Postdoc in Cognitive Neuroscience
Radboud University, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour

Postdoc in cognitive neuroscience on the inflammation-motivation link in obesity


  • 32 - 40 hours per week

  • Maximum gross monthly salary: € 4,978

  • Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging

  • Job level: PhD

  • Duration of the contract: 3 years

  • Application deadline: 17 November 2019


We are looking for


As a postdoctoral researcher, you will be part of the ERC-StG-funded project 'The obesity spiral: inflammation and effortless fast food choices'. In obesity, research findings about the motivation to overcome effort costs are inconsistent. An explaining factor might be related to inflammation, as excess body fat can increase systemic, low-grade inflammation levels in susceptible individuals. Such elevated peripheral inflammatory tone can affect the brain dopamine system to decrease effortful behaviour. However, it is not yet clear how an elevated inflammatory tone in obesity relates to effort-based decision making.

You will be responsible for setting up the fMRI, behavioural and experience sampling tasks, acquiring data, combining immune data with neuroimaging data, applying causal discovery methods, and writing publications. You will also be involved in co-supervising a PhD student in setting up a pharmacological fMRI study with an anti-inflammatory drug.

You will be joining the Food & Cognition group, led by Dr Esther Aarts, at the Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging, Radboud University (Nijmegen, the Netherlands). Our research focuses on the neurocognitive mechanisms of eating behaviour as well as how the foods we consume impact our brain and cognition via gut-brain communication. We have joined lab meetings/seminars with other research groups in psychoneuroimmunology or behavioural control at the Donders Institute.


We ask


  • You have a PhD in cognitive neuroscience or a related field.

  • You have experience with fMRI acquisition and analyses, and an interest in causal discovery methods.

  • You have a strong interest in decision making, (food) reward motivation and/or obesity research, as well as in peripheral influences on neurocognition.

  • You have good organisational and supervisory skills.

  • You have an excellent command of written and spoken English.


We are

The Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour consists of the Centre for Cognition, the Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging, and the Centre for Neuroscience. The mission of the Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging - where our group is based - 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. English is the lingua franca at the centre.

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 22,000 students and 5,000 employees at Radboud University. And this requires even more talent and collaboration. You have a part to play!


We offer

  • Employment: 32 - 40 hours per week.

  • A maximum gross monthly salary of € 4.978 based on a 38-hour working week (salary scale 11).

  • The exact salary depends on the candidate's qualifications and amount of relevant professional experience.

  • In addition to the salary: an 8% holiday allowance and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus.

  • Duration of the contract: 3 years.

  • The intended start date is 1 February 2020.

  • You will be able to make use of our Dual Career Service: 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?

The institute involved is an equal opportunity employer, committed to building a culturally diverse intellectual community, and as such encourages applications from women and minorities.

Would you like more information?

For more information about this vacancy, please contact:

Esther Aarts, associate Principal Investigator

Tel.: +3124 361 08 77


Apply directly

Please address your application to Dr. E. Aarts and submit it, using the application button, no later than 17 November 2019, 23:59 Amsterdam Time Zone.

Your application should include the following attachments:

  • Letter of Motivation.

  • CV, including contact details of two references.

The first round of interviews will take place on 9 December 2019.


We drafted this vacancy to find and hire our new colleague ourselves. Recruitment agencies are kindly requested to refrain from responding.

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


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