PhD Projects

To trigger and reward research that is more than “business as usual”, all PhD positions within our consortium are distributed through an internal open competition. This keeps flexibility and quality of our consortium as high as possible. PIs directly involved in LiI are invited by the LiI Scientific Board to submit standardized, short research proposals. Central criteria for evaluation of the proposals are scientific quality, innovative potential, interdisciplinary character, contribution to the overarching quest of our research consortium as a whole and the presence of the relevant scientific expertise. As such, new, collaborative, innovative, interdisciplinary research at the cutting edge of the field is encouraged between individual LiI members.

Until December 2016, three internal PhD calls have been completed. Out of 41 submitted proposals, 22 have been awarded. The awarded proposals are collaborations both within and between work packages. Every project represents a new, innovative, interdisciplinary collaboration between two PI-members of our consortium, represented in the connectome below. In addition, three PhD positions attached to our tenure tracks have been filled.

For stepping up the consortium wide collaborations, from 2017 onward, the research in our consortium has been clustered around five Big Questions (BQs). The BQs are considered as central to our understanding of the human language faculty, and questions where the LiI-members believe the consortium can make significant steps forward in answering them. The BQs form the skeleton for the formation of collaborative teams of researchers. Our BQs include another eight PhD positions.

More details on all our PhD positions can be found below and by following the links.




Connectome of PhD projects awarded in the first three internal PhD calls. Every arrow connects, and therefore represents, the work packages to which the two main applicants are officially assigned.
In addition, three PhD positions (nrs 17 & 19 & 25) attached to our tenure tracks have been filled.

Numbers represent project numbers as referred to in the text.


PhD position 1
Feedback loops in learning to perceive and produce non-native speech contrasts

PIs: James McQueen (WP1) and Peter Desain (WP7)
PhD-candidate: Jana Krutwig
Start date: 16 June 2014

PhD position 2
Driving forces behind perceptual adaptation in speech

PIs: Anne Cutler (WP1) and Elia Formisano (WP1)
PhD-candidate: Shruti Ullas
Start date: 16 June 2014

PhD position 3
Language regions in Interaction: An investigation of directional connectivity in the human language system using laminar fMRI

PIs: David Norris (WP6) and Peter Hagoort (WP3)
PhD-candidate: Daniel Sharoh
Start date: 01 August 2014

PhD position 4
Basal ganglia thalamocortical mechanisms of cognitive control in speaking
PIs: Ardi Roelofs (WP4) and Roshan Cools (WP4)
PhD-candidate: Marpessa Rietbergen
Start date: 01 September 2014

PhD position 5
The Babel Problem: The genesis and maintenance of diversity in human language

PIs: Steve Levinson (WP5) and Pieter Muysken (WP5)
PhD-candidate: Luis Miguel Rojas Berscia
Start date: 01 September 2014

PhD position 6
Sharpening sensory predictions by linguistic primes

PIs: Harold Bekkering (WP4) and Rolf Zwaan (WP4)
PhD-candidate: Lara Todorova
Start date: 01 September 2014

PhD position 7
Neurogenomics of vocal learning: decoding the functions of FoxPs in vocal perception and production learning

PIs: Carel ten Cate (WP5) and Simon Fisher (WP5)
PhD-candidate: Fabian Heim
Start date: 01 September 2014

PhD position 8
Giving speech a hand: how functional brain networks support gestural enhancement of language

PIs: Asli Özyürek (WP4) and Ole Jensen (WP6)
PhD-candidate: Linda Drijvers
Start date: 01 September 2014

PhD position 9
Neurocomputational mechanisms of communicative pointing

PIs: Ivan Toni (WP1) and Pieter Medendorp (WP4)
PhD-candidate: Tobias Winner
Start date: 15 October 2014

PhD position 10
Modelling and mapping generalization and knowledge acquisition in the hippocampal-prefrontal-thalamic circuit

PIs: Christian Döller (WP2) and Guillén Fernández (WP2)
PhD-candidate: Stephanie Theves
Start date: 01 February 2015

PhD position 11
Perception of multidimensional sounds in humans and birds: Are speech categories special?
PIs: Jean Vroomen (WP1) and Carel ten Cate (WP5)
PhD-candidate: Merel Burgering
Start date: 01 February 2015

PhD position 12
Neural processing of action, gesture and language in healthy and autistic individuals

PIs: Asli Özyürek (WP4) and Harold Bekkering (WP4)
PhD-candidate: James Trujillo
Start date: 01 February 2015

PhD position 13
Neurobiologically realistic computational models of language processing

PIs: Karl-Magnus Petersson (WP3) and Peter Hagoort (WP3)
PhD-candidate: Marvin Uhlmann
Start date: 01 February 2015

PhD position 14
Connectivity-based fingerprinting of memory and language network dynamics

PIs: Christian Beckmann (WP6) and Guillén Fernández (WP2)
PhD-candidate: Izabela Przezdzik
Start date: 16 February 2015

PhD position 15
Data driven investigation of intrinsic dynamic brain states underlying language processing

PIs: Nick Ramsey (WP6) and Peter Desain (WP7)
PhD-candidate: Julia Berezutskaya
Start date: 01 March 2015

PhD position 16
The Game of Language: Complex Communication and Mental States

PIs: Johan van Benthem (WP2)  and Ivan Toni (WP1)
PhD-candidate: Iris van de Pol
Start date: 01 April 2015

PhD position 17
Working towards a neurally plausible parser

PIs: Jelle Zuidema (Tenure Track)
PhD-candidate: Dieuwke Hupkes
Start date: 01 July 2015

PhD position 18
Processing vague expressions: The interplay between semantics, pragmatics and cognition

PIs: Robert van Rooij (WP2) and Herbert Schriefers (WP3)
PhD-candidate: Arnold Kochari
Start date: 01 September 2015

PhD position 19
Uncovering the mechanisms of language switching

PIs: Stefan Frank (Tenure Track) and Antal van den Bosch (WP7)
PhD-candidate: Chara Tsoukala
Start date: 01 September 2015

PhD position 20
How to slow down and speed up: the regulation of speech rate

PIs: Antje Meyer (WP5) and Mirjam Ernestus (WP1)
PhD-candidate: Joe Rodd
Start date: 01 February 2016

PhD position 21
Contributions of dorsal and ventral neural pathways to speaking in health and disease
PIs: Roy Kessels (WP6) and Ardi Roelofs (WP4)
PhD-candidate: Nikki Janssen
Start date: 01 February 2016

PhD position 22
Encoding and decoding the neural signatures of natural language comprehension
PIs: Antal van den Bosch (WP7) and Karl-Magnus Petersson (WP3)
PhD-candidate: Alessandro Lopopolo
Start date: 01 February 2016
PhD position 23
Genomics of speech and language disorders: the next generation
PIs: Han Brunner (WP6) and Simon Fisher (WP5)
PhD-candidate: Lot Snijders-Blok
Start date: 15 February 2016

PhD position 24
Do brain potentials reflect individuals’ potential to learn a second language?
Individual differences in language interaction during L2 acquisition
PIs: Niels Schiller (WP1) and James McQueen (WP1)
PhD-candidate: Lisette Jager
Start date: 01 March 2016
PhD Position 25
Language function in stroke and small vessel disease
PIs: Vitoría Piai (Tenure Track), Roy Kessels (WP6), and Frank-Erik de Leeuw (RUMC)
PhD-candidate: Ileana Camerino
Start date: March 01, 2017

PhD Position 26
Brains, machines & language: Using machine learning to learn about language processing in the brain
PIs: Jelle Zuidema (Tenure Track), Marcel van Gerven (BQ1), and R. Fernandez (BQ1)
PhD-candidate: Samira Abnar
Start date: April 01, 2017
PhD Position 27
Alignment in Dialogue at the Phonological, Syntactic and Semantic Levels
PIs: Ernestus and Schriefers
PhD-candidate: Lotte Eijk
Starting date: November 01, 2017
The Role of Subcortical Structures in Language
PIs: Roelofs and Piai
PhD-candidate: João Ferreira
Starting date: November 01, 2017
Modelling Psychological and Perceptual Aspects of the Mental Lexicon
PIs: Frank, Ernestus, Fernandez
PhD-candidate: Danny Merkx
Starting date: November 01, 2017
Anatomical and Connectopic Adaptations to Language: A Comparative Approach
PIs: Beckmann and Mars
PhD-candidate: Guilherme Freches
Starting date: November 01, 2017
Anatomical and Connectopic Adaptations to Language: A Comparative Approach
PIs: Özyürek and Dingemanse
PhD-candidate: Marlou Rasenberg
Starting date: November 01, 2017
Longitudinal normative modelling
PIs: Beckmann and Buitelaar
PhD-candidate: Christina Isakoglou
Starting date: March 01, 2018
Learning and Adaptation in Neurobiological Models of Language Processing
PIs: Petersson, Zuidema, and Hagoort
PhD-candidate: Alessio Quaresima
Starting date: February 01, 2019