PhD position “Why does voice matter for speech communication?”

PhD position “Why does voice matter for speech communication?”

Published Deadline Location
27 Sep 25 Oct Groningen

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Job description

The project is part of a new 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 a VENI grant from the NWO and funds 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, psycholinguistic behavioral, and neuroimaging techniques.
The project will be supervised by Prof. Dr. Deniz Baskent, along with research group members Dr. Etienne Gaudrain and Dr. Terrin N. Tamati. For more information about Prof. Dr. Deniz Baskent and the research group, please see For information about the department and UMCG, visit


University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG)


Required qualifications:
- Master’s degree in hearing and speech sciences, psychology, psycholinguistics, neuroscience, biomedical engineering, physics, or other related fields.
- Programming experience, with Matlab, Python, or other related programming tools.
- Motivation and excitement for pursuing research questions.
- 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. You may be required to build up sufficient protection against Hepatitis B before you can be appointed. Vaccination is provided by the UMCG if necessary.

Conditions of employment

The duration of the contract is four years to be concluded with a PhD examination. It concerns a full time appointment (36 h/week). 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.
Your salary will be € 2.279,- gross per month in the first year, and up to a maximum of € 2.919,- gross per month in the last (fourth) year (PhD scale). In addition, the UMCG will offer you 8% holiday pay, an 8.3% end-of-year bonus and a development budget. The conditions of employment comply with the Collective Labour Agreement of Medical Centers (CAO-UMC).
Our research group is fully committed to equal opportunities.

More information
For more information about this vacancy you may contact prof. D. Baskent ( or dr. T.N. Tamati (, phone +31-50-3612665
(please do not use e mail adresses for applications)

To apply
Applying for a job
Please use the digital application form at the bottom of this page. Only applications submitted here will be processed, please do not send them to the supervisors.
The application package will have:
- A copy of your CV.
- 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 25 October 2017.
Immediately after sending the digital application form you will receive an email confirmation with further information.



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 12.000 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.
As a PhD student you will collaborate with group members from diverse backgrounds, such as engineering, medical sciences, acoustics, psycholinguistics, 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 four contributions to high-impact international journals.


  • PhD; Research, development, innovation
  • Health
  • University graduate
  • 170564


University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG)

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Hanzeplein 1, 9713 GZ, Groningen

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