PhD: The Cognitive and Interactional Infrastructure of Adaptive Language Use

PhD: The Cognitive and Interactional Infrastructure of Adaptive Language Use

Published Deadline Location
15 May 6 Jun Nijmegen

Job description

Like many other core human abilities, communication appears fairly straightforward, until we try to build artificial cognitive agents that can communicate effectively. Human language use is marked by its pragmatic flexibility, building on shared knowledge (a.k.a. common ground). In everyday situations, people quickly build common ground using pragmatic inferences. How they exactly do that turns out to be remarkably difficult to explain. For instance, state-of-the-art computational explanations either make unrealistic assumptions or fail to scale beyond toy domains to situations of real-world complexity. This poses a scientific puzzle. Together with a highly interdisciplinary team, you will study the formal theoretical aspects of this scientific puzzle and try to identify conditions under which it can and cannot be computationally solved efficiently and effectively. To this end, you will use a combination of formal modelling, computational complexity analysis and agent-based simulations.

You will be part of the Donders Graduate School for Cognitive Neuroscience.

Specifications

Radboud University

Requirements

You have an MSc degree in computer science, artificial intelligence, cognitive science or a related field, as well as a fascination for communication and how language, cognition and interaction contribute to our ability to reach common understanding. Since the project is theoretical in nature, a strong motivation to conduct a conceptually challenging theoretical research project in a highly interdisciplinary context will be critical for your success and enjoyment. Even more important than a degree or set of skills is how you approach doing science. For instance, do you like to sink your teeth in hard problems or philosophical debates? Are you comfortable reaching out to scientific fields outside your comfort zone? Do you like to program elegant algorithms and data structures? Then this project may suit you well.

Conditions of employment

  • employment: 0.8 - 1.0 FTE
  • the gross starting salary amounts to €2,325 per month, and will increase to €2,972 in the fourth year (P scale)
  • in addition to the salary: an 8% holiday allowance and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • term of contract: you will be appointed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years
  • UFO job profile: PhD Candidate
  • you will be able to make use of our Dual Career Service where our Dual Career Officer will assist with family related support, such as child care, and help your partner prepare for the local labour market and with finding an occupation

 
The intended start date is 1 September 2019.

Are you interested in our excellent employment conditions?

Employer

Strategically located in Europe, Radboud University is one of the leading academic communities in the Netherlands. A place with a personal touch, where top-flight education and research take place on a beautiful green campus in modern buildings with state-of-art facilities.

Department

FSW/Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
The project will be embedded in the Computational Cognitive Science group (Mark Blokpoel, Iris van Rooij) at the Donders Centre for Cognition, and involves a collaboration with the Elementary Particles of Conversation group (Mark Dingemanse) and the Intention & Action group (Ivan Toni).
 
The aim of the Computational Cognitive Science group is to advance the theoretical foundations of computational explanations in cognitive science. The Elementary Particles of Conversation group studies the interactional foundations of language use. The Intention & Action group studies the mechanisms supporting the integration of rules and perceptual processes into the sensorimotor machinery of the human brain.
 
The Donders Centre for Cognition is part of the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour. This institute is a world-class interfaculty research centre that houses more than 600 researchers devoted to understanding the mechanistic underpinnings of the human mind. Research in the Donders Institute is focused around four themes: 1. Language and communication, 2. Perception, action and control, 3. Plasticity and memory, 4. Brain networks and neuronal communication. Excellent, state-of-the-art research facilities are available for the broad range of research that is conducted at the Donders Institute. Recently, the Donders Institute was 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, supportive research environment with a diverse international staff. English is the lingua franca at the Institute.
 
Further information on Computational Cognitive Science
Further information on Iris van Rooij

Additional information

Dr. Iris van Rooij, Associate Professor
Telefoon: +31 24 361 26 45
i.vanrooij@donders.ru.nl

Dr. Mark Blokpoel, Postdoctoral Researcher
Telefoon: +31 24 361 26 52
m.blokpoel@donders.ru.nl

No commercial propositions please.

Specifications

  • PhD positions
  • Behaviour and Society
  • 30.4—38 hours per week, temporary
  • University Graduate
  • 24.29.19

Employer

Location

Comeniuslaan 4, 6525 HP, Nijmegen

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Application procedure

Due to current technical limitations this form presents a binary gender option. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. The Radboud University is committed to inclusivity and will change these application forms as soon as possible. We would like all applicants to know that we welcome applications from all genders.

Apply for this job

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Apply for this job via the employer's website.

This application process is managed by the employer (Radboud University). Please contact the employer for questions regarding your application.

Application procedure

Application procedure

Due to current technical limitations this form presents a binary gender option. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. The Radboud University is committed to inclusivity and will change these application forms as soon as possible. We would like all applicants to know that we welcome applications from all genders.

Make sure to apply no later than 6 Jun 2019.