PhD at Neuroethology of Communication Lab

Upcoming scholarship deadlines:

For EU-citizens: ELTE Doctoral School of Biology May 2021

For non EU-citizens: Stipendium Hungaricum Doctoral programme January 2021

The Neuroethology of Communication Lab (headed by Attila Andics) is looking for excellent candidates who are interested in pursuing a PhD education in comparative cognitive neuroscience, exploring the neural bases of vocal communication and language in multiple species in the framework of a Lendület grant (2017-2022) and an ERC Starting Grant (VOIMA, 2021-2026). The lab is hosted by the Department of Ethology, Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), Budapest, Hungary, a world-leading centre of ethological and brain imaging research in dogs.

Work environment: Eötvös Loránd University is the largest university in Hungary. Our modern, green campus is located next to the river Danube, close to the centre of Budapest, with state-of-the-art facilities, including newly built behavioural and neuroimaging labs. The research will be conducted within the Family Dog Project, at the Department of Ethology. The internationally renowned group was founded in 1994 to study the behavioural and cognitive aspects of the dog-human relationship. It is one of the largest dog research groups in the world, with over 400 published papers in peer-reviewed journals. It hosts more than 30 PhD students and postdoctoral researchers, offering a safe, supportive, stimulating and multidisciplinary research environment. PhD students have the opportunity to regularly present their work at international conferences and meetings, and are encouraged and supported to apply for competitive career development fellowships towards the end of their project.

Research group: Our research group strives to better understand how biology and culture shaped the evolution of communication and language. In particular, we aim at distinguishing common mammalian traits and human-specific traits in the processing of vocal and linguistic signals, using behavioural and neuroimaging methods (fMRI, EEG, fNIRS) mainly on three species: humans, family dogs and family pigs. Our team is among the very few worldwide capable of conducting fMRI and EEG studies on awake, unrestrained, cooperating animals. We investigate miniature pigs that are raised as pets and trained intensely for different neuroethological projects. Researchers of the lab are experts in biology, psychology, neuroscience, veterinary science, behavioural sciences, animal training or psycholinguistics. Our research group is funded, among others, by the Lendület programme of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (2017-2022), and an ERC Starting Grant (VOIMA, 2021-2026). Further information about the group here.

What we expect from you: The ideal candidate has a MSc/MA degree in cognitive (neuro)science, psychology, biology, bioinformatics, psycholinguistics or a related discipline, with a good academic track record. The applicant is expected to have advanced English skills, to be enthusiastic and dedicated to learn new skills and strive for scientific excellence, to be able to work independently, but also in a multidisciplinary team. Support for all these is provided.

Your PhD project: Dependent on your expertise/interest, your PhD research project will focus on neuroscientific and/or behavioural investigations of social, vocal and/or verbal processing capacities of humans, dogs and/or pigs in a comparative ethological framework. You will be trained in all necessary skills to become an independent researcher of the field. During the 4-year doctoral programme you will have the unique opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge about state-of-the-art comparative neuroscientific and ethological research methods. A detailed project plan has to be prepared in cooperation with your prospective supervisor and submitted by 31 May 2021.

Doctoral Programme: If your application is successful, you will enroll in the Ethology Doctoral Programme of the ELTE Doctoral School in Biology, and perform your doctoral research as a member of the Neuroethology of Communication Lab, under the supervision of Attila Andics. The full-time position(s) are initially for 2 years, with possible prolongation for up to 4 years. The amount of the national scholarship is net 140,000 HUF in the first 2 years, and 180,000 HUF in years 3-4 per month. Based on performance additional financial support, in form of part-time employment, is possible. Information on the cost of living in Budapest is here.

How to apply: Please send your CV, a motivation letter and contact information of one reference to Attila Andics ( Application deadline: as soon as possible, ideally before 25 April 2021, to allow enough time to prepare a detailed project plan before the end of May. Application for the doctoral programme and for the national scholarship: 31 May 2021.