– PhD position – KULeuven – Movement Control and Neuroplasticity Resarch Group

JOB description PhD

The Movement Control and Neuroplasticity Research Group is currently hiring a PhD candidate. The Movement Control and Neuroplasticity Research Group, Department of Movement Sciences, Group of Biomedical Sciences, KU Leuven, consists of a multidisciplinary team of international scientists adhering to an integrated behavioral and neuroscientific research strategy, focusing on experimental studies in motor control and training-induced neuroplasticity. Use is made of non-invasive medical imaging techniques to study brain structure, function and connectivity in the context of motor behavior in healthy as well as pathological conditions. The group has a long-standing tradition and international recognition in these areas of research. Excellent state-of-the art research infrastructure is available in the BrainsHub, including movement registration and robotics technology, integrated systems for measurement of locomotion and balance, noninvasive brain stimulation technology, high-density Electro-Encephalography and neuronavigation equipment. Access to MRI scanners is available via the Translational MRI division at the University Hospital.

Welcome – Movement Control & Neuroplasticity (kuleuven.be)


Learning-induced neuroplasticity (position at KU Leuven; principal advisor: Jolien Gooijers)

In this PhD project, we aim to study the capacity of the brain to change with learning. While there is a large amount of cross-sectional research supporting the idea that inter-individual differences in brain structure and function are predictive of motor behavior, in the present project, our goal is to identify and understand structural white matter and functional brain changes in response to motor learning. By applying various neuroimaging techniques (structural MRI, diffusion MRI, functional MRI, TMS) prior to, during and after motor learning (complex bimanual coordinative skills), we will obtain crucial information on the timescale of learning-induced neuroplasticity. In addition, with a particular focus on (advanced) diffusion (white matter) imaging, we will shed new light on the crucial link between white matter, brain function and motor behavior.

Further information about this position can be obtained from Jolien Gooijers



We are looking for a dynamic and motivated candidate with a strong interest in studying the neural correlates of motor control. In addition, the candidate must:

  • have obtained a master degree in Biomedical Sciences, Neurosciences, Psychology, Movement Sciences, Rehabilitation Sciences, Health Sciences or related fields.
  • have excellent oral and written communication skills, both in Dutch and English
  • have strong organizational and good project management skills
  • have experience in academic writing and have good experimental and analytical skills
  • have experience with fMRI, EEG, TMS or structural MRI (including diffusion MRI): acquisition and analyses
  • have experience with acquiring and analyzing kinematic data, nd with programming (Matlab)

Job description

  • Performing scientific research (together with experts in the field) and under the supervision of Jolien Gooijers
  • Supervising bachelor and master internships and master theses within the research domain
  • Providing assistance with teaching assignments of ZAP members of the Department of Movement Sciences


We offer a full-time PhD position for 2 year, renewable, subject to positive evaluation, up to a maximum of 4 years in total. 


Applications must consist of a motivation letter (including contact details of 2 referees) and a CV (including copies of diplomas and transcripts at university level). You can apply via our online application tool. The deadline for application is August 1, 2021.  Click here: online sollicitatietoepassing to apply.

Interviews will take place in the period from August 9 – 15, 2021.   

More information is available through prof. Dr. Jolien Gooijers, tell: +32 16 32 90 72, mail: Jolien.gooijers@kuleuven.be.

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.

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