Freiburg: PhD position

University: PhD position (65%) Emmy Noether Group “The Developing Engram - Imaging Memory Consolidation in Wakefulness and Sleep” (00001273)

Consider making the switch to the University of Freiburg: It is one of the most renowned and strongest research universities in Germany, with a history spanning more than 500 years. You'll engage in top-notch research and teaching with a unique spectrum of disciplines, perspectives, and people - right in the heart of one of Germany's most beautiful cities.

The University of Freiburg's human resources policy is oriented toward the principles of equal opportunity and diversity. The university is committed to the goal of creating a family-friendly university.

The newly established Emmy Noether Group “The Developing Engram - Imaging Memory Consolidation in Wakefulness and Sleep” at the Institute of Psychology is seeking candidates for a

PhD position

Part-time position (65 %), Start-date: 01.01.2021

The newly established Emmy Noether Group “The Developing Engram - Imaging Memory Consolidation in Wakefulness and Sleep” at the Institute of Psychology, University Freiburg (Head: Prof. Dr. Monika Schönauer) is seeking candidates interested in the fields of human memory and cognitive neuroscience for a PhD position.


The overall goal of our research is to explore three factors that we think contribute to the formation of long-lasting physical memory traces - retrieval, distributed practice, and sleep. We combine tailored experimental paradigms, functional and diffusion-weighted MRI, and high-density EEG recordings to observe learning-induced plasticity and test how memories evolve in the human brain. We use both univariate and multivariate pattern analysis approaches to track memory representations in brain imaging data. We are a young, international lab and offer a stimulating and collaborative research environment. We embrace efforts to promote diversity and gender equality, as we fully believe that diversity improves our science and our world.


An ideal candidate holds a Masters degree in neuroscience, psychology, biology, engineering, or related fields, and has solid background knowledge in cognitive neuroscience, good technical skills, and programming experience (MATLAB or Python). Fluency in written and spoken English, an independent but collaborative working style, and training in experimental methods and statistics are required. Experience with recording and analyzing functional, diffusion-weighted, or structural MRI data, as well as EEG data, is highly desirable, as is prior experience in the fields of sleep and/or memory research. We encourage you to apply also if you do not fully match this profile.

How to apply

Applications should be written in English and including a detailed CV, a brief (max 500 words) personal statement of research interest and experience, university degrees with grades, as well as names and contact details of two persons willing to provide letters of reference.

Related publications

  • Brodt S, Gais S, Beck J, Erb M, Scheffler K, Schönauer M (2018). Fast track to the neocortex: A memory engram in posterior parietal cortex. Science; 362: 1045-1048
  • Brodt S, Pöhlchen D, Flanagin V, Glasauer S, Gais S, Schönauer M (2016). Rapid and independent memory formation in the parietal cortex. Proc Nat Acad Sci; 15; 113(46): 13251-13256.
  • Himmer L, Schönauer M, Heib D, Schabus M, Gais S (2019). Rehearsal initiates systems memory consolidation, sleep makes it last. Sci Adv; 5: eaav1695.
  • Schönauer M, Alizadeh S, Jamalabadi H, Abraham A, Pawlizki A, Gais S (2017). Decoding material-specific memory reprocessing during sleep in humans. Nat Commun; doi:10.1038/ ncomms15404

The position is limited to 31.12.2023. The salary will be determined in accordance with TV-L E13.

We are particularly pleased to receive applications from women for the position advertised here.

Please send your application in English including supporting documents mentioned above citing the reference number 00001274, by 15.11.2020 at the latest. Please send your application to the following address in written or electronic form:

University of Freiburg
Institute of Psychology
Prof. Dr. Monika Schönauer
Engelbergerstr. 41
79106 Freiburg
E-Mail (a single PDF document):

For further information, please contact Frau Prof. Dr. Monika Schoenauer on the phone number +49 761 +49 761 203 2475 or E-Mail monika.schoenauer(at)

General and legal remarks:
Full-time positions may generally be split up into two or more part-time positions, provided that there are no formal or legal barriers. Candidates are selected in accordance with the provisions of the AGG (Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz - German General Equal Treatment Act).

Applicants with disabilities (Schwerbehinderte Menschen) will be given preferential consideration in case of equal qualification.

The department offering the position is liable for the content of this job posting. Textual errors do not constitute a basis for any claims or rights. The relevant human resources department has sole responsibility for all legal transactions made within the context of the selection and hiring process.

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