Research Fellow at the School of Psychology

United Kingdom
Jan 22, 2018
Feb 22, 2018
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time

Job Purpose

The School of Psychology at the University of Birmingham invites applicants for a position as a post-doctoral researcher. The successful candidate will work together with Dr. Ian Charest on a European Research Council (ERC)-funded project on the neurocognitive mechanisms behind conscious access in visual object recognition (ERC-StG-START).

The duration of the position is three years, contingent on research productivity and continued substantive fit of the candidate. This is a full-time position with a competitive salary. Funding for project-relevant conferences is also available


Project description

The ability to consciously recognise faces, objects, or sounds is crucial for adaptive behaviour and survival. Yet, how our conscious experience of the world emerges in our brain remains unknown. The overall aim of the START programme is to fill an important gap in our understanding of consciousness by elucidating the neural underpinnings of conscious access. How does the brain select relevant information among distractors, and keep this information in mind? Why does our ability to consciously recognise salient objects sometimes fail under pressure and exhibit variability across days and individuals? START will try to address these important questions by precisely tracking where in the brain and when in time the representations critical for conscious access are established, by using novel approaches of Representational Similarity Analyses which combines the strengths of EEG, fMRI, and Deep Convolutional Neuronal Networks. In summary, START will provide new insights on the precise spatio-temporal dynamics of conscious access, the mechanisms governing it, and the idiosyncratic subtleties behind the meanderings of consciousness. Results from this package will have deep implications for our understandings of conscious visual information processing.


The Candidate

The successful candidate will have a PhD in cognitive neuroscience or a related field. Previous experience with psychophysical tasks that manipulate conscious access in vision is desirable. Given the nature of the project, good understanding of and experience with fMRI, EEG/MEG and data analysis is required. Experience in using matlab or python (and Psychtoolbox or PsychoPy) is also a requirement. The successful post-holder will have experience in using multivariate pattern analyses (Representational Similarity Analysis, Fisher linear discriminants, etc). This post will require analysing data associated with this project, preparing manuscripts for publication, presenting results at national and international conferences and the possible supervision of research assistants and students.


The School

The School of Psychology at the University of Birmingham ( is one of the largest and most successful in the UK, currently ranked in the top 5 Schools in the country (REF 2014). The School is soon to move to new accommodation in the form of a fully refurbished, purpose-designed space and a new-build Centre for Human Brain Health that will house our new MRI, MEG, EEG, NIRS, sleep lab, and the recently appointed Chair in Translational Neuroscience. The University of Birmingham is an equal opportunities employer. The School of Psychology has a Bronze Athena SWAN award and strives to maintain a flexible and supportive environment that enables its staff to flourish.


Person Specification


  • PhD relevant to psychology / cognitive neuroscience
  • High level analytical capability
  • Ability to communicate complex information clearly
  • Knowledge of relevant research field
  • Evidence of skill in the dissemination of research findings
  • Knowledge of statistics
  • English language proficiency



  • PhD relevant to consciousness / attention / object recognition / MVPA in neuroimaging
  • Matlab expertise
  • Advanced statistics
  • Experience running and analysing neuroimaging and behavioural experiments that modulate conscious access to visual objects
  • Ability to integrate into a multidisciplinary team and to give guidance to junior lab members
  • Ability to write scientific manuscripts for high quality publications
  • Previous experience with communicating research findings at national / international conferences
  • Ability to assess resource requirements and use resources effectively
  • Understanding of and ability to contribute to broader management/administration processes
  • Experience with experimental design

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