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Postdoctoral researcher in Cognitive Neuroscience (1.0 FTE) (219139)


Since its founding in 1614, the University of Groningen has enjoyed an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative centre of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. We encourage the 31,000 students and researchers to develop their own individual talents. Among the best research universities in Europe, we join forces with prestigious partner universities and networks around the world, the University of Groningen is truly an international place of knowledge.

The Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences is the university’s centre of knowledge focusing on individuals and society. Our focus is on issues relating to human behaviour, as well as the relationships between people and society as a whole. Part of the Faculty is the Department of Psychology, within which the expertise group of Experimental Psychology focuses on the cognitive underpinnings of human behaviour, as well as their neurophysiological correlates.

Job description

We are seeking a postdoctoral researcher to join our research project “Hidden brain states underlying efficient representations in working memory”, funded through the Open Research Area funding scheme of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. The project is part of an international research collaboration between partners at the University of Groningen, the University of Oxford, and the Ruhr University Bochum. In Groningen, the researcher will join the Cognitive and Perceptual Neuroscience research group headed by dr. Elkan Akyürek.

As its title implies, the research project is focused on human working memory, which not only serves to keep track of changes around us, but is also vital to our ability to learn. Despite its central role in cognition, the nature of storage space in working memory is not well-defined and is currently heavily debated. Even advanced measures of brain activity have so far not been able to provide decisive evidence. Fundamental challenges in measuring the neural correlates of working memory impede a better understanding of how memory limits arise and how they might be alleviated.

Past research has assumed working memory is represented in persistent neural activity; however, we argue that neural coding for working memory actually goes far deeper than such static activity states. Until recently, there was no obvious method to explore working memory representations beyond persistent delay activity, but a new technique (‘neural sonar’) we developed allows a fresh perspective on the underlying, hidden states of the neural network. In the project, we will apply our new approach to determine the fundamental nature of capacity limits in working memory, and how encoding, maintenance and working memory-guided decision making can be optimised for superior memory performance.


You should have:
• a PhD degree in cognitive neuroscience, or in a closely related discipline
• a promising research record in the field
• hands-on experience with brain electrophysiology, including acquisition and analysis
• proficiency with MATLAB and relevant extensions (e.g., EEGLAB, Psychtoolbox)
• a social, positive and dedicated attitude
• a good command of academic English
• the ambition to be part of a closely collaborating European research team.

Conditions of employment

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities
• a salary starting from a minimum of € 3,637 to a maximum of € 3,895 gross per month (salary scale 11.0 – 11.2)
• a full-time position (1.0 FTE)
• a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
• an 8.3% end-of-year bonus
• participation in a pension scheme for employees.

The 1.0 FTE appointment is temporary for a specified period of three years. The preferred starting date is between 1 May and 1 July 2019.

Do you meet our Qualification criteria? If yes, you can upload the following documents in one document.
• a letter of motivation explaining why you are suitable for the position (max. 1 page)
• a full curriculum vitae (including a list of publications)
• transcripts and copies of academic degrees (MA/MSc and PhD), or a statement from your PhD supervisor that you will have completed the PhD requirements before the appointment date
• contact details of two academic referees who are familiar with your work, and who can be contacted directly if further information is necessary.

You may apply for this position until 24 March 11:59pm / before 25 March 2019 Dutch local time by means of the electronic application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

Interviews are in the last week of March 2019.

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our University. We are committed to building a diverse faculty so you are encouraged to apply. Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code and European Commission's: European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers.


For information you can contact:

Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.