PhD students (6) for explorative studies in new biomarkers of listening effort and motivation

Your work environment

In today’s aging European population, hearing impairment is an increasing concern for public health and social participation, affecting one in three older adults. The H2020 EC Marie-Curie ITN project “Innovative Hearing Aid Research – Ecological Conditions and Outcome Measures” (HEAR-ECO) addresses this concern by developing and combining new tools and outcome measures for realistic communication, and translating these tools into innovative developments and evaluations of new technology for those with hearing loss. At its core, HEAR-ECO will train a new team of researchers working at the nexus of technology, psychology, physiology and audiology.
HEAR-ECO will assess how task demands, motivation, and invested effort modulate speech understanding and hearing-aid benefit in daily life. The PhD students will work together to creatively combine three established measures of listening effort, and to develop innovative conditions for testing hearing aids. Moreover, this research will develop bold new tests, analyses techniques, and technologies that will create more realistic listening conditions. As a PhD student in this project, you will receive extensive training throughout the project. You will become capable of spanning the relevant disciplines and translating your knowledge into innovative hearing-aid evaluation and development.

Your challenge

The six PhD students at the core of HEAR-ECO will work as an international multi-site, multi-disciplinary team. Three students will primarily train in Amsterdam, Netherlands (VU University Medical Center); the three other students will primarily train in the UK (University of Nottingham in Glasgow). All six students will also have an extended secondment together in Denmark at one of the largest hearing-aid manufacturers in the world (Oticon Eriksholm Research Centre, Snekkersten).
Each student will have specific roles within the team, but all will be involved in

  • Explorative studies in new biomarkers of effort and motivation
  • Pupillometry,
  • Brain activity (e.g. EEG),
  • Heart activity (including training with associated partners at Liverpool John Moores University)
  • Ambulatory measurements of physiological measures,
  • Innovative integrations of measures of listening effort,
  • Developments of realistic communication scenarios,
  • Novel hearing-aid technologies and evaluations.

Your profile

Prospective applicants should have

  • Masters student/graduate interested in multidisciplinary research on hearing loss, hearing-aid technology and communication with a background in
  • Social, experimental or cognitive psychology,
  • Neuroscience or neuropsychology,
  • Biomedical or Health Sciences,
  • Audiology,
  • Psychophysics,
  • Engineering,
  • Or related fields.
  • An insatiable thirst for new knowledge
  • Ability to spend extended periods in different locales

We offer

Salary Scale OIO: 2279 tot 2919 euro gross when employed full-time (depending on qualifications and experience).

This is the VUmc salary scale; similar stipends apply for the positions at Oticon and the University of Nottingham (adapted to University and country scales).
In addition to an excellent basic salary, VUmc also offer a 8.3% end-of-year bonus and a 8% vacation allowance. For more information about our employment conditions, please visit our website arbeidsvoorwaarden

Additional information

Please note that in this stage of the recruitment process, we ask everyone interested in any of the six positions to apply via the same link (see below), regardless of the preferred institution or position. We will be considering every candidate that has applied for all six posts and discuss the possibilities with the candidates. Note that EU mobility rules apply (see 3.4 and definitions in http://tinyurl.com/y97luaao). Also, at the time of appointment candidates must have had less than four years full-time equivalent research experience.
Recruitment will follow the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. These posts will not be affected directly by any changes in UK/EU relations. To enrol as PhD students, candidates must fulfil standard academic and language proficiency requirements of the respective universities.
Stipends will be according to the local regulations of the VU University medical center, University of Nottingham in Glasgow, or Oticon Eriksholm Research Centre.
The expected starting date for students will be Spring 2018.


If you’re interested about this position, you can contact mw dr. A. Zekveld, via telephone number 020-4440952. If you need more information about the application procedure, contact Lonneke Schagen, corporate recruiter at 020-4445635. You can apply till 6 January 2018 using this link.

Acquisition based on this vacancy is not appreciated.