PhD Candidate: Acquisition of L1 & L2 Vocabulary Radboud University, Faculty of Social Sciences Netherlands

PhD Candidate: Acquisition of L1 & L2 Vocabulary (0.8 - 1.0 FTE)


Faculty of Social Sciences 

Vacancy number: 24.27.17 

Application deadline: 21 June 2017



As a PhD candidate you will work on the project ‘How can model-based learning facilitate the acquisition of L1 and L2 vocabulary?’

This project is part of a research programme entitled ‘A brain-inspired model-based approach to first and second language vocabulary

acquisition in primary education’ which is funded by the Dutch Programme Council for Educational Research (PROO) of the Netherlands

Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). 

In ‘model-based’ learning, learning is explicitly adapted to the learners’ internal model. In this project, the central question is what aspects of model-based

learning can facilitate the acquisition of vocabulary in the native language (L1) and second language (L2). In L1 vocabulary learning the question is how

orthographical, phonological, and semantic information must be provided to establish solid representations in L1. In L2 vocabulary learning the main

question is how L1 knowledge can be applied within model-based learning to facilitate L2 word learning. In your PhD project, a recently developed

game called MindSort will be used as a tool to integrate and examine the model-based learning mechanisms in primary school children. In a parallel

postdoctoral project, a computational model of vocabulary learning in MindSort will be developed and tested. At the end of the projects, this computational

model will be integrated into the serious game.


Work environment


The project is a collaboration of the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour and the Behavioural Sciences Institute. Our researchers

collaborate across the boundaries of psychology, neuroscience, educational science, and communication science. Using a multidisciplinary approach,

we offer excellent lab and neuroimaging facilities, PhD supervision and courses and technical support. The project will be embedded in the research

programme of the Donders Institute’s Centre for Cognition. The Donders Institute is part of the Faculty of Social Sciences, one of the largest faculties

at Radboud University in Nijmegen. We are an equal opportunity employer, committed to building a culturally diverse intellectual community, and as

such encourage applications from women and minorities.


What we expect from you

  • a passion for studying and improving learning and teaching methods, in this case in the field of vocabulary learning. Affiliation with (serious) games is a plus;
  • a Research Master’s degree in Cognitive Science or Behavioural Science, Education, Psycholinguistics, Artificial Intelligence, or another relevant field;
  • broad experience in quantitative research, outstanding methodological and analytical qualities, and experience with collecting and analysing data;
  • interest in multidisciplinary research (psychology, education, language, artificial intelligence);
  • excellent oral and writing skills (in Dutch and English);
  • affinity with primary education;
  • organisational talent, strong collaboration skills, accompanied by independence and perseverance.


What we have to offer

  • employment: 0.8 - 1.0 FTE;

  • in addition to the salary: an 8% holiday allowance and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus;

  • the gross starting salary amounts to €2,222 per month on a full-time basis, and will increase to €2,840 in the fourth year (P scale);

  • duration of the contract: 4 years;

  • 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;

  • as part of the contract, you will participate in teaching for approximately 10% of your work time;

  • you will be classified as a PhD Candidate in the Dutch university job-ranking system (UFO).


Are you interested in our excellent employment conditions?


Other Information


You will be part of the Donders Graduate School for Cognitive Neuroscience, and/or the Behavioural Science PhD



Would you like to know more?


Further information on: Donders Institue for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour 
Further information on: Behavioural Science Institute


For more information about this vacancy, please contact: 
Prof. dr. Harold Bekkering
Telephone: +31 24 361 32 26


Dr. Mienke Droop
Telephone: +31 24 361 57 66


Are you interested?

You should upload your application (attn. of Prof. dr. Harold Bekkering) exclusively using the button 'Apply' below. Your application should include

(and be limited to) the following attachment(s):

  • Letter of motivation 
  • CV 



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