News and Events: Open Positions

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PhD position at UIL-OTS (Utrecht University)

Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS offers 1 PhD position in language development (1,0 fte)


This PhD position is part of a four-year research programme concerning first-language acquisition, funded by The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research NWO (project number PR-06-99). The goal of the programme is to explain the succession of the child's acquisition steps that we have observed in empirical studies. The programme will develop a theory of first language acquisition and implement it as a data-driven computational model to be tested on Dutch child language. As training and test data, it will use the child-directed speech and the child language in corpora such as CHILDES, enriched with semantic/pragmatic annotations.

The programme involves collaboration between UiL OTS (dr. J. van Kampen, prof. dr. M. Moortgat) and the Institute for Logic Language and Computation (ILLC) in Amsterdam (prof. dr. R. Scha). The programme comprises a post-doctoral project and two PhD projects. Their relation can be described as linguistic descriptive (postdoctoral project), formal theoretical (PhD project 1) (both employed by Utrecht University) and computational (PhD project 2, employed by the University of Amsterdam). The current opening is for PhD project 1 (starting date 1-9-2007): a PhD project investigating the successive acquisition steps by means of a structured lexicon and grammars using the framework of generative grammar. Child-utterances in the CHILDES corpora will be annotated in terms of these grammars, thus testing and demonstrating their adequacy. Child-directed speech will be annotated with utterance situations, represented as "semantic frames". The outcome of this project is a description of the language development process as the growth of a system for lexical categories and their context conditions.


The PhD project involves training in research and completion of a PhD dissertation. As part of her/his training, the AiO student will take courses offered by the National Graduate School in Linguistics (LOT).


We are looking for an ambitious student holding an MA degree in formal generative syntax (Categorial Grammar, Minimalism), Cognitive Science or Artificial Intelligence, with proven skills in computer modelling. The candidate must have an MA degree in hand by 1 September 2007. The ideal candidate has some experience with child language analysis. He/she must be prepared to collaborate with researchers with widely varying backgrounds. He/she is a native speaker of Dutch.

Work conditions

The successful candidate is offered a one-year contract as AiO with the possibility of renewal with three years maximum, after evaluation. The AiO will work on the basis of 1.0 FTE and receive a gross monthly salary of € 1.956,- per month during the first year. We also offer a pension scheme, a holiday allowance of 8% per year and flexible employment conditions. Conditions are based on the Collective Employment Agreement of the Dutch Universities.

UIL-OTS features a stimulating, innovative, and internationally oriented research environment which offers opportunities for a broad professional development. Courses are offered by internationally renowned experts, while possibilities for conference visiting are plentiful. We offer excellent experimental facilities and computational support.


For further information, please contact the programme supervisor at the UiL OTS, dr. Jacqueline van Kampen, telephone +31-30-2536054, e-mail Jacqueline.vanKampen at, or the UiL-OTS PhD coordinator dr. Maaike Schoorlemmer, telephone +31-30-2536183, e-mail . You may also consult our institute's website: The full programme description is available at:

How to apply?

Applications should include a letter of motivation, a curriculum vitae including contact and personal details transcripts of academic results and the contact details of two referees (names, affiliations and phone numbers or e-mail addresses). Preferably, reference letters are included. Please also send an MA thesis or (if the thesis is not available yet) some alternative piece of written work.

Written applications should be sent to the Personnel Department, attn. Ms Ingrid Wagenaar, Kromme Nieuwegracht 46, 3512 HJ Utrecht, The Netherlands. Please refer to the vacancy number 68721 as well as to the website where you found this advertisement.

E-mail applications should be sent in pdf or doc format to , and should specify the applicant's name and the vacancy number 68721 in the message as well as in the topic, include a list of attachments in the message, and specify the applicant's name in each attachment.

Deadline for application is May 30th, 2007.
Interviews are planned on June 14th, 2007.

Please note that this newsitem has been archived, and may contain outdated information or links.