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  • Job Type
    Full-time Position
  • Category
    Research & Science
  • Languages
  • Experience Required
  • Degree Required
    • Province
    • Date Posted
      November 12,2021
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    Postdoctoral Research Fellow: Laminar Computations of Sensory Surprise (1.0 FTE)

    Postdoctoral Research Fellow: Laminar Computations of Sensory Surprise

    • Employment: 1.0 FTE
    • Gross monthly salary: € 3,807 - € 5,211
    • Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging
    • Required background: PhD
    • Application deadline: 15 December 2021

    We are looking for a postdoctoral researcher with expertise in neuroimaging and an interest in the predictive brain to participate in the ERC Consolidator project SURPRISE. The goal of this project is to advance our understanding of how the human brain uses prediction error to guide perception and behaviour.

    Computational models of perception have proposed that each cortical area has an explicit representation of surprise, which represents the mismatch between predictions and input. Specifically, there may be a separation between input, predictions, and prediction error signals within the neocortex by virtue of their distinct laminar profile: neurons in the deep layers of the cortex may represent hypotheses about the causes of our sensory inputs, whereas neurons in the superficial layers represent the mismatch between these hypotheses and current inputs: prediction errors.

    The aim of this research project is to empirically address this question by using ultra-high field (7T) fMRI to distinguish neuronal activity within the different layers of the visual cortex in humans. You will be involved in designing critical experiments to isolate computations related to prediction and surprise. You will also be involved in the collection and, most notably, analysis of 7T fMRI data at laminar resolution to examine layer-specific neural activity modulations induced by prediction and surprise.


    • You hold a PhD degree in cognitive neuroscience or a related discipline.
    • You have experience with advanced fMRI data analysis.
    • You have strong programming skills.
    • Affinity with neuroimaging at high field strength (7T) and the visual system is useful.

    We are

    A position is available within the Predictive Brain Lab, which is based at the Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging, part of the Donders Institute.

    The Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour is a world-class interfaculty research centre that houses more than 700 researchers devoted to understanding the mechanistic underpinnings of the human mind. 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 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. 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.

    The Predictive Brain Lab is headed by Prof. Floris de Lange. Our aim is to elucidate how the brain combines prior knowledge and incoming information to generate perceptual experience and make decisions. When, where and how do prior beliefs impact on sensory processing? Why do we not hallucinate our beliefs? We use a complementary set of techniques (non-invasive brain measurements in humans: MEG and fMRI), behavioural measurements, and computational models to advance our understanding of these fundamental questions.

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

    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 €3,807 and a maximum of €5,211 based on a 38-hour working week, depending on previous education and number of years of relevant work experience (salary scale 11).
    • You will receive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
    • It concerns a temporary employment for 1 year with the possibility of extension.
    • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Care Services. 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 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. 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 Floris de Lange, Professor and Principal Investigator at

    Practical information and applications

    You can apply until 15 December 2021, exclusively using the button below. Kindly address your application to Floris de Lange. Please fill in the application form and attach the following documents:
    • A letter of motivation.
    • Your CV including relevant research experience, as well as methodological and programming skills.
    The first round of interviews will take place on Monday 20 December. The second round will take place on Thursday 23 December. You would preferably begin employment on 1 March 2022.

    We can imagine you're curious about our 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.

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