Utrecht University – PhD candidate in Cognitive Neuroimaging: Relating the human brain’s responses to stimulus timing across the senses

Job description

We are seeking a highly motivated PhD candidate to investigate the human brain’s responses to the timing of events in different sensory modalities using advanced analyses of ultra-high-field (7T) fMRI data. The project will focus on presenting multisensory stimuli of varying timing in the scanner and developing model-based analyses of the resulting fMRI responses. The selected candidate will be supervised by Dr Ben Harvey at the Department of Experimental Psychology, Utrecht University, the Netherlands. This is a research position for four years, fully funded by an NWO VIDI Grant recently awarded to Dr Harvey. The starting date is between September and November 2018.

Job tasks

  • Completion and defence of a PhD thesis within four years, containing at least 4 peer-reviewed articles;
  • Designing experiments, coordinating and conducting data collection, analysing resulting data;
  • Presentation of results at national and international scientific conferences;
  • Participation in training programmes and expert meetings scheduled for the project;
  • Teaching (10% of time).

The research builds on the following studies:

Harvey, B.M., Klein, B.P., Petridou, N., and Dumoulin, S.O. (2013). Topographic representation of numerosity in the human parietal cortex. Science, 341, 1123-1126.

Harvey, B.M., Fracasso, A., Petridou, N., and Dumoulin, S.O. (2015). Topographic representations of object size and relationships with numerosity reveal generalized quantity processing in human parietal cortex. PNAS, 112, 13525-13530.

Harvey, B.M., and Dumoulin, S.O. (2017). A network of topographic numerosity maps in human association cortex. Nature Human Behaviour, 1, 36.

Harvey, B.M., Ferri, S., Orban, G.A. (2017) Comparing parietal quantity-processing Mechanisms between humans and macaques. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 21, 779-793.

Harvey B.M., Dumoulin S.O. (2017) Can responses to basic non-numerical visual features explain neural numerosity responses? Neuroimage, 149, 200-209.


We are looking for someone who:

  • holds (or nearly holds) a Master’s degree in Psychology, Neuroscience, Engineering, Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence or a related field;
  • takes a strongly quantitative, computational view of Psychology and Neuroscience;
  • has strong computer programming skills;
  • takes a practical approach to solving technical problems;
  • has excellent written and spoken English communication skills (no Dutch required);
  • has a strong publication record for their career stage (this may be no publications yet);
  • is effective and efficient, and able to think conceptually;
  • is able to meet deadlines, and conduct research independently and as part of a team.

Some of the following experience is desirable, but not required:

  • experience designing and implementing sensory stimuli for experiments;
  • experience with MRI data acquisition and analysis;
  • experience with model-based data analysis.

Employer – Utrecht University

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

Utrecht is a young and vibrant city with a large academic population, around 30 minutes south of Amsterdam. It combines a beautiful old city centre with a modern university. Utrecht has an excellent quality of life, with plenty of green space and a strong bicycle culture.

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences is one of the leading Faculties in Europe providing research and academic teaching in interdisciplinary Social Science, Cultural Anthropology, Educational Sciences, Pedagogical Sciences, Psychology, and Sociology. More than 5,600 students are enrolled in a broad range of undergraduate and graduate programmes. The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has some 850 faculty and staff members, all providing their individual contribution to the training and education of young talent and to the research into and finding solutions for scientific and societal issues.

Read more!