Out of Our Minds Leverhulme Trust funded PhD Studentship

Level of study
Doctoral research
Subject area
English Language and Linguistics, Modern Languages and Cultures
EU, Overseas (Non-EU), UK
Type of Award
Deadline for applying
Closes 15/05/2019

Award Description

The Department of Modern Languages and the Department of English and Linguistics at the University of Birmingham invite applications for one funded PhD studentship to commence on 30 September  2019. The position is open to applicants who hold a BA qualification in English or Polish Language & Linguistics and will hold (by the start date) an MA, preferably in Teaching English or Polish as a Foreign Language.

The funded studentship is intended for writing a PhD dissertation in the framework of a Leverhulme-funded project led by Professor Dagmar Divjak in collaboration with Dr Petar Milin. Over five years, the award from the Leverhulme Trust will allow us to develop new, accurate ways of describing speakers’ linguistic knowledge, by combining experimentation with computational simulations that mimic the way in which humans learn. The patterns we find will be tested on adult foreign language learners to see if such patterns can provide a more natural and efficient foreign language learning experience. The aim is to lead a step-change in research on language and language learning by capturing the linguistic knowledge adult speakers build up when they are exposed to a language in natural settings. These insights will help with the development of strategic language teaching materials to transform the way in which we teach foreign languages.

More information about the project can be found here: https://outofourminds.bham.ac.uk

The project involves interdisciplinary research in linguistics, psycholinguistics and computational modelling, and we are recruiting one PhD student to assist the team with the collection and analysis of data and the dissemination of the results through conference presentations and journal publications. Details and requirements for the vacancy can be found below. The post offers the opportunity to join a multidisciplinary team consisting of linguists, psychologists and computer scientists. You will receive training and development in corpus linguistics and psycholinguistics, in advanced statistical data analysis as well as in computational modelling and software engineering, according to your interests and future career plans.

Value of Award

The scholarship is available for three years full time and will cover PhD tuition fees for UK/EU students, plus a stipend of £14,777 per annum (2018/2019 Research Council rate). International students are also eligible to apply and will receive a reduction in tuition fees equivalent to the Home/EU rate if successful. International students would be expected to cover the difference between international and UK/EU tuition fees themselves.

The grant also includes an annual allowance to attend conferences.

The project is funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

Eligibility Criteria

The successful candidate must:

  • hold an undergraduate and postgraduate degree in English language/linguistics and document proficiency in Polish


  • hold an undergraduate and postgraduate degree in Polish language/linguistics and document proficiency in English

 In addition, it is an advantage but not a requirement that the candidate has one or more of the following:

  • experience in teaching foreign languages (English or Polish)
  • a background in Usage-based Linguistics, Psycholinguistics or Corpus Linguistics
  • experience in designing and running classroom intervention studies, using a range of designs and technologies
  • experience collecting data using a range of behavioral and computational methods
  • knowledge of statistics for language-data analysis

How to Apply

Applications for this studentship should be sent to the College of Arts and Law Graduate School: calpg-research@contacts.bham.ac.uk   

Applicants are required to submit the following:

  • A CV listing any publications
  • A max. 1500-word project proposal that describes how you would test the effect that two different methods of teaching grammatical aspect may have on students’ learning
  • A copy of your MA certificate and transcripts; if these are not yet available, please attach a letter from your MA supervisor
  • An electronic copy of your MA dissertation or the most current draft
  • The names and contact details of two academic references
  • If English is not your official language, evidence of English proficiency needs to be submitted (an IELTS score of at least 7 overall, with 6.5 in each component part)
  • If Polish is not your native language, evidence of relevant courses taken and/or relevant certificates and other supporting documents need to be submitted

Only complete applications submitted before the deadline will be considered.

Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed by Skype in June 2019. Successful candidates will commence study on 30 September 2019.

Contact for enquiries

For informal enquiries about posts and the recruiting department, contact: ooominds@ooominds.org

For details on the application process, contact the College of Arts and Law Graduate School on calpg-research@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Please note that you will have to demonstrate knowledge of English and Polish as you will have to teach Polish to native speakers of English as part of the data collection process and write a dissertation in English.