IMPRS Graduate School

The International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) for Language Sciences


The IMPRS for Language Sciences is a joint initiative of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and two research institutes based at Radboud University; the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour and the Centre for Language Studies.


The purpose of the IMPRS for Language Sciences is to bring together outstanding doctoral students from diverse disciplines in the language sciences on campus, and offer them high-quality training in an environment that both broadens their interdisciplinary experience and helps them to complete their PhD theses on time.

Language plays too central a role in human affairs to be the preserve of any single discipline. The IMPRS for Language Sciences constitutes an interdisciplinary framework that integrates knowledge, methods, and techniques from linguistics, psychology, neuroscience, genetics, physics, mathematics, computer science, and artificial intelligence - disciplines that are embedded in four different faculties at Radboud University (Arts, Science, Social Sciences, and Medical Sciences) and at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.

The IMPRS brings together excellent doctoral students from different backgrounds to:

  • Build and sustain strong links between language science researchers at the relevant leading institutions on the Nijmegen campus; the MPI for Psycholinguistics, the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, and the Centre for Language Studies at Radboud University.
  • Train excellent young scientists in an interdisciplinary environment where ideas, expertise, and methods are freely exchanged in order to provide the essential conceptual and technical knowledge to start new lines of research that would otherwise not be possible.
  • Recruit at the widest possible international level.
  • Foster an international network of young scientists who will support each other throughout their doctoral studies and beyond.
Partner Institutes

The IMPRS for Language Sciences is a collaboration between three partner institutions located on the Radboud University campus in Nijmegen; The MPI for Psycholinguistics, the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour at Radboud University, and the Centre for Language Studies, also at Radboud University. These three partners have been successfully collaborating on the IMPRS for Language Sciences since 2009.

The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics has been furthering interdisciplinary research into the psychological, social, and biological foundations of language since 1980. The research conducted here combines perspectives from linguistics, psychology, the brain sciences, genetics, and other disciplines such as anthropology, informatics, medicine, and acoustics.

The Centre for Language Studies is a top-rated research institute of the Faculty of Arts at Radboud University and is one of the University’s ten Centres of Excellence. It is home to over 150 highly talented and successful researchers who share one mission: to achieve a deeper understanding of the nature of language and the way it functions by explicitly connecting and integrating research on the cognitive and social processes underlying language systems, language processing, language use, and language acquisition. 

The Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, also part of Radboud University, was founded in 1999. It combines the Centre for Cognition, the Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging, the Centre for Neuroscience and the Centre for Medical Neuroscience. The DI is a leading centre of expertise, with over 700 researchers covering the full spectrum of psychology and neuroscience, “from molecule to man to population”.


Scientific staff participate in the School’s management and organisation. Scientists from all three institutions are involved at a range of levels, from elected pastoral roles to participation in management and admission committees. This safeguards the integrity of the School’s governance and the School’s offerings.

The IMPRS cooperates with other graduates schools, both on the Nijmegen campus and more broadly as part of the Netherlands-wide Language in Interaction consortium. The coordinator maintains contact with the Radboud-based coordinators of the Donders Graduate School and the Graduate School of the Humanities to discuss developments in their respective programmes and to collaborate on activities of shared interest. Together, the coordinators ensure that the training requirements remain consistent and complementary, paying specific attention to the number of required ECs and the monitoring of students’ progress.

Admission & Recruitment

Students are recruited for the IMPRS for Language Sciences in two ways:

  • Route 1: They are nominated by the hiring supervisor at one of the three partner institutes because they are outstanding students about to embark on a PhD in language sciences
  • Route 2: They are recruited specifically for the school through an IMPRS for Language Sciences fellowship (three positions available per year)


Formal activities for each year’s cohort begin on 1 September. However, the IMPRS for Language Sciences is aware that students do not always start their PhD programmes at the same time. New cohorts start each year as soon as the first PhD student begins, and those early students receive support and are fully involved prior to the start of the rest of their cohort.




Kevin Lam

Research Coordinator
International Max Planck Research School
+31 24 3521549
Kevin [dot] Lam [at] mpi [dot] nl

Every year, we welcome a new cohort to our International Max Planck Research School for Language Sciences and take them on a journey of scientific and self-discovery.

A group of IMPRSers share their personal insights on what it’s like to be part of the School and impart some advice on how to make the most of doctoral training.

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