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PHD-position Oncology-Related Communication Disorders

Your function within the department

The Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) in Amsterdam is a Comprehensive Cancer Centre combining a hospital and research laboratories in a single independent organization. The group of Prof. Dr. M.W.M. (Michiel) van den Brekel is focussing on improvement of treatment, rehabilitation techniques in head- and neck oncology and surgery. Michiel van den Brekel is a professor at the University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Center for language and Communication (ACLC). As a PhD-student you will be affiliated both at the NKI and the ACLC.

We are looking for a PhD student to work on a project funded by Atos Medical AB (Sweden). The overall goal of the project is to develop a predictive framework for speech outcomes following total laryngectomy to improve speech pathology interventions. Total laryngectomy, implicating surgical removal of the voice box, is performed for patients with an advanced stage of laryngeal cancer. With removal of the larynx the natural voice is lost. One of the most important goals after a total laryngectomy is voice rehabilitation. Although voice rehabilitation options are well established, voice outcomes vary. Despite all the advances that have been made we are still not able to predict individual voice outcomes. Aim of this research project is to investigate personal and treatment factors which are related to voice outcomes. Your role within the division will be mainly related to constructing models which will predict probable outcomes of voice rehabilitation after total laryngectomy. Voice acoustics, prosody, phonologic features, physiology and modeling will be also your subjects of interest.  You will be part of an enthusiastic team of specialists, working in a multidisciplinary team and part of a group of several PhD students. We offer the use of excellent research facilities, there are several study and training opportunities, as well as visiting international conferences to present your work.

Your profile

We are looking for an enthusiastic, skilled, and proactive PHD-student with the following skillset:

• We are seeking a candidate with a strong background in linguistics, who is highly motivated and interested in linguistic and phonetic aspects of oncology-related communication disorders
• Holding a MA/MSc degree in (Clinical) Linguistics or Speech- Language- and Hearing Sciences
• Skilled in contact with patients/study participants
• Knowledge and awareness of research integrity and ethical aspects
• Excellent writing, communication, collaboration, and organizational skills
• Fluent in spoken and written English; Fluent in spoken and written Dutch
• Affinity in and/or knowledge of the head and neck oncology population, multidimensional speech- and voice analysis, quantitative research methods, and quality of life research would be highly appreciated.

Your career opportunities and terms of employment

The appointment will initially be for 4 years and the gross salary per month will range from € 2.665,- € 3.282, according to the standard PhD scales and depends on previous experience. The terms of employment will be in accordance with the CAO Ziekenhuizen (Collective Labour Agreement for Hospitals).
Starting June 2020, or soon after.


For further information please consult our website: or contact Rob van Son

Michiel van den Brekel, chair of the department will provide an online lecture via Zoom. The lecture will cover oncology related communication disorders, including case examples and performed research on voice and speech outcomes after head and neck cancer. The lecture is scheduled on Monday May 4th 10:00 o clock. You can register for this Zoom meeting via

Applications should include:
• a cover letter outlining your background and motivation,
• a detailed CV
You can send in your application via the apply now button, in case this does not work you can send it to:

The deadline for submission is May 15th 2020

Acquisition for this vacancy is not appreciated.