PhD Position in Computational Modeling of Language in the Brain

I’m starting a new lab at Aalto University (Finland) and looking to hire a PhD candidate :woman_technologist::man_technologist:.

PhD Candidate in Computational Modeling of Language Perception in the Brain

The newly formed laboratory of Computational Modeling of Human Cognition is studying the computations performed by our brain when we read a word or listen to a story. We are looking for a PhD Candidate to work in the fields of computational modeling and neuroimaging to help us create computer simulations that explain the brain activity observed during language experiments.

This research topic is part of a larger effort to translate the results of neuroimaging experiments (e.g., EEG, MEG, fMRI) into an operational understanding of the human brain. We will implement cognitive theories as computational models, collect brain activity through MEG and fMRI using human volunteers, and compare their predictions of the model to the brain activity. Where the models don’t predict the activity well, we will further refine the theory and repeat the cycle. As a PhD candidate, you will be involved in all these steps.

Your background and expertise

There are several educational backgrounds that are suited for this research topic. The ideal candidate can have a MSc degree in neuroscience, artificial intelligence, or cognitive science, but an applicable degree in psychology or data science may also apply. Whatever your background, you should have some experience in programming and data analysis. You can demonstrate skills in theoretical and/or experimental work during your MSc thesis. While not mandatory, a bonus is to have knowledge in one or more of the following areas: artificial neural networks, EEG/MEG/fMRI, language in the brain, computational models. If you have not graduated yet, you should obtain your MSc degree by the end of February 2022.

You communicate clearly and have excellent interpersonal skills. You demonstrate a high level of enthusiasm and commitment to academic research. You have a genuine interest in the research topic and are able to formulate problems and ideas that you are keen on exploring.

What we offer

As the first PhD candidate to be recruited into the laboratory of Computational Modeling of Human Cognition (CMHC), you will work alongside its head, dr. Marijn van Vliet, at Aalto University (main site of your research). As a young group, we will work in close collaboration with other laboratories at the Department of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering (NBE) at Aalto University, for example Riitta Salmelin’s Imaging Language group. We are also collaborating with groups at Cambridge, Queens University and University College London. CMHC’s research is currently funded by the Academy of Finland.

The salary level is fixed to departmental levels based on career stage starting from approx. 2500 €. The time to complete the PhD is four years, once accepted to the doctoral programme. Funding can be provided up to four years from the beginning of your agreement.

Ready to apply?

Please, submit your application through our online recruitment system by using the link on Aalto University’s web page ("Apply”). Please, provide the following as separate documents along with your application:

  • 1-page motivation letter specific to this call. Please write about what aspect of this project motivates you most and why. Also highlight any experience you may have that would be useful to the project.
  • CV (include a list of publications if you have any)
  • Your MSc thesis (or description of your MSc project if your thesis is unfinished)
  • One or two references who may be contacted, for example your MSc thesis supervisor

Apply here: Workday

The call is open until Dec 31, 2021, but it may be closed earlier if a suitable candidate has been identified before the closing date. The applications will be reviewed on a continuous basis.

For more information

Please contact dr. Marijn van Vliet by email: for more information about the project and the position. You may pose any questions related to the application process to HR Coordinator Noora Koskivaara

Keywords: computational modeling, neuroimaging, language, cognition, MEG, fMRI

About Finland

Finland is a great place for living with or without family – it is a safe, politically stable and well-organized Nordic society. Finland is consistently ranked high in quality of life. For more information about living in Finland: Why Finland? | Aalto University