PhD Candidate: UX Design-Inspired Visual Cortical Prosthetics Development at the Donders Centre for Cognition

PhD Candidate: UX Design-Inspired Visual Cortical Prosthetics Development at the Donders Centre for Cognition

Published Deadline Location
24 May 11 Jun Nijmegen

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Job description

The primary focus of this project is to refine our approach to developing visual cortical prostheses, aligning it more closely with user needs and expectations.

Visual cortical prostheses are devices designed to help restore some level of vision to blind individuals by directly stimulating the visual cortex of the brain. This process often involves using AI to interpret and encode visual data for effective communication to the brain. In the Neural Engineering Lab, we concentrate on this crucial step of interpreting and encoding visual data.

The current project will build upon a user-centric design philosophy that integrates artificial intelligence and a modular interface to enhance the prostheses' usability and adaptability. This challenging task requires a multidisciplinary approach and close collaboration between researchers with different specialisations across various institutes, as well as with current and potential users of the technology. As part of the project, we will gather insights and feedback from users to inform our method development process, for example through user interviews, online surveys and co-design workshops. Additionally, we will conduct practical testing with implant users in clinical trials to ensure the technology is effective and meets user needs in real-world scenarios. This collaborative and iterative approach will combine cutting-edge technology with user feedback to bridge the gap between innovative research and practical, tangible outcomes. The overarching goal is to enhance visual neuroprosthetic technology in ways that align with user needs and expectations.

As a PhD candidate, you will be responsible for conducting the research required to achieve the aforementioned project goals. Your duties will include designing and developing a platform for user interaction, conducting user interviews, identifying crucial user needs, developing AI methods to implement these needs, organising collaborative activities, running experiments with both normal-sighted and blind individuals, analysing experimental data, and reporting and presenting research findings through scientific publications and conference presentations, respectively. You will also have a 0.1 FTE teaching obligation and will be given the opportunity to attend courses at Radboud University, the Donders Graduate School, and NeurotechEU.


Radboud University


  • You should hold an MSc degree in AI, Cognitive Neuroscience, or a related field (or will obtain your degree before the project start date, 1 September 2024), with additional background in computer science, software engineering, or electrical engineering.
  • You possess excellent programming skills in Python and have experience with deep learning frameworks.
  • You also have experience or a demonstrable interest in UX design and running behavioural experiments with humans.
  • You demonstrate a keen interest in neurotechnology and visual perception.
  • You exhibit excellent communication skills and high proficiency in spoken and written English.
  • You are strong in teamwork and have good organisational skills.
  • You are internally motivated to perform research.
  • You are able and willing to travel to Spain for extended stays, depending on project needs, and to participate in collaborative research components.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

  • We will give you a temporary employment contract (1.0 FTE) of 1,5 years, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, your contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4-year contract).
  • You will receive a starting salary of €2,770 gross per month based on a 38-hour working week, which will increase to €3,539 in the fourth year (salary scale P).
  • You will receive an 8% holiday allowance and an 8,3% end-of-year bonus.
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Support Service. The Dual Career Programme assists your partner via support, tools, and resources to improve their chances of independently finding employment in the Netherlands. Our Family Support Service helps you and your partner feel welcome and at home by providing customised assistance in navigating local facilities, schools, and amenities. Also take a look at our support for international staff page to discover all our services for international employees.
  • You will receive extra days off. With full-time employment, you can choose between 30 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the statutory 20.

Work and science require good employment practices. This is reflected in Radboud University's primary and secondary employment conditions. You can make arrangements for the best possible work-life balance with flexible working hours, various leave arrangements and working from home. You are also able to compose part of your employment conditions yourself, for example, exchange income for extra leave days and receive a reimbursement for your sports subscription. And of course, we offer a good pension plan. You are given plenty of room and responsibility to develop your talents and realise your ambitions. Therefore, we provide various training and development schemes.


You will be part of the Neural Engineering Lab led by Dr Yağmur Güçlütürk, embedded in the AI Department at the Faculty of Social Sciences of Radboud University, and will also be involved in the Neural Computation and Neurotechnology research theme at the Donders Institute.

This is a highly collaborative project with opportunities to test developed algorithms within the cortical visual prosthesis clinical trials led by Prof. Fernandez at Miguel Hernández University in Spain. Periods of research activity at Miguel Hernández University are expected as part of the project.

The Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour is a world-class interfaculty research centre that houses more than 700 researchers devoted to understanding the mechanistic underpinnings of the human mind. Research at the Donders Institute is focused around four themes: 1. Language and communication, 2. Perception, action and control, 3. Plasticity and memory, 4. Neural computation and neurotechnology. Excellent, state-of-the-art research facilities are available for the broad range of neuroscience research that is being conducted at the Donders Institute. The Donders Institute has been assessed by an international evaluation committee as ‘excellent’ and recognised as a ‘very stimulating environment for top researchers, as well as for young talent’. The Donders Institute fosters a collaborative, multidisciplinary and supportive research environment with a diverse international staff. English is the lingua franca at the Institute.


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 24.035.24



Houtlaan 4, 6525XZ, Nijmegen

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