PhD student position: Why does voice matter for speech communication?

PhD student position: Why does voice matter for speech communication?

Published Deadline Location
28 Feb 26 Mar Groningen

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Job description

As a PhD student you will collaborate with group members from diverse backgrounds, such as engineering, medical sciences, acoustics, psycholinguistics, cognitive psychology, and artificial intelligence. Additionally, you will be based in a lab that has active collaborations with national and international research groups. You will work toward a dissertation, and present your research in at least three contributions to peer reviewed international journals.

Project description
The project is part of an ongoing research program “It takes two to communicate: Voice perception and linguistic content” funded by a VICI grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw), with additional support from the Heinsius Houbolt Foundation.

Talker voice differences represent a significant component of speech communication. Importantly, talkers’ voices convey information about the talker, such as aspects of their identity (sex, age, place of origin) and emotional state (are they angry? happy?). Talkers’ voices can also directly contribute to speech comprehension in noise, by allowing listeners to track and separate a talker’s voice from interfering talkers (cocktail-party listening). Although voice perception and speech comprehension appear to be linked, the nature of this link and its consequences for hearing-impaired individuals, with or without hearing devices, are not fully understood.

This project will investigate the perception of talker voice information and linguistic information for speech comprehension. The goals of the project are to 1) better understand the interaction of talker voice and linguistic information in speech comprehension, 2) identify the role of voice perception in speech comprehension, and 3) explore the effects of long-term experience and learning in voice perception in diverse listener populations. These goals will be obtained using an interdisciplinary approach, implementing psychoacoustic behavioral, and eye-tracking/EEG techniques.

The project will be supervised by Dr. Thomas Koelewijn and Prof. dr. Deniz Baskent. For more information about the research group, please see:
For information about the department and UMCG, visit:


University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG)


- Master’s degree in hearing and speech sciences, cognitive psychology, psycholinguistics, neuroscience, biomedical engineering, physics, or other related fields.
- Programming experience with Matlab, Python, or other related programming tools.
- Experience in analyzing data and statistics.
- Motivation and excitement for pursuing research questions and writing publications.
- Inquisitive, critical, and independent research attitude.
- Excellent communication skills and ability to work in a team.
- Interest in working in a multidisciplinary and international environment.
- Preferred: Proficiency or willingness to learn Dutch.

The UMCG has a preventive Hepatitis B policy. The UMCG can provide you with the vaccination, should it be required for your position.

In case of specific professions a ‘Certificate of Good Conduct’ is required.

Conditions of employment

The duration of the position is three years to be concluded with a PhD examination. It concerns a full-time appointment (1 fte, 36 h/week) for one year, renewable for an additional two years. After one year, the performance of the candidate will be evaluated to decide whether there is sufficient progress to expect a successful completion of the PhD thesis. We are aiming for a starting date of June 2020, with some flexibility.

Your salary is € 2.422,- gross per month in the first year up to a maximum of € 2.961,- gross per month in the last third year (scale PhD), depending on your qualifications and relevant experience, based on a full-time appointment. In addition, the UMCG will offer you 8% holiday pay, and 8.3% end-of-year bonus. The conditions of employment comply with the Collective Labour Agreement for Medical Centres (CAO-UMC). English:

Our research group is fully committed to equal opportunities.

More Information
For more details on the project, the prospective candidates can contact:
- Dr. Thomas Koelewijn, Speech Perception Research, e-mail: (please do not use for applications)
- Prof. Deniz Baskent, Speech Perception Research, e-mail: (please do not use for applications)

How to apply
Please use the digital application form at the UMCG website link – only these will be processed. Immediately after sending the digital application form you will receive an email confirmation with further information.

Submit the following documents:
- A copy of your CV including the names and contact information of two references (one of them preferably your advisor from your Master’s project or another research project).
- A short motivation letter; please include why you are interested in this position and why you are a good candidate.
- An example of a previously written report or journal article.

You can apply until 27 March 2020. Interviews will be held on 9 April 2020. You will be notified before 4 April 2020 whether or not you will be invited.



A PhD position is available within the speech perception research group of the Otorhinolaryngology Department of University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG). UMCG is one of the largest academic hospitals in the Netherlands. More than 13,000 employees provide patient care, are involved in medical education, and perform cutting-edge scientific research focused around the theme of ‘Healthy and Active Ageing’. Research at the UMCG is characterized by close interactions between fundamental and patient-oriented clinical research.

The Otorhinolaryngology Department and the research program "Healthy Aging and Communication" aim at a better understanding of hearing disorders with the goal to contribute to their relief. This research program combines fundamental research on hearing with cross-disciplinary approaches to explore interactions between hearing and other factors, such as cognitive processing, aging, and signal processing in hearing aids and cochlear implants.


  • PhD; Research, development, innovation
  • Health
  • University graduate
  • 200150


University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG)

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Hanzeplein 1, 9713 GZ, Groningen

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