Vacancy (Utrecht University): Postdoctoral position in discourse processing

Job description

The goal of the postdoc-project is to investigate the interaction between two crucial mechanisms in discourse processing: coherence relations realized by discourse connectives (causal, contrastive, additive) and pronoun resolution. The focus will be placed on both theory and experimental validation. The postdoc will design eye-tracking and text comprehension experiments in order to investigate the quality of machine translated texts. He/she will collaborate closely with a Ph.D. student working on the annotation of such phenomena in corpora of natural language discourse.

The project will be part of the MODERN SNSF project on the modeling of inter-sentential dependencies (connectives and referential expressions) to improve the output of machine translation systems. It will be hosted by a research group at UiL OTS (Department of Languages, Literature and Communication, Utrecht University) that focuses on machine translation of discourse phenomena. Researchers involved include Ted Sanders, Arnout Koornneef and Sandrine Zufferey.


Applicants will have received a PhD in linguistics or psycholinguistics. Candidates must have experience with eye-tracking. Excellent demonstrable command of English as well as either French, German or Dutch is required. Previous experience in natural language processing and translation is a plus.

Conditions of employment

The position is offered for an initial period of 1 year, 0.9 FTE, to be extended by another 1 year (0.9 FTE) upon positive evaluation. Depending on your knowledge and experience, your monthly gross salary will start at between  € 3,037.- and €3,259 . We 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. The appointment will start as soon as the necessary work permits and documents are obtained, with a target starting date of March 1st, 2014.

How to apply

Applications should include

  • a letter of motivation
  • a curriculum vitae including contact and personal details
  • the contact details of two referees (names, affiliations and phone numbers or e-mail addresses); preferably: two reference letters are sent digitally to dr Schoorlemmer
  • a PhD thesis
  • one selected publication

Apply through the Utrecht University vacancy site

(search “academic” + ” Humanities”, open the relevant ad, scroll to the bottom, and click on the application link)

The deadline for application is 22-1-2014.

The interviews are scheduled during the first week of February, 2014.

Additional information

Informal inquiries can be addressed to Prof. Ted Sanders (, Dr. Sandrine Zufferey ( or Dr Maaike Schoorlemmer (

About benecla

Belgian Netherlands Cognitive Linguistics Association
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