We are hiring!

We are hiring!

  • On 10/09/2021


(ref. BAP-2021-682)

Last modification : Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Within the research unit Brain & Cognition of the faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences (https://ppw.kuleuven.be/bc), the research groups of Eva Van den Bussche (http://copsresearchgroup.be/) and Céline Gillebert (http://www.neuropsychologylab.be) are looking for one or two motivated PhD candidates and/or a research assistant.
Within the research project “Cognitive control in an aging society”, you will prepare a PhD on the impact of healthy and pathological aging on the exertion of cognitive control. We live in an aging society, which is accompanied by increasing challenges at the individual, interpersonal, clinical, and societal level. The aging challenge also consists of a rise in the number of older adults suffering from neurological disorders such as stroke. At the same time, our world is also becoming increasingly more complex as we are continuously bombarded with sensory input. To reach our goals, efficient and flexible cognitive skills, such as cognitive control, are required. More specifically, our cognitive system needs to selectively process relevant input, maintain this input and inhibit irrelevant input, to achieve our goals. However, precisely these cognitive control skills gradually deteriorate with age and can suddenly be affected after stroke. As pharmacological treatments for cognitive decline have limited efficacy, there is an urgent need for non-pharmacological methods to address cognitive impairment. This project specifically aims to unravel the behavioral and neural mechanisms underlying impairment in cognitive control in healthy older adults and stroke survivors. To achieve this, four objectives are formulated. First, we will pinpoint which, when and how cognitive control functions decline in healthy aging. Second, we will expose neural markers and networks of cognitive control decline in healthy aging. Third, we will unravel patterns of stroke-induced cognitive control deficits in stroke survivors. Fourth, we will map the lesion neuroanatomy of post-stroke cognitive control deficits at the network level. To reach these objectives, we propose a multi-method approach, combining cross-sectional, longitudinal and patient studies, behavioral and neuroimaging (EEG and fMRI) techniques and advanced statistical tools (structural equation modelling, network and connectivity analyses). Ultimately, this project will provide the basis for developing new, non-pharmacological intervention programs to delay, decelerate or decrease cognitive control impairment. We are therefore looking for one or two PhD students and/or a research assistant for this project.
Next to the PhD research, the PhD student will spend 10% of their time on teaching assignments (practical sessions, exam support, student guidance, etc.).
  • You have a degree of Master of Clinical Psychology, Master of Psychology: Theory & Research, Biomedical sciences or Neurosciences. Experience with behavioral experimentation, neuropsychological testing, programming, EEG, and/or (f)MRI is an asset. In any case the candidate should be motivated to strongly invest in these skills.
  • You obtained very good grades. Master students who will graduate in January 2022 are also invited to apply.
  • You are highly proficient in Dutch (required for contact with the target population) and English.
  • You have good statistical and methodological skills. Knowledge of SPSS, R and/or PsychoPy is an asset.
  • You are familiar with scientific methods in psychology.
  • You are motivated and eager to learn.
  • You are mobile (the data collection will require travelling across Flanders).
  • You are able to work independently and flexibly and have a talent for organization.
  • You have excellent communication skills and are prepared to interact with a vulnerable population (older adults, stroke survivors).
We offer
  • a stimulating and dynamic work and learning environment, with excellent research facilities, in which you acquire expertise as a researcher with the aim to obtain a PhD. During the process, you will work together with the promotors and other members of the research group.
  • a varied job content existing for 90% of scientific research and 10% of teaching assignments.
  • a fulltime position as PhD bursary for 2 years, renewable once after positive evaluation, leading to a total of 4 years.
  • the opportunity for professional development through the doctoral training, workshops, courses, seminars, (inter)national conferences and short or longer stays abroad.
  • A salary according to standard Belgian regulations (starting at around €2000 per month net salary).
Starting date is early 2022.
Candidacy is possible until 25/11/2021. After a first selection based on the applicants’ documents, the candidates will be invited for an interview held in December. Candidates’ CV should include at least two email addresses of academic referees. Next to their CV, candidates also have to provide a motivation letter, in which they thoroughly discuss their specific interest for this job opening, and a detailed overview of their study results.

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Eva Van den Bussche, tel.: +32 16 19 31 52, mail: eva.vandenbussche@kuleuven.be or Prof. dr. Céline Gillebert, tel.: +32 16 37 27 04, mail: celine.gillebert@kuleuven.be.
You can apply for this job no later than November 25, 2021 via the online application tool
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.