Two PhD candidate positions in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience

Two PhD candidate positions in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience

Published Deadline Location
30 Mar 15 May Maastricht

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Are you interested in working within a dynamic team to design brain and behavioral measures for improved early detection of dyslexia? Apply for our PhD positions!

Job description

Children’s reading development shows large variability. Reading problems (dyslexia) are currently diagnosed and treated after a child has failed to respond adequately to reading instruction, i.e., around 8-9 years. This is problematic because early intervention is crucial for optimal (reading) development and social opportunities. To enable earlier prediction of reading problems, within the PhD projects you will design tailored learning tasks to characterize individual differences between children’s neural and behavioral learning processes. In a follow-up post-doc project this knowledge will be used to develop a digital learning test in schools that predicts who will learn to read fluently and who will need extra support to prevent reading problems.

The two PhD projects are part of a larger project funded by an NWO Vici grant. Both PhD students will closely work together with a dedicated team of researchers, dyslexia professionals, teachers and children across different regions of the Netherlands. The positions will be based in the “Brain and Language” group at the Maastricht Brain Imaging Center (M-BIC), which offers cutting edge EEG and MRI research facilities. The M-BIC hosts a highly international and interdisciplinary team of researchers that is at the international forefront in applying brain imaging techniques to cognitive neuroscience questions. Your daily supervisor will be Milene Bonte (Maastricht University), in close collaboration with Jurgen Tijms (University of Amsterdam and RID dyslexia institutes), and Rogier Kievit (Radboud University Nijmegen).

As PhD student:

  • You actively participate in designing tailored learning tasks to investigate individual differences in children’s  behavioral and neural learning trajectories during reading development.
  • You will collect, analyze and interpret behavioral, EEG and/or functional MRI data in 5-9 year old children with/without familial risk of dyslexia.
  • You will closely collaborate with an (inter)national team of researchers and professionals in dyslexia healthcare and education as well as with children.
  • You will write scientific papers and present your findings to scientific and general audiences.
  • Based on your scientific papers you will write a PhD thesis.
  • You will closely work with the project’s lab coordinator to support them in the organization of the research and the communication with parents/children.
  • You will be involved in the organization of a symposium for researchers/professionals, and a symposium/experience days for children.  

Preferred starting date: September or October 2023.


Maastricht University (UM)


Master or research master (MSc) degree in cognitive neuroscience or a related field, such as psychology, neuropsychology, cognitive psychology, neuroscience, developmental science.

We are looking for talented candidates with a genuine interest in understanding individual differences in reading development and dyslexia. You have a strong motivation to conduct empirical research with children within a highly interdisciplinary and dynamic project team. Furthermore, you are enthusiastic about working with standard and advanced data analysis methods, and possess excellent English communication and writing skills. Basic Dutch understanding/speaking skills, or a willingness to learn, are an advantage. Preferably you already have hands-on research experience with neuroimaging techniques (e.g., EEG, MEG, or fMRI), advanced (longitudinal) statistical analysis techniques, and/or programming skills.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

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

Your salary will be € 2,541 gross per month in the first year up to € 3,247 gross per month in the fourth year according to the PhD-candidate salary scale. On top of this, there is an 8% holiday and an 8.3% year-end allowance.

In addition to good primary employment conditions, UM also offers an attractive package of secondary employment conditions.

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 look at the website > 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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  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • AT2023.149


Maastricht University (UM)

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Universiteitssingel 40, 6229 ER, Maastricht

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