PhD candidate position to investigate neural processes of visual surface perception in humans

PhD candidate position to investigate neural processes of visual surface perception in humans

Published Deadline Location
22 Sep 23 Oct Maastricht

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A PhD candidate position is available at Maastricht University on the topic of human visual surface perception. The position is funded by an NWO Open Competition grant awarded to prof. P. De Weerd and team members (Prof. A Sack, Prof. F. De Martino, Dr. V. van de Ven, and Dr. M Roberts). All research will take place in the Cognitive Neuroscience Department (CN) at the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience (FPN). The planned research involves fMRI, which will take place at Scannexus ( The planned research also involves TMS, which will take place in dedicated labs at CN/FPN.

Job description

We are seeking candidates for a Ph.D. position aimed at investigating the neural processing of visual surface perception using 3T as well as (laminar) functional MRI (fMRI) at 7T. The primary tasks and responsibilities of the selected candidate will be to contribute actively in experimental design, acquisition, and analysis of behavioral, fMRI and TMS data. All research is embedded within the CN department, and both the fMRI scanning facilities ( and the TMS laboratories ( are in close proximity to the CN department on the Randwyck Campus. The selected candidate will be supervised by above-mentioned researchers, and will also actively learn from the large community of PhD students in the CN department.

The primary goal of the project is to investigate neural correlates of surface perception by means of visual illusions. In particular, (layer-specific) representations in low-level visual areas during the experience of the surface illusions will be investigated in the context of interactions with high-level visual areas, and the contributions of various nodes in the neural network involved in surface perception will be tested using TMS.


Maastricht University (UM)


Candidates will be considered with a demonstrable interest in (visual) sensory processing in the brain, and with a MSc degree in one of the following or related disciplines: (Cognitive) Neuroscience, Neuropyschology or equivalent, (Biomedical) Engineering, Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics or equivalent.

In addition to these requirements, the ideal candidate would possess all or most of the following qualifications:

  • A genuine interest in visual perception;
  • Proficiency in scientific programming (e.g., Matlab, Python);
  • Background and proficiency in statistics and signal analysis;
  • Background in and experience with the collection and analysis of psychophysical data;
  • Background in and experience with the acquisition and analysis of 3T (and 7T) fMRI data;
  • Background in and experience with the application of experimental TMS manipulations;
  • Background and proficiency in functional connectivity analysis (e.g., DCM);
  • Background in and experience in the application of machine learning/decoding to fMRI data;
  • Excellent oral and written English communication;
  • Strong motivation and drive paired with the ability to work independently;
  • Strong motivation and drive to acquire new background and skills;
  • Ability and desire to work cooperatively in the research team and the department at large.

Conditions of employment

The full-time position is offered for four years (1+3), with a yearly evaluation.

Your salary would be € 2,541 gross per month in the first year, and growing towards up to € 3,247 gross per month in the fourth year according to the PhD-candidate salary scale. Your salary is supplemented with an 8% holiday and an 8.3% year-end allowance.

The terms of employment of Maastricht University are set out in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local UM provisions also apply. For more information please consult  > About UM > Working at UM.


Maastricht University

Maastricht University is renowned for its unique, innovative, problem-based learning system, which is characterized by a small-scale and student-oriented approach. Research at UM is characterized by a multidisciplinary and thematic approach, and is concentrated in research institutes and schools. Maastricht University has around 22,000 students and 5,000 employees. Reflecting the university's strong international profile, a fair amount of both students and staff are from abroad. The university hosts 6 faculties: Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Faculty of Law, School of Business and Economics, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience.
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Department of Cognitive Neuroscience (CN)

Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Faculty of Psychology & Neuroscience, Maastricht University, The Netherlands

The candidate will administratively be embedded in the Perception, Attention & Learning section of the Cognitive Neuroscience department.

Research at the Department of Cognitive Neuroscience is embedded into the Maastricht Brain Imaging Centre, consisting of 9 research lines/groups. The research within the Department combines the study of human perception and cognition with the development of advanced methods in neuroscience. Various brain-imaging methods are employed to understand, predict, and change human behaviour. M-BIC tests and develops new theories of normal and abnormal neural information processing, with special attention to brain plasticity, perception and cognition.


  • PhD; Research, development, innovation
  • Natural sciences; Engineering; Behaviour and society
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • AT2022.406


Maastricht University (UM)

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