Netherlands: Two PhD positions in Affective Neuroscience at the Donders Institute

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Job description

We seek two highly talented and motivated PhD students to join a unique large-scale fMRI project on neuroendocrine mechanisms in fight/flight decisions in police officers. The project is part of a larger longitudinal project funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO-VICI project: “Police In Action”). The overarching aim of the project is to investigate stress resilience and stress vulnerability factors, including automatic fight-or-flight tendencies that may differentially prime for anxious versus aggressive stress symptoms. In collaboration with the National Dutch Police Force, 400 police recruits will be tested before and after exposure to their first armed service during emergency response, one of the most stressful phases during their training. Your task is to help developing the fMRI tasks, to collect and analyse data and to write a doctoral thesis on the basis of at least four papers.

You will be joining the ‘Affective Neuroscience’ PI group led by Prof . Karin Roelofs at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour at Radboud University Nijmegen (Netherlands). Our group investigates brain systems that support the cognitive control of emotions and emotional actions. In addition we seek to understand how these networks interact with hormonal and major neurotransmitter systems (see The group has particular expertise in studying hormone-brain interactions controlling automatic (freeze-fight-flight), habitual and instrumental emotional actions in healthy and patient populations. You will be given the opportunity to co-supervise students and regularly present your work at international conferences and meetings. Also, in order to develop your own research agenda, we will encourage and support you in applying for competitive career development fellowships towards the end of the project.


You should have an MSc degree or equivalent in a field related to cognitive neuroscience, psychology or biomedical sciences; a strong interest in brain functioning and psychophysiology; affinity and (preferably) experience with fMRI; fluency in Matlab; the ambition to become a top scientist; a good command of written and spoken English; and excellent social skills and team spirit .You are expected to work in an interdisciplinary environment, sharing technical know-how and ideas.

Conditions of employment

– 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;
– you will be classified as a PhD student (promovendus) in the Dutch university job-ranking system (UFO);
– the positions are available from February 2014, but the start date of the contract is flexible.
– the starting salary is €2,083 per month and will increase to €2,664 per month in the fourth year;

Contract type: Temporary,


Radboud University Nijmegen

Strategically located in Europe, Radboud University Nijmegen 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.


Donders Institute, Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging

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. The internationally renowned centre currently hosts more than 100 PhD students and postdoctoral researchers from more than 25 countries, offering a stimulating and multidisciplinary research environment. The centre is equipped with four MRI scanners (7T, 2x 3T, 1.5T), 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.

No commercial propositions please.

Additional information

Karin Roelofs, Principal Investigator and Professor of Experimental Psychopathology
+31 24 3612673
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