ERC PhD positions -

FAQs page



If you wish to apply for one of the PhD positions please read the sample publications, and the details of the four supervisors first.


Below are some answers to some Frequently Asked Questions about the PhDs:


What skills/training is required?

An undergraduate degree is required. We are happy to consider applications from students with backgrounds in psychology, neuroscience, medicine or computer science. A Masters degree is preferred, but not required. Other skills/experience that we will be looking for are: communication skills/experience with children (as the positions will involve running testing sessions with infants and children); proven ability to work as part of a team; and mathematical/technical skills (including if possible some experience of using Matlab/Python). This last area is particularly important, as the project will involve analysing complex, multimodal naturalistic datasets. If candidates do not have experience of performing high-level data analyses, then some evidence of being able to acquire these skills will be required.


To what degree would working on this project by my own work?

These positions are slightly different to other types of PhD. To receive the funding from the European Research Council we have had to specify roughly what we plan to look at and how. The sample publications set out a rough overview of the main focus of the project. That said, there is still extensive leeway for the candidate to decide for themselves exactly which questions they want to look at, and how. We can put you in contact with some other PhD students in the group who are already one year into their PhDs, which are being run on a similar basis (but funded by a different grant) - so they can tell you what their experience of this has been like!

The other part of the project that is already decided is that all of the PhDs will contribute different parts to a single longitudinal study, in which each person has their own specialist area. You will all be listed as co-authors on each others' papers, but in addition you will each have your own area within the longitudinal study that you have designed, and which is your special area of responsibility - and for which you will be first author on any papers that come out. But if you are someone who doesn't like working on a team and who wants to have 100% their own project then this probably isn't the position for you!


What kinds of training/teaching opportunities are available?

You will be required to attend regular lab meetings, as these are an excellent opportunity to get informal 'horizontal' support from colleagues just one or two years ahead of you, who are working on their own projects in related areas. There is also budget for you to decide what further specialist training to need in order for you to carry out your project, in addition to the expertise you'll have available from your supervisors. One area that most people starting PhDs need some further training in is Matlab/Python, as these are used heavily. We have a peer-to-peer Matlab group in the lab already - which you may find is the best way to learn.

There is no teaching requirement as part of the PhD - you will be free to concentrate 100% on your own research. If you would like some additional teaching, though, to earn additional money or to build your CV, we can organise this.


Are you able to cover fees for non UK/EU candidates?

Although the positions have been budgeted for UK/EU candidates, we do have sufficiently leeway to cover the higher fees for international candidates. However, this is only possible in exceptional circumstances, for students who are outstandingly well qualified.


If you are still interested in applying after reading this, please contact s.v.wass@uel.ac.uk for more information about how to apply.