Two PhD ESRC Studentships on the Neural Basis of Adult Second Language Learning


University of Cambridge, Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages

Applications are invited from students with a background in linguistics, psychology or neuroscience for two four-year ESRC-funded multi-disciplinary studentships on the neural basis of adult second language learning. The studentship will be based in Cambridge and jointly supervised by Dr John Williams (Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics) and Dr Matt Davis (MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit). The studentships will involve investigations of the neural basis of adult second language learning, exploring the links between instructional methods, neural processes (measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging or electro- and magnetoencephalography) and behavioural outcomes (language performance). The main focus will be on topics in lexical learning (especially morphology) and syntax, though detailed research proposals will be developed through discussions with the supervisors.

The aim of these multi-disciplinary studentships is to provide students from a psycholinguistics background with neuroscience training, or students from a neuroscience background with psycholinguistics training. Hence, candidates should have a strong masters or undergraduate degree in either field, but previous experience in both neuroimaging and psycholinguistics is not required. However, prior research experience in language processing or human learning and memory is desirable. Computing and statistical skills for research in linguistics, behaviour or neuroimaging are essential as is a desire to further develop these skills.

Length of award: 4 years full time

Start date: October 2013 (but negotiable)

Stipend: £20,826 per annum.

Eligibility: The studentships offer tuition fees and a maintenance grant in accordance with Research Council eligibility criteria, which means that the studentships are not available to citizens of non-EU countries. For ESRC eligibility requirements see: (note that EU citizens may be able to apply for additional maintenance funding).

Deadline for applications: Friday 14th June 2013.

To apply, send a CV and personal statement to Dr John Williams,

more details available at: