Max Planck Research Group Leader Position

Max Planck Research Group Leader Position

Published Deadline Location
16 Nov 5 Jan Nijmegen

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The Language Development Department at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands (Director: Caroline Rowland) is seeking applications for a Max Planck Group Leader (W2 BBesG).

Job description

The Group Leader is expected to develop an independent research program within the Department. For this, they will receive their own annual budget that will fund research staff (enough to cover one postdoctoral researcher or two PhD students) and running costs. They will also receive a generous start-up package for equipment, an annual conference and travel budget, and access to state-of-the art research and training facilities.

They will be supported to apply for external grants if they wish to supplement their core research funds, but this is not a requirement of the post. There are no required teaching responsibilities but they will have the opportunity to teach on the Masters courses of Radboud University if they wish.

The initial appointment is for five years, with the possibility of a permanent position after international review (tenure-track). A part-time position is possible in negotiation.


Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics



  • A strong background in research on first language(s) acquisition. Priority will be given to candidates whose skills, interests and experiences complement those of the current Director (Caroline Rowland).
  • A PhD in cognitive neuroscience, cognitive science, computer science, linguistics, psychology or a related discipline.
  • A proven ability to publish high quality, innovative research on language acquisition.
  • Proven supervision and research leadership experience, which may include supervision of students, research staff and/or early career postdoctoral researchers.
  • Evidence of the ability or potential to develop an independent research program that complements the research at the Department and contributes to its long-term goal to identify how children learn to communicate with language.


  • Evidence of the potential to make a substantial contribution to the Institute’s mission, and to develop collaborations with other departments at the Institute, other institutes within the Max Planck Society, and/or external partners.
  • Evidence of a commitment to Open Science and to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

Conditions of employment

  • The position is available from 1st September 2024. The start date is flexible but the candidate should be in post by 1st January 2025 at the latest.
  • Full-time position (41 hours per week) with an initial term of appointment of 5 years and with the possibility of a permanent position after international review (tenure-track). A part-time position is possible in negotiation.
  • The Institute is part of a German organisation, so the salary is based on remuneration group W2 of the German Federal Civil Service Remuneration Act [Bundesbesoldungsgesetz - BBesG]. Potential salary is difficult to estimate because it depends on the qualifications and experience of the applicant, and is usually increased by family, appointment/retention and performance-related payments. However, more information about what to expect from a W2 salary can be found here under ‘responsibilities and salary’.
  • All employees have 6 weeks annual leave (pro rata for part-time employees) plus national holidays.
  • All research staff have access to state-of-the art research and training facilities and a generous conference and travel budget. 
  • The job includes co-supervision of junior researchers, but no other teaching obligations.


The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is a world-leading research institute devoted to interdisciplinary studies of the science of language and communication, including departments on genetics, psychology, development, neurobiology and multimodality of these fundamental human abilities.

We investigate how children and adults acquire their language(s), how speaking and listening happen in real time, how the brain processes language, how the human genome contributes to building a language-ready brain, how multiple modalities (as in speech, gesture and sign) shape language and its use in diverse languages, and how language is related to cognition and culture, and shaped by evolution.

We are part of the Max Planck Society, an independent non-governmental association of German-funded research institutes dedicated to fundamental research in the natural sciences, life sciences, social sciences, and the humanities.

Our institute is situated on the campus of the Radboud University and has close collaborative links with the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour and the Centre for Language Studies at Radboud University.  We also work closely with other child development researchers as part of the Baby & Child Research Center.

The MPI for Psycholinguistics recognises the positive value of diversity, promotes equality and challenges discrimination. We are committed to redressing systemic problems with diversity in science, and therefore welcome applications from individuals from minority groups and from groups that are otherwise under-represented.


The research of the Language Development Department focuses on how children learn to communicate with language, how the developing brain supports this process, and how it is affected by cross-linguistic, cultural and individual variation. Research broadly falls into three themes, though many projects address multiple themes: 

  • Language in the brain: studies focus on the nature and function of the brain’s learning and processing mechanisms.
  • Languages across the world: studies focus on the role of the multimodal environment and its effects on acquisition across languages and cultures.
  • Language over development: studies focus on mapping and explaining the trajectory of language development, acknowledging that developmental systems are characterised by constant and dynamic change.

In addition, the department’s Innovations team produces methodological primers, web- and app-based assessment tools, and pipelines for the semi-automatic analysis of day-long recordings.


  • Research, development, innovation; Management
  • Health; Language and culture; Behaviour and society; Engineering
  • max. 41 hours per week
  • Doctorate
  • PA MPI 20231116


Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics

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Wundtlaan 1, 6525 XD, Nijmegen

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