Up to four Research Assistant Positions (0,5-1,0 fte)

Application deadline: April 07, 2019, 23:59 CET

Responsibilities
We are looking for highly motivated candidates to enrich a unique consortium of researchers that aims to understand both the universality and the variability of the human language faculty from genes to behavior. Currently, our consortium advertises up to 4 Research Assistant positions. These positions provide the opportunity for conducting world-class research as a member of an interdisciplinary team.

Your main tasks will be to prepare, conduct, and support the analysis of behavioral and/or neurobiological experiments. Specifically, your tasks involve the generation of stimuli, data preprocessing and archiving in SPSS/R/Matlab, as well as scheduling and testing participants in behavioural and MRI labs in Nijmegen. You will take part in novel and exciting projects designed to address how and why young adults differ in how they use language and why there are individual differences in language learning ability in children and adults. This position would enable the selected candidate(s) to advance their career in science (e.g. it would be excellent preparation for a PhD).

Work environment
The Netherlands has an outstanding track record in the language sciences. The research consortium ‘Language in Interaction’, sponsored by a large grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific research (NWO), brings together many of the excellent research groups in the Netherlands with a research program on the foundations of language.
We have identified five Big Questions (BQ) that are central to our understanding of the human language faculty. These questions are interrelated at multiple levels. Teams of researchers collaborate to collectively address these key questions of our field.

You will be member of Big Question 4 “Variability in language processing and in language learning
BQ4 aims to characterize variation in language processing and learning skills and to determine how these variations relate to variations 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 is developing a comprehensive battery of behavioral language tasks targeting sound, meaning, and grammatical processing of words and longer utterances during speaking and listening and general cognitive skills that involved in language tasks. The test battery will be tested in a large and diverse sample of young Dutch adults (18-30 years). A subset of the participants will also take part in neurobiological experiments (f/sMRI).
     Strand B uses variability in learning ability to investigate why second-language acquisition can become harder in adulthood. It consists 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 behavioral and neuroimaging techniques.

Depending on the candidates’ interests and background, they might support Strand A or B or both. The research is conducted in an international setting at all participating institutions. English is the lingua franca.

What we expect from you
You should minimally have a BA degree (or equivalent) in Psychology, Linguistics, Cognitive Neuroscience, (Special) Education, or another relevant field of study. You must have native or near native knowledge of Dutch and good knowledge of English. Previous experience with running experiments with human subjects (MRI experiments and/or behavioral experiments in psycholinguistics and/or human memory and/or individual differences) is required. Some experience with testing large numbers of participants would be ideal and good IT skills would be highly valued. Experience with testing children and adolescents would be an asset. Flexibility will be required with respect to working hours (testing will likely take place on specific days, including evenings and weekends). Most importantly, you should have good communicative and organizational skills and feel comfortable interacting with young persons, individually and in groups.

Applications from excellent candidates with a less than ideal profile will also be considered.

What we have to offer
A maximum of three of the offered positions will be held at the Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

  • Employment: between 0,5 and 1,0 fte;
  • the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) of Dutch University Medical Centres is applicable to this position;
  • Salary Scale 7: max €43252 gross per year at full employment (incl. vacation bonus and end of year payments)


One of the offered positions will be held at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

  • Employment: between 0,5 and 1,0 fte;
  • The salary is in accordance with the German TVöD (Tarifvertrag für den öffentlichen Dienst) and is classified in salary group E09 (depending on the experience of the applicant between
    €2,952.16 and €3,764.11 gross per month, based on a 39-hour working week).
  • An allowance of 30 days’ annual leave (based on a 39-hour contract); the German as well as the Dutch public holidays.
  • In addition to the salary: an 8% holiday allowance

Both involved institutes have a number of regulations that make it possible for employees to create a good work-life balance.

Other Information
Both institutes involved are equal opportunity employers, committed to building a culturally diverse intellectual community, and as such encourage applications from women and minorities.

Would you like to know more?
Further information on our Big Questions

For more information about this vacancy, please contact:
Prof. dr. Antje S. Meyer and/or Prof dr. James McQueen

Are you interested?
Please submit your application (attn. of Prof. dr. A Meyer and Prof. dr. J. McQueen) to Julia Verhoef (secretary of the LiI consortium; j.verhoef@donders.ru.nl) in electronic form. Your application should include (and be limited to) the following attachments:

  •  a cover letter,
  • your curriculum vitae, including the names of two persons who can provide references and, if applicable, a list of publications.

Please apply before April 07, 2019, 23:59 CET.

No commercial propositions please.