Postdoc in social decision making and brain stimulation

The Social Brain Lab has an exciting opportunity for a post-doctoral researcher in Social Decision Making and Brain Stimulation
3 years


The Social Brain Lab, has pioneered the investigation of the mechanisms of empathy by combining rodents and humans research. We are currently looking for an ambitious postdoc that will lead the efforts to investigate the causal link between particular brain regions and behavior, using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS).

You will be part of a three partners consortium (Di Pellegrino Lab at the University of Bologna and Sirigu Lab at the C.N.R.S. Paris) that aims at investigating the role of premotor cortices in how environmental cues bias decision-making. You will help optimizing the Pavlovian to Instrumental task developed and used within the consortium in order to test, using TMS, the causal contribution of premotor activity in the acquisition of biases. This project does require expertise in TMS, and possibly knowledge on the topic. The project is financed by the European Initiative FLAG-ERA in collaboration with the Dutch funding agency NWO. By joining the project you will not only have the opportunity to collaborate with the expertise of the partners, but you also have the opportunity to closely collaborate with other members of the lab working with complementary expertise on neuroscience techniques ranging from optogenetic and ultrasound stimulation in rodents, to neuroimaging in humans, on the over-arching theme of the neural bases of empathy and social decision making. By working within the SBL you will have the unique opportunity to bridge and integrate results from human and rodent research.

We expect from you

  • PhD in neuroscience, or related fields
  • Expertise in TMS
  • Knowledge of the motor system, action perception and mirror neuron theory
  • Interest in social behavior and empathy, and in translational research
  • Highly motivated, energetic, detail orientated and capable to work and troubleshoot independently and collaboratively.
  • Have excellent oral and written communication skills in English.
  • At least one excellent publication.
  • Actively participating in the lab activities (e.g. helping organizing meetings, supervising students, …)

We would also value

  • Experience with imaging methods such as fMRI or EEG
  • Experience with transcranial Direct Current Stimulation
  • Advanced statistical knowledge

You should expect from us

  • Mentoring, supervision and training
  • A TMS facility
  • Direct guidance and support toward the development of a strong and cross-species social neuroscience background
  • A stimulating international research environment
  • Availability of a in-house helpful and highly competent technical department
  • Active support and mentoring in grant writing


The Social Brain Lab is the results of the joint venture of the research groups of Valeria Gazzola and Christian Keysers, aiming at shedding light on the neural mechanisms of empathy by combining studies in humans and rodents. The SBL is funded by multiple European (ERC, Marie Curie) and Dutch (VIDI, VICI) grants, and is characterized by an unusually diverse environment, with members from all over the world, backgrounds ranging from philosophy to engineering with an emphasis on biology and psychology, and neuroscientific techniques spanning from high field fMRI in humans to ultrasound imaging in rodents. The lab has a tradition of pushing the boundaries of technology and data analyses to further neuroscience questions.

The Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience is the country’s leading fundamental neuroscience research institute, and is in close collaboration with the SPINOZA imaging center, which hosts both 3T and 7T scanners and relevant expertise. The institute spearheads Neurotech-NL, the national initiative for the advancement of technologies to measure and alter brain activity.

English is the working language of the research group, the institute and is extremely well spoken in the vibrant and international city of Amsterdam, creating an attractive, progressive and easy-to-integrate environment.

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, age, protected veteran or status as disabled status, or genetic information.


The position is for a period of 2 years. The first appointment is for one year with the option for an extension for the remaining period pending on an evaluation.


The salary will be commensurate with experience and institutional guidelines based on the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities; CAO NU). Full time monthly salary for a postdoctoral researcher depends on experience and ranges from € 3.270,- to € 4.474 gross per month, before taxes. A 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% year-end bonus are excluded. We offer travel expenses, paid parental leave, flexible working hours, 30 days paid leave per year and help by finding a house.

Starting date

As soon as the ideal candidate is identified.

To apply

Applicants are welcomed to submit their application through (and only through, do not use the apply button on this page) the online form at https://forms.gle/gYcY1rXEhxFoCEUv5 until January 28, 2022. The online application will include four sections:

  1. general information
  2. education and research experience
  3. research and personal skills
  4. CV, motivation letter and recommendation letters.

For any encountered problems, or further information please email [email protected]

Evaluation of candidates will begin immediately, and after about 4 to 6 weeks from the deadline candidates will be informed whether they passed the first round or not. Shortlisted candidates will receive, taking into account candidates’ availability, an assignment to be done within 48h. Based on the results of the assignment, we will organize a 1h Zoom interview followed by a visit on site (if it will be allowed). We foresee a final decision to be communicated within three months after the first submission date. If no excellent candidate can be identified, we might re-advertise the position.

Any acquisition further to this advertisement will not be appreciated