[FieldTrip] Postdoctoral position at Donders: Neural Oscillations and Replay for Generalisation and Novel Inference

Robert Oostenveld r.oostenveld at donders.ru.nl
Wed Apr 6 14:47:17 CEST 2022

On behalf of Julia Verhoef: 

Postdoctoral Researcher: Neural Oscillations and Replay for Generalisation and Novel Inference

·       Employment: 1.0 FTE
·       Gross monthly salary: € 3,821 - € 5,230
·       Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging
·       Required background: PhD
·       Application deadline: 14 April 2022
The ability to generate novel, compositional solutions is fundamental to adaptive behaviour in our uncertain world. This generative capacity is commonly studied in domains of action planning, reasoning and vision, but its computational efficiency is also exemplified by our unique ability to create new meaning on the fly, using words, phrases and sentences. MEG provides a unique window onto the temporal evolution of the neural computations underlying novel inference. Are you passionate about integrating insights across domains of action planning, vision and language to unravel the mechanisms of novel inference? As a postdoctoral researcher with MEG/EEG expertise you will be part of a team of researchers studying the computations of novel inference. 

As a postdoctoral researcher, you will study the role of neural oscillatory signals and neural replay in the learning and inference of novel meaning for language. Compositionality is fundamental to adaptive behaviour in different cognitive domains (e.g. language, vision, memory and action planning). The human ability to compose complex representations from basic building blocks depends critically on abstract, generalisable knowledge, and implicates the hippocampus and medial prefrontal cortex. What are the neurocomputational mechanisms that underlie inference and generation of the meaning of new words? Are they shared across cognitive domains? If yes, how? The project aims to advance our knowledge of the brain mechanisms of flexible and efficient behaviour, as well as of shared inferential mechanisms across cognitive domains.

To this end, you will design, conduct, analyse and disseminate MEG experiments with a novel paradigm of artificial language learning to probe the neural underpinnings of inference with a focus on theta oscillations, commonly associated with medial prefrontal-hippocampal circuitry. You will also apply representational similarity and sequential decoding analyses to explore the role of computational mechanisms, commonly associated with the hippocampus, like neural replay.

You will be embedded in Prof. Roshan Cools' Motivational and Cognitive Control group <http://www.roshancools.com/> at the Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. Moreover, you will be part of the Big Question 5 team of the Language in Interaction research consortium  <https://www.languageininteraction.nl/research-organization/big-questions/big-question-5/>and collaborate closely with Dr Xiaochen Zheng, coordinating postdoctoral researcher of the Big Question 5 team. Finally, you will collaborate with Dr Vitoria Piai <https://vitoriapiai.science/> at the Donders Centre for Cognition.
·       You are a highly motivated candidate with expertise in electrophysiology (e.g., MEG, EEG), an interest in novel inference for adaptive behaviour, and a collaborative team spirit.
·       You hold a PhD in cognitive neuroscience, psychology, or a related field.
·       You have demonstrable experience with research using electrophysiological methods.
·       You have experience with advanced computational/statistical modelling of cognitive neuroscience data.
·       You have a strong interest in the neural computations of human cognition.
·       You have a team science mindset.
·       You have an excellent command of written and spoken English. A good command of spoken Dutch is desirable but not mandatory.
We are
The Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior is a world-class interfaculty research Centre that houses more than 700 researchers devoted to understanding the mechanistic underpinnings of the human mind. Research at the Donders Institute is focused around four themes: 1. Language and communication <https://www.ru.nl/donders/research/theme-1-language-communication/>, 2. Perception, action and control <https://www.ru.nl/donders/research/theme-2-perception-action-decision-making/>, 3. Plasticity and memory <https://www.ru.nl/donders/research/theme-3-plasticity-memory/>, 4. Neural computation and neurotechnology <https://www.ru.nl/donders/research/theme-4-neural-computation-neurotechnology/>. Excellent, state-of-the-art research facilities are available for the broad range of neuroscience research that is being conducted at the Donders Institute. The Donders Institute has been assessed by an international evaluation committee as excellent and recognized 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.

The mission of the Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging (DCCN) is to conduct cutting-edge fundamental research in cognitive neuroscience. Much of the rapid progress in this field is being driven by the development of complex neuroimaging techniques for measuring activity in the human brain - an area in which the Centre plays a leading role. The research themes cover central cognitive functions, such as perception, action, control, emotion, decision-making, attention, memory, language, learning and plasticity. The Centre also aims to establish how the different brain areas coordinate their activity with very high temporal precision to enable human and animal cognition. Our internationally renowned Centre currently hosts more than 100 PhD candidates and postdoctoral researchers from more than 25 countries, offering a stimulating and multidisciplinary research environment. The Centre is equipped with four MRI scanners (7T, 3x 3T), a 275-channel MEG system, an EEG-TMS laboratory, several (MR-compatible) EEG systems, and high-performance computational facilities.

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 24,000 students and 5,600 employees at Radboud University. And this requires even more talent, collaboration and lifelong learning. You have a part to play!
We offer
·       Employment for 1.0 FTE.
·       The gross monthly salary amounts to a minimum of €3,821 and a maximum of €5,230 based on a 38-hour working week, depending on previous education and number of years of relevant work experience (salary scale 11 <https://www.ru.nl/english/working-at/working-at-radboud-university/employment-conditions/>).
·       You will receive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
·       This is a temporary position on a fixed-term contract for the maximum duration of 2 years.
·       You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Care Services <https://www.ru.nl/english/working-at/working-at-radboud-university/our-way-working-personal-approach/dual-career-family-support-service/>. 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.
·       Working for us means getting extra days off. In case of full-time employment, you can choose between 29 or 41 <https://www.ru.nl/english/working-at/working-at-radboud-university/employment-conditions/more-info-working/flexible-working-times/> days of annual leave instead of the legally allotted 20.
Additional employment conditions
Work and science require good employment practices. This is reflected in Radboud University's primary and secondary employment conditions <https://www.ru.nl/english/working-at/working-at-radboud-university/employment-conditions/>. You can make arrangements for the best possible work-life balance with flexible working hours, various leave arrangements and working from home. You are also able to compose part of your employment conditions yourself, for example, exchange income for extra leave days and receive a reimbursement for your sports subscription. And of course, we offer a good pension plan. You are given plenty of room and responsibility to develop your talents and realise your ambitions. Therefore, we provide various training and development schemes.
Would you like more information?
For questions about the position, please contact Roshan Cools, Principal Investigator at roshan.cools at donders.ru.nl <mailto:roshan.cools at donders.ru.nl>. Alternatively, you can contact Vitoria Piai, Principal Investigator at vitoria.piai at donders.ru.nl <mailto:vitoria.piai at donders.ru.nl>.
Practical information and applications
You can apply until 14 April 2022, exclusively using the button below. Kindly address your application to Roshan Cools. Please fill in the application form and attach the following documents:
·       A letter of motivation.
·       Your CV including the contact details of two references.
·       Your top 2 outputs (e.g. publications). 
The first round of interviews will be held on Wednesday 20 April. You would preferably begin employment on 1 June 2022 or as soon as possible.

We can imagine you're curious about our application procedure <https://www.ru.nl/english/working-at/working-at-radboud-university/application-procedure/>. It offers a rough outline of what you can expect during the application process, how we handle your personal data and how we deal with internal and external candidates.
We drafted this vacancy to find and hire our new colleague ourselves. Recruitment agencies are kindly requested to refrain from responding.

Kind regards, 
Julia Verhoef
Secretary - Language in Interaction Consortium
Radboud University | Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging (DCCN) | room 0.026 Kapittelweg 29, 6525 EN Nijmegen, The Netherlands | P.O. Box 9101, 6500 HB, Nijmegen, The Netherlands | T: +31 (0)24 3666272 | E: julia.verhoef at donders.ru.nl| <mailto:J.Verhoef at donders.ru.nl%7C>Office hours: 9-14 hr on Mon -  Fri

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