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Apply by: 2024-06-19

PhD Candidate: Computational Cognitive Neuroscience at the Predictive Brain Lab

Published 2024-05-15


The last decade has witnessed a paradigm shift in how we view perception and cognition. Brains are increasingly thought of as prediction machines. Come and join us as a PhD candidate to work on this exciting hypothesis. In this research project, you will capitalise on recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI) for providing a richer and more computationally explicit test of predictive processing in perception.

Recent advances in the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning have put artificial neural networks firmly on the map as a promising approach to both model and understand biological brains. This PhD project aims to harness the recent progress in AI to build computationally explicit models (Artificial Neural Networks, ANNs) that embody the principles of predictive processing. The ultimate goal is to better understand the neural mechanisms underlying our remarkable perceptual abilities by comparing artificial and biological networks in terms of neural and behavioural representations during naturalistic conditions.

As a PhD candidate, you will use a computational approach to model and predict neural responses within the human visual system as well as behavioural performance, and test the neural and behavioural implications of different predictive neural architectures. The experimental and computational work will be conducted at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour at Radboud University (Nijmegen, Netherlands). You will join a team of computational and cognitive neuroscientists with complementary expertise, headed by Prof Floris de Lange. You will be an active team member of the Predictive Brain Lab, an internationally renowned, diverse and stimulating research group examining how the brain combines prior knowledge and incoming information to generate perception and cognition.


  • You have an MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience, Artificial Intelligence, or a related field.
  • You have an affinity with programming and possess demonstrable experience using techniques for quantitative data analysis (e.g. in Matlab or Python).
  • You are highly motivated to conduct interdisciplinary empirical research at the intersection of AI/Machine Learning and Cognitive Neuroscience.
  • You have good collaborative and communication skills.


Fixed-term contract: We will give you a temporary employment contract (1.0 FTE) of 1,5 years, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, your contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4-year contract).

  • We will give you a temporary employment contract (1.0 FTE) of 1,5 years, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, your contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4-year contract).
  • You will receive a starting salary of €2,770 gross per month based on a 38-hour working week, which will increase to €3,539 in the fourth year (salary scale P).
  • You will receive an 8% holiday allowance and an 8,3% end-of-year bonus.
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Support Service. The Dual Career Programme assists your partner via support, tools, and resources to improve their chances of independently finding employment in the Netherlands. Our Family Support Service helps you and your partner feel welcome and at home by providing customised assistance in navigating local facilities, schools, and amenities. Also take a look at our support for international staff page to discover all our services for international employees.
  • You will receive extra days off. With full-time employment, you can choose between 30 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the statutory 20.

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.


The Predictive Brain Lab is based at the Donders Institute of Radboud University (Nijmegen, Netherlands) and headed by Prof. Floris de Lange. Its research mission is to find out how the brain makes sense of the world, using prior knowledge to form predictions about incoming signals. We strive to understand this process at the computational, algorithmic and implementational levels. Therefore, we use a multidisciplinary approach, focusing on behavioural and neural mechanisms of prediction, and utilising a combination of psychophysics, non-invasive human neuroimaging (fMRI, EEG/MEG), and computational and neural network modelling approaches. We represent many different nationalities and we come from diverse (personal and scientific) backgrounds. We promote a supportive and stimulating work environment, where we enjoy carrying out excellent scientific research.

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 cognitive neuroscience. The Donders Institute fosters a collaborative, multidisciplinary, supportive research environment with a diverse international staff. English is the lingua franca at the Institute.


Address your letter of application to prof. Floris de Lange In the application form, you will find which documents you need to include with your application.

The first interviews will take place on 1 July. Any second interview will take place on 8 July. You will preferably start your employment on 1 September 2024.

We can imagine you're curious about our application procedure. It describes what you can expect during the application procedure and how we handle your personal data and internal and external candidates.