing and other logistical issues after you’ve been accepted for the internship program.

General FAQs | Last Updated: 06 May 2024

01. Are there going to be info sessions in which I can ask my questions live?

There were Q&A Sessions on zoom on May 2nd at the following times:
 09:00-10:00 CEST for Asia and Australia
 10:00-11:00 CEST for the Middle East
 11:00-12:00 CEST for Africa
 15:00-16:00 CEST for Europe
 16:00-17:00 CEST for the American continent

(note: these are approximate geographic regions. You may attend a different session if you can’t make the time assigned to your region).

You can use https://time.is/CEST to convert to your local time zone.

You can join the sessions using the following zoom link:
Meeting ID: 650 5064 782

02. What is Nijmegen like? What is the cost of living?

Generally speaking, the cost of living in Nijmegen is quite high, but the stipend should cover them well enough. Nijmegen is a midsize (~170 thousand enhabitants) university city. It is the oldest city in the Netherlands. There is not a wide variety of food/restaurants available but there is a city center with several restaurants and there are several cities close by for weekend trips (~30 min to 2 hour train rides; 1.5 hours from Amsterdam). There is a lot of nature and hiking opportunities nearby.

03. What can I do to increase my chances?

First and foremost, we value honesty. The purpose of the application process is for us to understand what your goals are and how they fit with what the program and our institute can provide. Nevertheless, there are some common pitfalls which can be easily avoided. (1) Proofread. Typos and formatting issues give a negative impression that makes it difficult to evaluate a candidate objectively. Please make sure to avoid those. (2) Read carefully. We have carefully compiled instructions and templates for you. Please use them and follow their instructions as well as addressing what is expressed in the call. (3) Be specific. We want to know that you have clear goals for your time here and for how you will take advantage of the opportunity. We want to know what kind of work you would like to do, what skills you want to acquire, and what kind of research you're interested in.


Izabela Jordanoska

Project Coordinator
Language Development Department
+31 24 3521482
Izabela [dot] Jordanoska [at] mpi [dot] nl

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