PhD Position in vocal learning in infants and songbirds

We have an open position for a PhD student interested in vocal learning and phonology in infants and animals. We are a team of neuroethologists and linguists who collaborate through the NCCR Evolving Language, sponsored by the Swiss National Science Foundation, for more info, see

Our work package SignalRec is on elucidating parallels in vocal learning between children and songbirds. One of the central questions is to understand how children learn to articulate and imitate words from a continuous word stream in the input. The main procedure for this work is to analyze longitudinal data of children in their first year of life and to develop new methods for tracking the transition from babbling to words. The data sets for this project have been acquired and the task now is to make sense of the data using state-of art analysis tools.

We are looking for a creative PhD student eager to process large data sets of vocal recordings and who is equally interested in phonology and in applying modern machine learning techniques.

We offer an exciting work environment and the opportunity to be part of a multi-disciplinary research team that has broad expertise ranging across linguistics, animal communication, sensorimotor transformations, reinforcement learning, and speech and natural language processing (NLP). The two principal investigators of this project are Prof. Sabine Stoll and Prof. Richard Hahnloser.

The ideal candidate for this position has a degree in (computational) linguistics, biology, neuroscience, electrical engineering, physics, mathematics, or computer science. A strong commitment to teamwork is a top asset and crucial for succeeding in this Project.

The Institute of Neuroinformatics is a multidisciplinary Institution affiliated with the ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich, and is located on the Irchel Campus of the University. One of the aims of the Institute is to advance our understanding of the neural strategies and representations of natural intelligence. For more information, please visit

For questions and applications, please contact:
Prof. Richard Hahnloser: rich (at)

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