PhD Candidate in Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience

University of Amsterdam Faculty of Science


PhD candidate in Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience

Publication date 3 February 2020
Closing date 8 March 2020
Level of education Master's degree
Hours 38 hours per week
Salary indication €2,325 to €2,972 gross per month
Vacancy number 20-062

The Cognitive & Systems Neuroscience group of the Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, headed by prof Cyriel Pennartz, is seeking a highly qualified and motivated candidate for a doctoral position in Systems Neuroscience, under the recently acquired FLAG-ERA Joint Transnational call grant proposal DOMINO (Development Of cortical Multisensory Integration mechanisms at micro- and macro- scales during NOrmal and pathophysiological conditions), which will be coordinated by Dr Umberto Olcese and Dr Conrado Bosman. We aim to investigate how information from different types of sensory systems – sound and sight – are integrated within our nervous system, how this process develops from birth to adulthood, and to what extent this process is disrupted in autism spectrum disorders. Specifically, we will test the hypothesis that this impairment might stem from imbalances between excitatory and inhibitory neurons in the brain’s neocortex. To achieve this, we will combine in vivo electrophysiology and optogenetics with behavioral manipulations in different transgenic lines. Moreover, we will investigate if restoring the ability to integrate multiple sensory modalities during development may lead to new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for people with autism spectrum disorder.

What are you going to do?

You are expected:

  • to perform in vivo multi-area electrophysiological recordings and optogenetics during different stages of neurodevelopment;
  • to develop a common experimental platform for different transgenic lines;
  • to perform neurodevelopmental experiments in different transgenic lines;
  • to implement sophisticated electrophysiological data analysis technique, and compare results with human studies performed by other partners in the international collaboration in which this position will be embedded;
  • to take part in the teaching effort of the group, including supervision of bachelor and master students.
  • write scientific manuscripts and a PhD thesis.

We will base our selection on your scientific track record and on your vision for future research, as well as on your teaching achievement, qualifications, and vision for future teaching.

What do we require?

  • A MSc in Neuroscience or a closely related field;
  • a strong scientific expertise in signal processing, brain data analysis and/or behavioral testing;
  • strong programming skills in MATLAB or Python;
  • demonstrable experience in laboratory work (including handling of transgenic lines).

Experience in in vivo electrophysiology and possession of an 'article 9' (FELASA B) license are important assets for this position.

Our offer

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week, starting not later than 30 April 2020 (due to funding agency constraints) for the duration of 48 months (initial contract will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory performance evaluation it can be extended) and should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). An educational plan will be drafted that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. The PhD student is also expected to assist in teaching of undergraduates.

Based on a full-time employment contract (38 hours per week) the gross monthly salary will range from €2,325  in the first year to €2,972 in the last year. These amounts are exclusive 8 % holiday allowance and 8,3 end-of-year bonus. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Then find out more about working at the Faculty of Science.

About the Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 6,500, as well as 1,600 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.


Do you have questions about this vacancy? Or do you want to know more about our organisation? Please contact:

  • Dr Umberto Olcese or Dr Conrado Bosman, co-Principal Investigators of the project
    T: +31 (0)20 525 7968 / 6055 

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your CV and cover letter by 8 March 2020. You may apply online by using the link below. 

Applications should include:

  • a motivation letter and CV;
  • name and email address of two academic references.


No agencies please

Apply now

In your application, please refer to


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