Computational-Neuroscience Postdoc, The Social Brain Lab at the Netherlands Institute of Neuroscience in Amsterdam

Jul 21, 2022 | Job Postings, Postdoctoral Students

The Social Brain Lab, lead by Valeria Gazzola and Christian Keysers at the Netherlands Institute of Neuroscience in Amsterdam (NL), has pioneered the investigation of the mechanisms of empathy and prosocial behaviour by combining rodent and human research, and is now looking for an ambitious computational-neuroscience postdoc that will lead the effort to use behavioural and imaging data to study the link between embodied processes and social decision-making.

You will use both pre- and newly acquired fMRI and behavioral data in combination with appropriate computational models, including reinforcement learning and drift diffusion models, to reveal the circuits and processes linking embodied perception and other-regarding choices, in particular when cost and benefits for self are in conflict with costs and benefits for others. For an example of the type of projects you’ll be involved in see:

These projects will require a combination of advanced analytical and modelling skills together with creative social neuroscience experimentation. We therefore expect you to be relatively independent regarding the computational aspects. During your time in the lab, you will have the opportunity to work together with and supervise a research assistant and a first-year PhD student, both working on the same or similar research lines. Opportunities to complement imaging with non-invasive neuro-stimulation methods and acquisition of EcoG data will also be present.

We expect from you:

  • A PhD in computational neuroscience or related fields.
  • Experience with reinforcement learning models.
  • Experience with analyses of fMRI data.
  • Interest in social behavior and empathy, and in translational research
  • Highly motivated, energetic, detail orientated and capable to work and troubleshoot independently and collaboratively.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English.
  • At least one excellent publication in computational neuroscience.

You can expect from us:

  • Mentoring, supervision and training
  • Direct guidance and support toward the acquisition of your social neuroscience expertise
  • Support from close collaborators on developing and adapting cutting-edge Bayesian modelling algorithms
  • A stimulating international research environment
  • 3T and 7T fMRI facilities and expertise
  • Further possibilities to complement fMRI, with EEG, MEG (in collaboration) and TMS
  • Access to a wide network of collaborators


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 and prosocial behavior by combining studies in humans and rodents. The SBL is funded by multiple European (ERC, Marie Curie) and Dutch (VIDI, VICI, Gravity) 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 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, as well as relevant expertise. Both PIs have an additional position at the University of Amsterdam, one of the top psychology departments in Europe. Together this provides a critical mass of experts in the most advanced neuroscience techniques, together with a dynamic multi-cultural environment. English is the working language of the research group and institute and is extremely well spoken in the vibrant and international city of Amsterdam, creating an attractive, progressive and easy-to-integrate environment.


The position is for a maximum period of 3 years in total. The first appointment is for one year with the option for an extension for the remaining period pending on an evaluation. The position is a full time research position, without any teaching requirements.

Starting date

As soon as the ideal candidate is identified.

How to apply and application deadline

Applicants can apply to the position using the form at Only applications with a complete form will be considered. Applications close on Sunday July 31 (2022), midnight CET, or as soon as the ideal candidate has been found.