PhD-position It’s all in the numbers (1.0 FTE)

Job description

Competence in dealing accurately with numerical quantities is of great and ever increasing importance in our society. Infants already have some knowledge about non-symbolic quantities or magnitudes, which continues to increase throughout childhood. This non- symbolic numerosity has been suggested to be a precursor for future number knowledge and mathematical abilities. Recently our lab has shown evidence for a topographic representation of non-symbolic quantity in the Posterior Parietal Cortex, resembling the topographic organization apparent in, for instance, visual cortex. The current project will continue research into the cortical representation of numerosity and its manifestation in behaviour.

The PhD student will conduct supervised research on this topic, combining behavioural and imaging techniques. The student will have considerable freedom in pursuing his/her own interests and methods. Our lab has access to excellent imaging as well as TMS/DCS facilities. Collaborations leading to more applied questions (on for instance dyscalculia) are also possible, due to our involvement in the Dynamics of Youth programme.


We are looking for an excellent and enthusiastic student with a Master’s degree in Experimental Psychology, (Cognitive) Neuroscience or equivalent, and with proven interest in Psychophysics and Neuroimaging. Experience with programming and neuro-imaging techniques is an asset.


We offer a PhD position (1.0 fte) with an initial 1 year contract. After a positive evaluation this contract will be extended to a maximum of 4 years. Starting date is negotiable, but as soon as possible. The salary is €2,173 gross per month in the first year and €2,778 gross per month in the fourth year, for a full time contingent on satisfactory performance.
The salary is supplemented with an annual holiday pay of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3% per year. We offer flexible working conditions terms of employment to support a good work – life balance of our employees. Other secondary conditions include e.g. a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave and flexible employment conditions. For more information visit Working at Utrecht University.

About the organization

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.
The city of Utrecht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, with a charming old center and an internationally oriented culture that is strongly influenced by its century-old university. Utrecht city has been consistently ranked as one of the most livable cities in the Netherlands.

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences is one of the leading faculties in Europe providing research and academic teaching in cultural anthropology, educational sciences, interdisciplinary social science, pedagogical sciences, psychology, and sociology. Research and teaching activities are concentrated in five areas:
1. Behaviour in Social Contexts;
2. Child and Adolescent Studies;
3. Cognitive and Clinical Psychology;
4. Education and Learning and
5. Methodology and Statistics.
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.

Additional information

The research project is a collaboration between the labs of Prof Dr Serge Dumoulin, Prof Dr Susan te Pas and Dr Maarten van der Smagt.
Additional information about the vacancy can be obtained from: Dr. Maarten van der Smagt: +31 30 253 3090, or


Please send your application including a motivation, a curriculum vitae, a list of publications and contact details of at least two references.
You can apply online via PhD-position It’s all in the numbers (1.0 FTE) or

The application deadline is 15/09/2016.

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