Radboud Universiteit

Radboud University

At Radboud University, we aim to make an impact through our work. We achieve this by conducting groundbreaking research, providing high-quality education, offering excellent support, and fostering collaborations within and outside the university. In doing so, we contribute indispensably to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. To accomplish this, we need even more colleagues who, based on their expertise, are willing to search for answers. We advocate for an inclusive community and welcome employees with diverse backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives. Will you also contribute to making the world a little better? You have a part to play.

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Faculty of Social Sciences
At the Faculty of Social Sciences, humanity and society are our focus; we study how people behave, think and feel. Within this context, we look at themes such as human behaviour and the human psyche, education and upbringing, communication, society and culture. The faculty provides education to 6,000 students and employs 700 staff. Education is organised into six programme clusters: Psychology; Artificial Intelligence; Pedagogical Sciences and Educational Sciences; Communication Science; Sociology; and Cultural Anthropology and Developmental Sociology. Our research is carried out within three research institutes: the Donders Centre for Cognition, the Behavioural Science Institute, and Radboud Social Cultural Research.

1. Introduction

The primary focus of this project is to refine our approach to developing visual cortical prostheses, aligning it more closely with user needs and expectations.

2. Job description

Visual cortical prostheses are devices designed to help restore some level of vision to blind individuals by directly stimulating the visual cortex of the brain. This process often involves using AI to interpret and encode visual data for effective communication to the brain. In the Neural Engineering Lab, we concentrate on this crucial step of interpreting and encoding visual data.

The current project will build upon a user-centric design philosophy that integrates artificial intelligence and a modular interface to enhance the prostheses' usability and adaptability. This challenging task requires a multidisciplinary approach and close collaboration between researchers with different specialisations across various institutes, as well as with current and potential users of the technology. As part of the project, we will gather insights and feedback from users to inform our method development process, for example through user interviews, online surveys and co-design workshops. Additionally, we will conduct practical testing with implant users in clinical trials to ensure the technology is effective and meets user needs in real-world scenarios. This collaborative and iterative approach will combine cutting-edge technology with user feedback to bridge the gap between innovative research and practical, tangible outcomes. The overarching goal is to enhance visual neuroprosthetic technology in ways that align with user needs and expectations.

As a PhD candidate, you will be responsible for conducting the research required to achieve the aforementioned project goals. Your duties will include designing and developing a platform for user interaction, conducting user interviews, identifying crucial user needs, developing AI methods to implement these needs, organising collaborative activities, running experiments with both normal-sighted and blind individuals, analysing experimental data, and reporting and presenting research findings through scientific publications and conference presentations, respectively. You will also have a 0.1 FTE teaching obligation and will be given the opportunity to attend courses at Radboud University, the Donders Graduate School, and NeurotechEU.

3. Profile

  • You should hold an MSc degree in AI, Cognitive Neuroscience, or a related field (or will obtain your degree before the project start date, 1 September 2024), with additional background in computer science, software engineering, or electrical engineering.
  • You possess excellent programming skills in Python and have experience with deep learning frameworks.
  • You also have experience or a demonstrable interest in UX design and running behavioural experiments with humans.
  • You demonstrate a keen interest in neurotechnology and visual perception.
  • You exhibit excellent communication skills and high proficiency in spoken and written English.
  • You are strong in teamwork and have good organisational skills.
  • You are internally motivated to perform research.
  • You are able and willing to travel to Spain for extended stays, depending on project needs, and to participate in collaborative research components. 

4. We are

You will be part of the Neural Engineering Lab led by Dr Yağmur Güçlütürk, embedded in the AI Department at the Faculty of Social Sciences of Radboud University, and will also be involved in the Neural Computation and Neurotechnology research theme at the Donders Institute.

This is a highly collaborative project with opportunities to test developed algorithms within the cortical visual prosthesis clinical trials led by Prof. Fernandez at Miguel Hernández University in Spain. Periods of research activity at Miguel Hernández University are expected as part of the project.

The Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour is a world-class interfaculty research centre that houses more than 700 researchers devoted to understanding the mechanistic underpinnings of the human mind. Research at the Donders Institute is focused around four themes: 1. Language and communication, 2. Perception, action and control, 3. Plasticity and memory, 4. Neural computation and neurotechnology. Excellent, state-of-the-art research facilities are available for the broad range of neuroscience research that is being conducted at the Donders Institute. The Donders Institute has been assessed by an international evaluation committee as ‘excellent’ and recognised as a ‘very stimulating environment for top researchers, as well as for young talent’. The Donders Institute fosters a collaborative, multidisciplinary and supportive research environment with a diverse international staff. English is the lingua franca at the Institute.

5. We offer

  • We will give you a temporary employment contract (1.0 FTE) of 1,5 years, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, your contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4-year contract).     
  • You will receive a starting salary of €2,770 gross per month based on a 38-hour working week, which will increase to €3,539 in the fourth year (salary scale P).
  • You will receive an 8% holiday allowance and an 8,3% end-of-year bonus. 
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Support Service. The Dual Career Programme assists your partner via support, tools, and resources to improve their chances of independently finding employment in the Netherlands. Our Family Support Service helps you and your partner feel welcome and at home by providing customised assistance in navigating local facilities, schools, and amenities. Also take a look at our support for international staff page to discover all our services for international employees.
  • You will receive extra days off. With full-time employment, you can choose between 30 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the statutory 20. 

6. Practical information and applying

You can apply no later than 11 June only via the button below. Address your letter of application to Yagmur Güçlütürk. In the application form, you will find which documents you need to include with your application.

The first interviews will take place on 25 June. You will preferably start your employment on 1 September 2024.

We can imagine you're curious about our application procedure. It describes what you can expect during the application procedure and how we handle your personal data and internal and external candidates. 

Type of employment Temporary position
Contract type Full time
First day of employment 01-09-2024
Salary Promovendus
  • € 2770 - € 3539
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 1,0
City Nijmegen
County Gelderland
Country Netherlands
Reference number 24.035.24
Published 24.May.2024
Last application date 11.Jun.2024 11:59 PM CEST

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