The research unit Developmental Psychology: Infancy and Childhood at the Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, invites applications for a fully funded, 4-year PhD researcher position associated with the Swiss National Science Foundation-funded Ambizione project "The ontogeny and physiology of sentence planning" (Principal Investigator: Dr. Sebastian Sauppe), commencing in September 2023. The aim of the project is to investigate (i) how incremental sentence planning mechanisms develop from childhood to adolescence, (ii) how neural oscillatory activity underpins sentence planning, and (iii) how ontogentic development and neurophysiological correlates of sentence planning and production differ between languages. For crosslinguistic differences, the project focuses on comparisons between German/English and Tagalog.

The PhD student will work closely with Dr. Sebastian Sauppe and Prof. Moritz Daum. Prof. Martin Meyer will also be part of the PhD committee.

*** Your responsibilities ***

You are expected to participate actively in project-related tasks in order to work towards a PhD degree in psychology or linguistics. This involves:

* Scientific qualification (cumulative PhD thesis) through conducting and disseminating behavioral and neurophysiological studies on sentence planning in children (approx. 4-12 years old) and adults
* Design and preparation of experiments using eye tracking and EEG (possibly fNIRS), in collaboration with the senior researchers
* Participant recruitment
* Communication with the project team and external international collaborators
* Active participation in national and international scientific conferences
* Producing and submitting / publishing scholarly articles in international, peer-reviewed journals

The topic and parts of the (cumulative) PhD thesis shall be determined upon commencement of the candidature in agreement with the Principal Investigator and shall consist of individual studies as outlined in the project proposal. These studies ideally also concern sentence planning in Tagalog and English, for which research stays with collaborators at the University of the Philippines - Diliman and at the University of Texas at Dallas are envisaged.

*** Your profile ***

You are a highly motivated, committed, and creative candidate, who can work in a multidisciplinary team and who wants to build a strong profile as a researcher. You can work efficiently, self-organized and self-dependently and you have outstanding communication skills. You are child-friendly.

The ideal candidate holds a Master's degree in psychology, linguistics, cognitive science, cognitive neuroscience, or a related discipline (as relevant to the project) and has a strong background in at least one of the following (and an exceptional willingness to become fluent in the others): experiments on human cognition and language processing (eye tracking, neuroimaging), data collection with children, linguistics (especially morphosyntax of non-European languages), programming (in R, MATLAB, or Python), mixed-effects regression (Bayesian or frequentist).

The team and facilities at the research unit Developmental Psychology: Infancy and Childhood provide learning opportinuties for all required aspects of the research. A strong interest in research on language processing, the cognitive/neuroscience of language, and child development is essential.

Prior knowledge of Tagalog and/or German is not required, but an asset. The candidate is expected to acquire basic language skills and a theoretical knowledge of the grammar of the languages (based on the linguistic literature), to enable designing studies and collecting data in the Philippines and in Switzerland (together with local collaborators and assistants). You will stay in the Philippines and the USA for several weeks to work with our collaborators and to conduct studies.

What we offer

We offer varied and interesting work in an inspiring and socially relevant environment. Diversity and inclusion are important to us.
Place of work

Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Universität Zürich-Nord, Binzmühlestrasse, Zürich, Switzerland
Start of employment

Employment should start on September 1, 2023 or as soon as possible thereafter as mutually agreed. The position remains open until filled. For full consideration please submit your application by March 17, 2023.

To apply for this position, compile the following documents into a single PDF with the file name "PhD_TOPOS_LASTNAME_FIRSTNAME":
* cover letter (max. 2 pages: brief outline of academic background and outline of previous research experience, e.g., during Master's thesis research or other research-related work, motivation for joining this project as a PhD student)
* CV (listing relevant courses and grades, research experience if applicable)
* certificates
* one writing sample (e.g., Master's thesis)
* contact information for two referees.

Please submit your application to

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