PhD Candidate in Sensorimotor Control in the Real World

Radboud University


PhD Candidate: Sensorimotor Control in the Real World

  • 32 - 40 hours per week

  • Maximum gross monthly salary: € 2,972

  • Faculty of Social Sciences

  • Job level: Research University Degree

  • Duration of the contract: 4 years

  • Application deadline: 22 December 2019


We are looking for

How the brain controls the action-perception cycle is a central question in the cognitive neurosciences. Lab-based studies suggest that this cycle is controlled by dynamic sensory and motor feedback modulated by context and shaped by past experience. A serious challenge to this knowledge, however, is these studies' ecological validity. For example, the brain's visual system is tuned to the statistics of natural scenes and its motor system is shaped by natural usage of the body. Guided by optimality principles, the aim of this project is to study the action-perception cycle in the real world, with an emphasis on the role of the vestibular system. Using wearable devices, we will capture motion and neural signals in naturalistic environments, where eye, head, arm and body movements are ubiquitous and where the applicability of traditional recording methods falls short. We will use methods from data science and Bayesian modelling to analyse and model the data, and seek application of the new results to a clinical population.

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


We ask

Preference will be given to candidates with an MSc in cognitive neuroscience, artificial intelligence, biomedical science or engineering, physics, movement sciences, or a related field, who are highly motivated to conduct challenging interdisciplinary empirical, model-driven, and ecologically relevant research. Strong mathematical and programming skills and a demonstrable affinity with quantitative data analysis (e.g. Matlab, Python) are required. Experience with psychophysical and patient studies is desirable.


We are

The Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour is a world-class interfaculty research centre housing more than 600 researchers devoted to understanding the mechanistic underpinnings of the human mind. Research at the Donders Institute is focused around four themes: 1. Language and communication, 2. Perception, action and control, 3. Plasticity and memory, 4. Neural computation and neurotechnology. 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 project will be embedded in the Sensorimotor Control group, headed by Prof. Medendorp. The project will be embedded in the Centre for Cognition of the Donders Institute, which is also part of the Faculty of Social Sciences, one of the largest faculties at Radboud University (Nijmegen, Netherlands).

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 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.

  • 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.

  • Duration of the contract: 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.

  • The intended start date is as soon as possible.

  • 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?

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

Would you like more information?

For more information about this vacancy, please contact:

Pieter Medendorp, Professor of Sensorimotor Neuroscience

Tel.: +3124 361 60 41


Apply directly

Please address your application to Prof. Dr. Pieter Medendorp and submit it, using the application button, no later than 22 December 2019, 23:59 Amsterdam Time Zone.   

Your application should include the following attachments:

  • Motivation letter.

  • CV including names of two references.

The first round of interviews will be held in January (the exact dates will be determined later).


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

In your application, please refer to