[visionlist] 4 positions in Leuven

Johan Wagemans Johan.Wagemans at ppw.kuleuven.be
Sun Mar 11 09:44:26 GMT 2012


Four positions in Leuven

We have open positions available for two PhD students and two postdoctoral researchers to start in September 2012. The positions are funded by a large and prestiguous grant (Methusalem program of the Flemish Government), awarded to Johan Wagemans for research on "Perceptual organization in the context of a dynamical and hierarchical visual brain" The Methusalem group currently consists of 7 professors (Jan Koenderink, Ralf Krampe, Hans Op de Beeck, Gert Storms, Raymond van Ee, Karl Verfaillie, Johan Wagemans), 10 postdoctoral researchers, and 10 PhD students.

The PhD positions are for a period of 4 years. Starting salary will be in the range of 1500 euro per month after taxes. The main assignment of the PhD students is to conduct and publish research related to the topics of the project and to complete a PhD thesis. Teaching and administration load will be minimal. Candidates should have a Master degree in experimental, cognitive, biological or mathematical psychology, or in a related field (e.g., neuroscience, biomedical science, computer science, physics, mathematics). They should have experience in conducting research, preferably on topics related to the research program described below.

The postdoc positions are for a period of one, two or three years, depending on the candidate's preference and on our evaluation of the candidate's capacities. More senior postdocs with academic ambitions are also encouraged to apply. They can be co-supervisor of PhD students and can apply for grants as co-principal investigator. Starting salary depends on prior academic experience, but will probably range between 2000 and 2700 euro per month after taxes. The main assignment of the postdocs is to conduct and publish research related to the topics of the project and to co-supervise the work of PhD students. Teaching and administration load will be minimal. Candidates should have a PhD in experimental, cognitive, biological or mathematical psychology, or in a related field (e.g., neuroscience, biomedical science, computer science, physics, mathematics). They should have published in international journals on topics related to the research program described below.

Research program

The general aim of our research program is to understand the processes and mechanisms of perceptual organization in the context of what we know about the dynamical and hierarchical way in which the brain functions. More specifically, we want to understand (1) the different processes and representations involved in the formation of groups, patterns, shapes, objects, and events; (2) the mid-level processes and representations involved in perceptual organization in relation to  low-level and high-level processes and representations; and (3) the dynamics of perceptual organization at different time scales, incl. microgenesis, developmental questions, and plasticity issues. In addition to basic research, we also address two applications with high societal or cultural importance: (4) the nature of visual processing in autism, with a special emphasis on deficits in automatic Gestalt formation and on enhanced processing of visual details; and (5) the spontaneous and subtle use of perceptually appealing Gestalt phenomena and the relation to aesthetic pleasure in visual arts.

The dominant methodological approach is experimental psychology and psychophysics but we also use advanced fMRI techniques and combined fMRI-EEG measurements, and we develop and test quantitative models.

Research interests

For the present set of positions, we encourage applications from students and researchers with a special interest and background in the following four topics:
-       rhythm perception and -production (with an emphasis on chunking and sequencing)
-       art & perception (with an emphasis on Gestalt phenomena)
-       visual processing in autism (with an emphasis on local and global processing)
-       perceptual organization as a bridge between low- and high-level vision (with an emphasis on neurocomputational modeling)

Leuven: the city and the university

The city of Leuven is an old, medieval city with many colleges, cosy squares, shopping streets, and lots of restaurants and cafes. One third of the population are students. The city center is quite friendly for pedestrians and cyclists. Leuven is at 25 km from Brussels, with frequent direct train connections, also to the international airport at Zaventem and to the TGV station of Brussels South (Midi).

The university is one of the oldest in the Low Countries (founded in 1425) and ranked amongst the best in Europe. International PhD students and postdocs have regularly acclaimed it one of the best places in the world to live and work.
Some useful links to find out more about the city and university of Leuven:
http://www.kuleuven.be/english/living.html
http://www.kuleuven.be/about/history.html

More information

More information about our research can be found at http://gestaltrevision.be/en/. Questions and applications should be sent to stephanie.poot at ppw.kuleuven.be<mailto:stephanie.poot at ppw.kuleuven.be> before 15 April 2012. All applications should include a full CV and the names of at least two academics who can be contacted for a reference. Feel free to forward this message to anyone who might be interested in applying for one of the positions.

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Prof. Johan Wagemans
Laboratory of Experimental Psychology
University of Leuven (KU Leuven)
Tiensestraat 102, box 3711
B-3000 Leuven
Belgium
tel. +32-16-32.59.69 (office)
tel. +32-16-32.60.94 (secretary)
fax. +32-16-32.60.99
Email: johan.wagemans at psy.kuleuven.be<mailto:johan.wagemans at psy.kuleuven.be>
Website: http://www.gestaltrevision.be<http://www.gestaltrevision.be/>

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