IMPRS PhD Fellowship 2020

Psychology of Language

The International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) for Language Sciences is offering one fully-funded PhD Fellowship for four years (2020-2024) with a preferred start-date of 1 September 2020.

We welcome highly qualified and promising applicants to apply for the opportunity to conduct a PhD project within the newly established Language and Computation in Neural Systems Group at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics

Project description

The PhD project “LANGUAGE PROCESSING IN BIOLOGICAL & ARTIFICIAL NEURAL NETWORKS” aims to investigate the representation and processing of spoken language in biological and artificial neural systems using a theory-driven approach informed by advanced techniques in cognitive computational neuroscience. The project will be headed by Dr. Andrea E. Martin (research group leader), a second supervisor, and Prof. dr. Antje Meyer as promotor.

What we expect from you

For this project, we seek an exceptional student with a talent and inclination for first class research as part of a PhD studentship in cognitive computational neuroscience. The position is funded by the LaCNS Group and investigates the representation and processing of language in biological and artificial neural systems.

Candidates should have a high quality Research Master’s degree* in cognitive science, cognitive neuroscience, computer science, experimental or mathematical psychology, linguistics or another relevant field of study. Masters degrees should involve several months of experience and training on a scientific project. Data analysis skills in scripting and handling neuroscientific datasets and computational modelling will be an advantage. Candidates should have a strong interest in the computational basis of language processing in the brain. Familiarity with research methods in computational cognitive science and cognitive computational neuroscience is desirable.

The business of the institute and school is conducted in English, and candidates should have excellent written and spoken command of this language. Applicants who are not native speakers of English are required** to submit proof of English proficiency through one of the recognised test providers (IELTS Academic, TOEFL, or Cambridge English – CAE or CPE). In all cases, applicants should have an average score or higher for each component tested. Invited candidates will be informally assessed during the interviews.

*Successful candidates must be in possession of their master’s degree or have completed their degree requirements prior to the start-date. The preferred start-date is 1 September 2020. A later date is negotiable if all parties agree to it, but may be no later than November 1.

**Exemptions may apply; e.g., if (1) your most recent study programme was fully administered in an officially English-speaking country; or (2) you have previously taken one of the three recognised tests within the last 5 years. In the first case, please include a certified statement from your programme coordinator. In the second case, please include a copy of the certificate or score report.

What we offer you

The PhD position is fully funded for 4 years with an annual gross salary of approx. €32,800 including an annual holiday allowance. Salaries are in accordance with the German wage agreement for public servants (Tarifvertrag für den Öffentlichen Dienst, TVöD) at salary group level E13-1. 

Our MPI is an equal opportunities employer. Applications from under-represented minorities, women, and people with disabilities are particularly encouraged.

LaCNS provides in addition fully equipped research facilities, technical support, as well as a conference and travel budget. Your educational training programme will be provided by the International Max Planck Research School for Language Sciences, and involves both core and individually chosen coursework to complement the PhD research, and training in soft skills such as writing and presentation.

Radboud University, our partner university, will issue the doctoral degree through the faculty at which the promoting professor in the supervisory committee is appointed. You may wish to consult the doctoral regulations of the RU.

Work environment

The MPI in Nijmegen is an internationally recognized, leading research institute, with a stimulating environment, excellent facilities and resources. LaCNS uses state-of-the-art methods and theory-driven investigation to study the neurocomputational basis of speech and language comprehension in biological and artificial neural networks; it also benefits from close connection to the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition, and Behaviour at Radboud University.

Application process (updated 8 Jan)

**** We are no longer accepting applications. ****

A complete application includes the following information, saved as YourFirstnameLastname.pdf:

  • statement of why you are interested in this post and a good match for the post (max. 500 words);
  • CV including publication list;
  • transcripts in English (notarised copies not necessary until a letter of offer is presented);
  • names, e-mail addresses and contact numbers of three referees who would be willing to provide letters of recommendation.   


Please send your application* to imprs [at] (subject: IMPRS%20Fellowship%202020%20Application) with subject header IMPRS Fellowship 2020 Application before Wednesday noon (CET), 8 January 2020. A confirmation e-mail will be sent either before or after the vacation period (13 Dec 2019 - 5 Jan 2020).

Incomplete and late applications will be automatically disqualified. Requests for extensions will not be entertained.

Skype interviews are scheduled for 10 & 17 February 2020.
On-site** interviews are scheduled for 30 March 2020.
Final offers are expected to be made by mid-April 2020.
The timeline is subject to change without prior notice. Kindly check back regularly.

The members of the selection committee are:


*By sending us an e-mail with the requested information, you agree to allow us to store and process your data for the stated purpose, which will be done in compliance with the privacy regulations outlined in the GDPR. All data will be deleted on 1 June 2020. Should you wish to have your data removed prior to this scheduled deletion date, kindly send your imprs [at] (subject: Application%20Data%20Removal) (request) with subject header Application Data Removal. Consult our privacy policy for further details.

**Applicants are responsible for securing valid travel documents (e.g., visa, passport, etc.).
Those anticipating long travel times should consider arriving a few days earlier.
Travel and accommodation costs, where applicable, will be reimbursed.


Please send an e-mail with subject header IMPRS Fellowship 2020 Inquiry to imprs [at] (subject: IMPRS%20Fellowship%202020%20Inquiry) .

Due to the festive holidays, you are strongly advised to submit inquiries well before 13 Dec 2019 in order to receive a timely response. The IMPRS Office will be closed between 13 Dec 2019 - 5 Jan 2020.

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