PhD Candidate: Machine Learning for Identifying Predictive Factors of Cognitive Decline and Treatment Response

PhD Candidate: Machine Learning for Identifying Predictive Factors of Cognitive Decline and Treatment Response

Published Deadline Location
18 Jan 10 Mar Nijmegen

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Job description

A PhD candidate to develop and apply machine learning and statistical techniques for identifying non-invasive markers for cognitive decline and multi-domain lifestyle intervention response within the crossover research project 'Maintaining Optimal Cognitive Function In Ageing' (MOCIA), funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO) and coordinated by Radboud University. MOCIA focuses on identifying increased risk of cognitive decline and improving prevention through the development of a personalised lifestyle approach. MOCIA will design a predictive, preventive, personalised and participatory multi-domain lifestyle intervention for older adults at risk of cognitive decline. The programme brings together various disciplines, such as nutrition, lifestyle, behavioural science, clinical research, epidemiology, mathematics, biology, industrial design and technology to help achieve maintaining a healthy brain, good long and short-term memory, increased concentration and greater flexibility. MOCIA involves a public-private partnership with members from eight knowledge institutes and eight co-financing parties. In addition to Radboud University, it includes the Radboud university medical center, Wageningen University & Research, the University of Twente, Maastricht University, Amsterdam University Medical Center, University Medical Center Groningen and HAN University of Applied Sciences. The co-financing parties are Danone Nutricia Research, IMEC (OnePlanet Research Centre), DSM Nutritional Products, Salut (a VGZ spin-off), Hersenstichting, Reckitt Benckiser/Mead Johnson Nutrition, Alzheimer Nederland and Wageningen Food and Biobased Research. The project has a total budget of € 9.17 million, of which € 6.25 million is financed by NWO.

The data science group at iCIS is involved as leader of the work package 'Non-invasive markers for cognitive decline and intervention response'. The main objective of this work package is to identify non-invasive modifiable risk and protective factors and to design scoring tools to quantify risk of cognitive decline. We are looking for a candidate who is excited to perform collaborative research within such a large, multidisciplinary consortium. More particularly, you will develop and validate AI algorithms to unravel individual differences in cognitive decline and intervention response. You will combine non-invasive modifiable risk and protective factors in reliable scoring tools through predictive AI models to quantify risk of cognitive decline on a personal level and to analyse the effect on an intervention in relatively short periods. You will use the developed scoring tools to identify multi-modal non-invasive markers.


Radboud University


  • A Master's degree in Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Mathematics or a related discipline.
  • Good programming skills in Python or similar computer languages.
  • Affinity with machine learning and statistics.
  • A good command of spoken and written English.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term 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 (4 year contract).

  • Employment:  1.0 FTE.
  • The gross starting salary amounts to €2,395 per month based on a 38-hour working week, and will increase to €3,061 in the fourth year onwards (salary scale P).
  • In addition to the salary: an 8% holiday allowance and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • Duration of the 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.
  • The intended start date is 1 April 2021.
  • Your education task may be up to 10% of your appointment.
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Care Services. Our Dual Career and Family Care Officer can assist you with family-related support, help your partner or spouse prepare for the local labour market, provide customized support in their search for employment  and help your family settle in Nijmegen.
  • Have a look at our excellent employment conditions. They include a good work-life balance (among other things because of the excellent leave arrangements), opportunities for development and a great pension scheme.


Radboud University

We want to get the best out of science, others and ourselves. Why? Because this is what the world around us desperately needs. Leading research and education make an indispensable contribution to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. This is what unites the more than 22,000 students and 5,000 employees at Radboud University. And this requires even more talent, collaboration and lifelong learning. You have a part to play!


Faculty of Science

You will be appointed at the Data Science section of the Institute for Computing and Information Sciences (ICIS). During recent evaluations, ICIS has been consistently ranked as the No. 1 Computing Science department in the Netherlands. Evaluation committees praised our flat and open organisational structure, our ability to attract external funding, our strong ties to other disciplines, and our strong contacts with government and industrial partners. The Data Science group is well known for its research in machine learning, and is part of a unit of the European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems (ELLIS).


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • max. €3061 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1138472



Houtlaan 4, 6525 XZ, Nijmegen

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