Funded PhD Candidate Position – Sign Language Research Line – AT THE BCBL

Posted 10 Monaten ago

The Basque Center on Cognition Brain and Language (BCBL) in San Sebastián (Basque Country, Spain) is offering a 4-year funded PhD opportunity.

Job description: The PhD student will work on the SIGNifica projectfunded by the Spanish Ministry of  Science and Innovation, examining the lexical semantics of Spanish Sign Language (LSE). This project aims to collect free association norms for LSE to map the semantics of the LSE lexicon. The data will be used to create a network that characterizes how different meanings are interconnected, and to quantify semantic properties such as entropy, semantic neighborhood density and clustering. In addition, we will use this dataset to investigate how the intersection of form (phonology) and meaning (semantics) gives rise to systematicity and iconicity in the sign lexicon. This project involves a collaboration with the ASL-LEX developers (at Boston University and SDSU, California) and will involve cross-linguistic comparisons between LSE, ASL, Spanish and English. This project continues a broader line of research into the lexicon of Spanish Sign Language, an understudied language, and will provide valuable insight into the way that modality shapes how language is structured and processed by the human mind.

The selected candidate will play a central role in the project and will be involved in collecting and curating a large dataset of semantic associations from deaf LSE signers (via an on-line platform), exploiting existing language resources and performing computational analysis using network theory. The candidate will develop advanced technical and analytical skills and will also have the opportunity to develop experiments into sign language/LSE processing under the supervision and guidance of the PI. We encourage applications from Deaf candidates.

PI and research group: The candidate will be supervised by Dr. Brendan Costello (, and will form part of the sign language and deafness research team, which has developed resources such as a lexical database of LSE and a motion capture system for characterizing sign production. We use these resources together with a variety of behavioral and neuroimaging techniques to investigate how the sign language lexicon is structured and represented cognitively. Sign languages offer unique insight into how language can operate in a different modality and, more generally, how modality affects language structure and processing. This work contributes to understanding the cognitive foundations of deaf individuals’ language use and development, and also to broadening our understanding of language per se. The team is part of the Neurobiology of Language research group led by Prof. Manuel Carreiras (


Research Field
Psychological sciences
Education Level
Master Degree or equivalent
  • Applicants should have a Master’s (or equivalent) degree in Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience, Linguistics, and/or related areas.
  • The applicants must demonstrate excellent communication skills in English.
Specific Requirements

Desirable skills:

  • Strong communication skills in LSE or another signed language.
  • Knowledge of lexical semantics and network theory
  • Knowledge of Spanish and/or Basque (or a willingness to learn some) is a plus
  • Experience in psycholinguistic research
  • Experience working with sign language communities
  • Familiarity with statistical analysis
  • Programming skills

Additional Information


Salary: 17.222€ gross/year (year 1); 18.452€ gross/year (year 2); 23.065€ gross/year (years 3 and 4)

Entitlements and other benefits:

Training opportunities and Career development plan:

Researchers at any stage of their career, regardless of their contractual situation, are given an opportunity for professional development and for improving their employability through access to a Personal Career Development Plan which includes:

(1) Training through individually personalized research projects under senior supervision

(2) Exchanging knowledge with the scientific community and the general public

(3) Network-wide training in theory and methods

(4) Complementary training courses

(5) Involvement in proposal writing, task coordination

(6) Development of skills for the organization of training and scientific events

Selection process

To apply for this position, please follow this link, select “Predoc_PN_2023_SIGNifica” and submit the following documentation:

  • A curriculum vitae
  • A statement outlining research interests and motivation to apply for the position
  • Two letters of recommendation
Additional comments


  1. Deadline for application:          8th October
  2. Notification of shortlist:                        11th October
  3. Interviews:                               18-20th October
  4. Final decision:                         25th October
  5. Feedback to all candidates:      27th October
  6. Work contract start date:          November 2023 (preferred, but negotiable)
Website for additional job details

Job Features

Job CategoryDoctorat

Apply Online

Check Also

Les Salaires en Europe : Où Vit-on le Mieux et Pourquoi ?

Les disparités de revenus en Europe sont frappantes, allant de plus de 85 000 à …