KU Leuven

Reconsolidation-based therapies: Science & fiction (joint PhD Leuven/Melbourne)

2024-07-31 (Europe/Brussels)
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KU Leuven is an autonomous university. It was founded in 1425. It was born of and has grown within the Catholic tradition.

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The current position is embedded in a newly established collaboration between the Learning and Experimental Psychopathology group (CLEP; Prof. Tom Beckers) and the research group Quantitative Psychology and Individual Differences group (OKP; Prof. Wolf Vanpaemel) at KU Leuven and the MetaMelb research group at the University of Melbourne (Prof. Simine Vazire and Dr. Tom Hardwicke). Collectively, this consortium offers a very internationally oriented, productive, collaborative, and multi-disciplinary environment. Research at CLEP aims to unravel behavioral and brain mechanisms of learning and memory as they are implicated in normal and abnormal psychological functioning, with a translational perspective (rodents, healthy humans, clinical populations). Research in OKP combines the empirical and theoretical study of substantive psychological issues with the formal study of statistical and methodological issues. MetaMelb is an interdisciplinary group of researchers investigating scientific practice to help improve the trustworthiness of scientific claims.
The present position has KU Leuven as its main base, with a 12-month research stay in Melbourne (see details below). KU Leuven is a research-oriented institution that is consistently ranked among the top research universities in Europe. It is located in the center of the historic town of Leuven, home to the University since 1425. About 30 km from Brussels and two hours away from Paris, London and Amsterdam, it has a strong international appeal. It also has a rich history and a unique friendly atmosphere, with a great range of museums, concert halls and other cultural hot spots. The cost of living in Leuven is moderate by international standards; the quality of living is excellent. For more information, visit http://www.kuleuven.be/english/. The University of Melbourne is the #1 university in Australia, internationally acclaimed for its research and teaching. It is located on the southeastern coast of Australia, in Australia's second-largest city. Melbourne is noted for its cultural heritage and is regarded as one of the world's most liveable cities. Often referred to as Australia's cultural capital, Melbourne is recognised globally as a centre of sport, music, theatre, comedy, art, literature, film and television. Melbourne has an oceanic climate and an abundance of parks and gardens. For more information, visit https://www.unimelb.edu.au.
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The prospect of editing out traumatic or distressing memories from one’s mind would strike most people as science fiction. Yet in recent years, inspired by intriguing (but contested) findings in the basic science of memory, clinical interventions aspiring to do just that have started to emerge. Those interventions can be captured under the umbrella of ‘memory reconsolidation therapy’ (MRT). But do those therapies actually deliver on their promise of memory editing? Or do they spin the basic science of memory into treatments that we know neither the mechanism of action nor the effectiveness of? In this project, we will evaluate the clinical trial literature to appraise the evidence base for MRT and gauge the degree of hype involved in their clinical uptake. In doing so, the project will illustrate some of the ways in which spin and hype bias the translation of basic science to real-world applications and the tangible consequences that this has for evidence-based practice.


If you tick most of the following boxes, we hope that you'll apply:
- You have an inquisitive mind and you are enthusiastic and motivated
- You are internationally oriented and you relish the prospect of relocating from Leuven to Melbourne and back 
- You hold a master's degree in psychology or a related discipline (or will do so by the end of September 2024)
- You have a clear interest in the application of basic psychology to practice, mechanisms of learning and memory and/or the credibility of psychological research findings 
- You have excellent communicative skills in English (both orally and in academic writing)
- You have a collegial and collaborative attitude


We offer a fully-funded, 4-year joint PhD scholarship at KU Leuven and the University of Melbourne (initial one-year appointment, to be extended upon satisfactory performance). You will start your doctoral research at KU Leuven, transfer to the University of Melbourne after 12 months, and return one year later to complete the remaining 24 months at KU Leuven. A second PhD student (position to be advertised separately) will be recruited to start at the University of Melbourne. Arrangements will be such that both students will be working side-by-side in Melbourne and Leuven for 24 months in total. You will join the KU Leuven Doctoral School for the Humanities and Social Sciences, the CLEP and OKP research groups at KU Leuven and the MetaMelb research group at the University of Melbourne, and will be given the possibility to join the Paul Meehl International Graduate School for Metascience. We offer hands-on supervision from a multidisciplinary team of supervisors, will provide opportunities to attend internal meetings and support to attend international workshops and conferences, and will provide extensive opportunities for training, skills development and professional growth.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Tom Beckers (tom.beckers@kuleuven.be) or Prof. dr. Wolf Vanpaemel (wolf.vanpaemel@kuleuven.be). You can also reach out to Prof. Simine Vazire (simine.vazire@unimelb.edu.au) or Dr. Tom Hardwicke (tom.hardwicke@unimelb.edu.au) for informal inquiries.

KU Leuven strives for an inclusive, respectful and socially safe environment. We embrace diversity among individuals and groups as an asset. Open dialogue and differences in perspective are essential for an ambitious research and educational environment. In our commitment to equal opportunity, we recognize the consequences of historical inequalities. We do not accept any form of discrimination based on, but not limited to, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, ethnic or national background, skin colour, religious and philosophical diversity, neurodivergence, employment disability, health, or socioeconomic status. For questions about accessibility or support offered, we are happy to assist you at this email address.


Reconsolidation-based therapies: Science & fiction (joint PhD Leuven/Melbourne)
Oude Markt 13 Lovaina, Bélgica
Fecha límite de aplicación
2024-07-31 23:59 (Europe/Brussels)
2024-07-31 23:59 (CET)
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Sobre el empleador

KU Leuven is an autonomous university. It was founded in 1425. It was born of and has grown within the Catholic tradition.

Visita la página del empleador