PhD Position in Ultra-High Field fMRI of Human Vision

VU University of Amsterdam Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences

Are you inspired by the question how our brains produce our minds? Do you have a completed MSc degree in the field of cognitive neuroscience, artificial intelligence, computer science, physics, mathematics, or related areas? And would you like to work in a multidisciplinary team of professionals in an academic environment? Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

FTE: 1 - 1

Job description

The Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, together with the Spinoza Centre for Neuroimaging, is offering a four-year PhD studentship position focused on ultra-high field imaging of human vision, in the lab of PI Tomas Knapen. The goal of this project is to learn how the brain uses low-level sensory primitives to build higher-level cognitive functions such as semantic understanding, memory, and action. We will investigate computations and representations throughout the human visual system, including the hippocampus, using state-of-the-art encoding model approaches to 7-Tesla imaging. The PhD position provides the opportunity to develop and conduct creative and rigorous research on human vision, within a set of stimulating and committed research groups. You will (learn to) conduct state-of-the-art brain imaging experiments that employ both naturalistic and artificial paradigms, and analyze the resulting data with novel models of visual processing. To learn more about the topic of research, please consult this relevant article from the lab.

Resources for attending overseas conferences, and other training opportunities, will be available. Successful candidates will become integrated in the Institute for Brain and Behavior Amsterdam (iBBA) at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, as well as the Spinoza Centre for Neuroimaging Amsterdam (the Netherlands). The host institutes – and Amsterdam at large – provide a vibrant international atmosphere with a strong cognitive neuroscience community conducting world-class research, and with access to state-of-the-art facilities and ample opportunities for research support and collaboration. The lingua franca is English.


  • A completed MSc degree in a relevant field
  • Excellent programming skills
  • Experience with neural data acquisition, analysis, and computational modeling
  • Good writing skills
  • Excellent command of the English Language (mandatory)
  • Good communication skills and ability to work in an interdisciplinary team

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,395 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3,061 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 1 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a duration of 4 years.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment, 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus, solid pension scheme (ABP), a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge, discounts on collective insurances (healthcare- and car insurance);

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,000 students. We employ over 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.


We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences

The Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences focuses on the broad domain of behaviour and health. Our teaching and research programmes are devoted to current developments in society, from healthy aging to e-health, from juvenile crime to dealing with depression, from training for top athletes to social media as a teaching tool. We are unique in that we combine three academic disciplines: psychology, movement sciences and education.

Working at Behavioural and Movement Sciences means working in an ambitious organization that is characterized by an informal atmosphere and short lines of communication. Our faculty offers tremendous scope for personal development. We employ more than 600 staff members, and we are home to around 3,400 students.

About the department, institute, project

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Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until May 27 2021.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions

If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Dr. T.H.J. Knapen
Position: Assistant professor

No agencies