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PhD/Postdoctoral Position: Acquisition of L1 & L2 Vocabulary

As a PhD candidate or postdoctoral researcher you will work on the project ‘How can model-based learning facilitate the acquisition of L1 and L2 vocabulary?’ This project is part of a research programme entitled ‘A ...

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Comeniuslaan, Nijmegen, Gelderland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
30 - 38 uur


As a PhD candidate or postdoctoral researcher you will work on the project ‘How can model-based learning facilitate the acquisition of L1 and L2 vocabulary?’ This project is part of a research programme entitled ‘A brain-inspired model-based approach to first and second language vocabulary acquisition in primary education’, which is funded by the Dutch Programme Council for Educational Research (PROO) of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).

In ‘model-based’ learning, learning is explicitly adapted to the internal model of learners. The central goal of this PhD/postdoctoral project is to develop a brain-inspired computational model of vocabulary learning which can predict and explain user answers in serious games. To this end, you will build a computational model based on the current literature, improve the model based on self-performed eye-tracking and neuroimaging studies, and integrate an improved version of the model as student/user model in a recently developed serious game called MindSort. In this game, the model will be used to interpret learner responses and generate appropriate feedback. In the parallel PhD project, the game will be used as a tool to examine the model-based learning mechanisms in primary school children and to test the model in practice.


- a Master’s degree (PhD candidate position) or PhD (postdoctoral researcher position) in Cognitive Neuroscience or Artificial Intelligence, or another relevant field;
- a passion for studying and improving learning and teaching methods, in this case in the field of vocabulary learning. Affiliation with (serious) games is a plus;
- broad experience with computational modelling, and (ideally) machine learning, sufficient programming, mathematical, and analytical skills;
- experience with fMRI, eyetracking, and performing psychological experiments, both in collection and analysing data;
- interest in multidisciplinary research (artificial intelligence, cognitive neuroscience, psychology, education, language);
- excellent oral and writing skills (in Dutch and English);
- organisational talent, strong collaboration skills, accompanied by independence and perseverance.


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
- as part of the contract, you will participate in teaching for approximately 10% of your work time
- you will be classified as a PhD Candidate or as a Postdoctoral Researcher, Level 3 in the Dutch university job-ranking system (UFO)
depending on your profile, you will be appointed as a PhD candidate (gross starting salary amounts to €2,222 per month, and will increase to €2,840 in the fourth year, P scale) or Postdoctoral Researcher (maximum gross monthly salary of €4,084, scale 11)
You will be part of the Donders Graduate School for Cognitive Neuroscience, www.ru.nl/donders/graduate-school/ and/or the Behavioural Science PhD programme, www.ru.nl/bsi/graduate-school/phd-program/

Additional information

Prof. dr. Harold Bekkering
+31 24 361 32 26

Dr. Frank Leoné
+31 24 361 61 26

www.ru.nl/donders/ ; www.ru.nl/bsi/

Radboud University


Strategically located in Europe, Radboud University is one of the leading academic communities in the Netherlands. A place with a personal touch, where top-flight education and research take place on a beautiful green campus in modern buildings with state-of-art facilities. Faculty of Social Sciences The project is a collaboration of the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour and the Behavioural Sciences Institute. Our researchers collaborate across the boundaries of psychology, neuroscience, educational science, and communication science. Using a multidisciplinary approach, we offer excellent lab and neuroimaging facilities, postdoctoral supervision and courses and technical support. The project will be embedded in the research programme of the Donders Institute’s Centre for Cognition. The Donders Institute is part of the Faculty of Social Sciences, one of the largest faculties at Radboud University in Nijmegen. We are an equal opportunity employer, committed to building a culturally diverse intellectual community, and as such encourage applications from women and minorities.

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