PhD Candidate in Individual Differences in Cognitive Aging Radbound University Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour Netherlands

PhD Candidate: Individual Differences in Cognitive Aging (0.8 - 1.0 FTE)




FSW/Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour

Vacancy number: 24.36.19

Application deadline: 16 June 2019



We invite applications for a salaried and fully funded 4-year PhD position to study individual differences in neurocognitive aging. This position is embedded in the Cognitive Aging lab (PI: Dr Joukje Oosterman) at the Centre for Cognition of the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour.


With the worldwide aging of the population there is a sharp increase in the number of older adults who will develop cognitive impairments, including declines in memory, which profoundly affect their functional independence and quality of life. Interventions, such as memory training, to reduce or slow down this cognitive decline are therefore of paramount importance. Currently, however, memory training benefits are small, with very limited (or even no) generalisation to daily life situations.


The focus of this PhD position will be to examine the mechanism that influences cognitive decline across the lifespan, by identifying neural and behavioural factors that may underlie individual variability and by investigating how these differences may be utilised to promote cognitive training efficacy.


You will identify different cognitive topologies across the adult lifespan, and test how cognitive reserve and brain reserve influence the relationship between these topologies and age. In addition, you will relate these topologies to underlying structural and functional brain MRI measures. You will incorporate the findings from this study into a personalised memory training programme to optimise training efficacy. This interdisciplinary project is the first step in research devoted to developing novel neurocognitive approaches against cognitive decline.


You will be employed at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour and will have the opportunity to collaborate and interact with renowned experts in the fields of psychology and cognitive neuroscience. You will also benefit from the extensive training programme offered by the Donders Graduate School.


Additionally, you will have the opportunity to supervise MSc and BSc students in their thesis projects.


Work environment

The Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour is a world-class interfaculty research centre that houses more than 600 researchers devoted to understanding the mechanistic underpinnings of the human mind. Research in the Donders Institute is focused around four themes: 1. Language and communication, 2. Perception, action and control, 3. Plasticity and memory, 4. Brain networks and neuronal communication. Excellent, state-of-the-are research facilities are available for the broad range of neuroscience research that is conducted at the Donders Institute. Recently, the Donders Institute was assessed by an international evaluation committee as excellent and recognised 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.


You will be part of the Donders Graduate School for Cognitive Neuroscience.


What we expect from you

Essential qualities:


a Master’s degree in Psychology (with a specialisation in neuropsychology), Cognitive Neuroscience, or a related field;

experience in quantitative analysis;

fluency in English (writing/speaking);

the capacity to work in an interdisciplinary and translational research environment;

good interpersonal and communication skills;

fluency in Dutch;

a proactive and goal-directed attitude, good organisational skills, and the ability to get things done.


Non-essential, desirable skills:


programming, e.g. in Python, R, MATLAB;

experience with (f)MRI analysis;

affinity with aging populations.

What we have to offer

employment: 0.8 - 1.0 FTE;

the gross starting salary amounts to €2,325 per month, and will increase to €2,972 in the fourth year (P scale);

in addition to the salary: an 8% holiday allowance and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus;

you will be appointed as a PhD candidate 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 another 2.5 years;

a travel allowance to visit two international conferences during the PhD project;

no tuition fees;

university job profile: PhD Candidate;

you will be able to make use of our Dual Career Service where our Dual Career Officer will assist with family related support, such as child care, and help your partner prepare for the local labour market and with finding an occupation.

Are you interested in our excellent employment conditions?


Other Information

Intended start date is 1 September 2019.


Would you like to know more?

Further information on: Theme 3: Plasticity and Memory

Further information on: Dr. J.M. Oosterman (Joukje)


For more information about this vacancy, please contact:

Joukje Oosterman, Assistant Professor

Telephone: +31 24 361 19 51



Are you interested?

You should upload your application (attn. of dr. Joukje Oosterman) exclusively using the button 'Apply' below. Your application should include (and be limited to) the following attachment(s):


Motivation letter

CV including names and contact details of two references

The interviews will take place on Thursday 4 July 2019.

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Psychoneuroxy


All Jobs


Harvard University Academic Positions

Kuwait University Current Faculty Openings

Osaka University Academic Opportunities

Purdue University Job Postings for Faculty Positions

Texas Tech University Faculty Openings

Tsinghua University Job Postings

University of Cambridge Job Openings

University of Geneva Faculty Opportunities

University of New South Wales Job Openings

University of Nottingham Research Positions

University of Oslo Academic Jobs

University of Saskatchewan Faculty Positions

University of Southampton Research Vacancies

University of Tokyo Current Academic Vacancies

University of Toronto Open Faculty Positions

University of Zurich Job Postings