Doctoral student, Department of Economics, Zurich Center for Neuroeconomics

May 9, 2023 | Graduate students, Job Postings

The Zurich Center for Neuroeconomics (Zurich Center for Neuroeconomics) is a research center with the Laboratory for Social and Neural Systems Research (SNS Lab) at its heart. In this interdisciplinary laboratory, researchers explore the neural mechanisms that underlie decision making and learning. The SNS Lab is in a custom-built section of the MR Centre at the University Hospital Zurich and equipped with researchdedicated facilities for MRI, EEG, behavioral measurements, brain stimulation, and pharmacological manipulations.

Your responsibilities

The doctoral student position will be funded by SNSF project “The process of habitization, its neural implementation and clinical application.” The goal of this project is to reveal how the process of shaping habits from instrumental learning experiences works on a formal level, how it is implemented in the human brain, and how it may become pathological in substance use disorders.

The successful candidate will plan, conduct, and analyse studies about the development of human habits with a focus on the learning process and how learned associations influence later decision making. For this purpose, they will acquire behavioral, EEG, and/or MRI data with healthy and/or substance use disorder patients, apply computational models of behavior, prepare scientific manuscripts about the studies and the generated insights, and present their work at national and international conferences.

Your profile

The candidate should hold (or expect to hold by the end of July) a very good Master’s degree in one of the following (or similar) domains: Psychology, Neuroscience, Physics, or Computer Science. They should have a strong interest in the basic mechanisms of learning and decision making. The candidate should have strong skills in research methods and scientific data analysis, good programming skills (demonstrated experience with MATLAB, R, or Python), a strong proactive, collaborative, and creative working approach, as well as strong organization, social and communication skills. They should possess excellent English skills (both written and oral). German is a plus (but not essential). They should also feel comfortable interacting with study participants. Preference will be given to applicants with experience in MRI or EEG data analysis and/ or in conducting behavioral, EEG, or MRI experiments.

The working language in the laboratory is English and all PhD courses are taught in English.

What we offer

We offer a PhD position funded for four years starting in September 2023; an inclusive, supportive, and stimulating environment to help you develop your unique academic profile; the opportunity to work under the supervision of Dr. Stephan Nebe and Prof. Philippe Tobler at an excellent research institute; facilities to run state-of-the-art experiments; and a salary in line with cantonal regulations.

All qualified applicants are considered for employment regardless of their origin, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, citizenship, age, or disability.

Place of work

Blümlisalpstrasse 10, Zürich, Switzerland

Start of employment

Employment start date is September 1, 2023 (or later by mutual agreement). Please submit your application by May 15, 2023.

Applications should be submitted in electronic form only; one single PDF file per applicant. These must include: CV, letter of motivation (max. 2 pages), transcript of MSc grades and MSc diploma if available, GRE score report if available, TOEFL score report if available, and the names and e-mail addresses of at least two referees. Informal inquiries about the position can be made to Dr. Stephan Nebe.

The University of Zurich values transparent, reproducible, and replicable research and supports Open Science practices. As an applicant, you are asked to outline in your letter the ways in which you have already pursued these practices and/or would like to pursue them in the future.

Please apply via our job portal at