PhD fellowship in Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and the Université Catholique de Louvain (UC Louvain) – new application deadline

The Center for Linguistics (CLIN) of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) has an opening  for a PhD fellowship for a total period of four years, starting September – November 2017.

The position is part of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO)-funded research project entitled Lexicogrammatical complexity: a missing construct in L2 research. The project is supervised by Alex Housen (VUB), with Magali Paquot (UCLouvain) as cosupervisor.

The project is concerned with the complexity and learning difficulties that arise at the lexicon-grammar interface in the process of second language acquisition, with a focus on Dutch as a second/foreign language.

Job description:
The research project is a joint venture between the Center of Linguistics at the VUB and
the Centre for English Corpus Linguistics (CECL) at the UCLouvain. The candidate will
be affiliated to the Center of Linguistics (CLIN) at the VUB and the Centre for English
Corpus Linguistics (CECL) at the UCLouvain, and will prepare a joint VUB-UCLouvain
PhD in Linguistics.

Activities that the candidate will perform include:

  • develop and implement (i) theoretical concepts in line with the focus of the research project and (ii) appropriate methodological procedures for investigating these concepts;
  • conduct corpus-based analyses of L1 and L2 Dutch writing samples;
  • interpret the results of the analyses and report on the project in conference
    presentations and academic publications;
  • by the end of the four-year term, submit and defend a PhD dissertation based on the project.

Requirements and profile:
– Master degree in Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, Language & Literature, Natural
Language Processing or in Language Learning and Teaching, with a master thesis on
a topic relevant to the project;
– excellent record of BA and MA level study;
– excellent command of Dutch, very good command of English. Knowledge of French
is an asset;
– excellent and demonstrated analytical skills;
– ability to work with common software packages (including MS Word, Excel and
– knowledge of inferential statistics and statistical software (e.g. SPSS, R) is an asset;
– basic knowledge of corpus-linguistic techniques is a requirement;
– programming skills in Perl or Python are also an asset;
– excellent and demonstrated self-management skills, ability and willingness to work in
a team;
– willingness to live in or near Brussels and to travel abroad (for short-term research
stays and to attend international academic conferences).

Terms of employment:
– the contract will initially be for one year, three times renewable, with a total of four
– the candidate receives a doctoral fellowship grant (starting at approx. EUR 1900 net
per month) and full medical insurance;
– the position requires residence in Belgium, preferably in or near Brussels;
– applicants from outside the EU are responsible for obtaining the necessary visa or
permits, with the assistance of the International Office of the VUB.
Application Deadline: 31 August 2017
Please include with your application:
– a cover letter in English, in which you specify why you are interested in this position
and how you meet the job requirements outlined above;
– a curriculum vitae in English;
– a concise academic statement in Dutch, in which you outline your plans for graduate
study and career goals;
– a copy of BA and MA diplomas and degrees;
– a copy of your master thesis and academic publications (if applicable);
– the names and contact details of two academic referees.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview (in situ or via video conferencing) in
August and/or September 2017.

Applications (as an email attachment) and inquiries should be addressed to:
Prof. dr. Alex Housen                                                        Dr. Magali Paquot
Dept. of Linguistics and Literary Studies (LIST)         Centre for English Corpus Linguistics
Vrije Universiteit Brussel                                                  Université Catholique de Louvain
Pleinlaan 2                                                                           Place Blaise Pascal 1, bte L3.03.31
B-1050 Brussels, Belgium                                                 B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
Email:                                             Email:

The IRIS Replication Award

£300 will be awarded annually to a published (or accepted) self-labelled replication* using materials held on IRIS.

Submissions must include:

i) the article/chapter (with evidence of ‘in press’ status if not already published);
ii) the materials from IRIS and any adaptations of them (adaptations should also be uploaded to IRIS, with a Note to link it to the earlier study’s materials).
IRIS now accepts data of all kinds, and we encourage applicants to submit their raw data along with their other materials.

Review Process
Submissions can be made to at any time. The first round will close 30th November 2018. The study must have been published (or in press) from 2016 onwards. All submissions will be reviewed by the IRIS directors and up to two anonymous reviewers. The first award will be announced by 1 January 2019.

Criteria for award
Submissions will be welcome from any area of second language research (broadly defined, including multilingualism, language education, research methodology). All methodological approaches and theoretical perspectives are welcome.

Submissions will be reviewed against the following criteria:

  • Strength of the justification for the replication.
  • Soundness and transparency of methods and analysis, including clarity about how these are similar/different to those of the initial study.
  • How well the discussion and conclusions are warranted by the methods, data and analysis.
  • How well the findings from the initial study are integrated into the set-up, analysis and interpretation of the replication.

Special consideration will be given to:

  • Multi-site replications
  • Open data
  • Pre-registered studies
  • Direct or partial replications (though we emphasize that conceptual replications, which change more than one significant variable, are also welcome)

Replications using materials developed by IRIS Directors are not eligible.

Please direct any questions to
*The study is labeled as a replication in the title and/or abstract.