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Graduate Admissions


The University of Cambridge ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership [DTP] is pleased to offer an interdisciplinary studentship available for admission in 2019.

The studentship will be a one-year Master's followed by three-year doctoral programme or a three-year doctoral programme and will be co-supervised by Professor Ianthi Tsimpli (Linguistics, MML) and Professor Zoe Kourtzi (Experimental Psychology). DTP students will acquire a unique set of skills that will equip them for high-profile careers as leading social scientists, in academia or in other government, industrial, commercial and third sector organisations, either in the UK or elsewhere.

Project description:

Making predictions about future events challenges us to extract structure from streams of sensory signals that are often initially incomprehensible. Learning to extract meaningful structure allows us to interpret incoming signals rapidly, and critically to predict upcoming events. Mastering this skill is critical for interacting in dynamic environments and developing complex cognitive functions such as learning language or music.

Reading is a form of visual pattern recognition. Reading comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading. For reading comprehension, proficient readers rely on the associations between words occurring in verbal context to assign an interpretation. Reading is a process influenced by predictions made about words: their meaning, form and syntactic properties. Visual prediction may thus play an important role in reading comprehension, but the topic remains a relatively new domain of research. This PhD project aims to fill the gap by examining the strength of prediction in the reading comprehension of monolingual and bilingual children and adults. The role of prediction may be substantially different in participants that rely on a unique language system and participants that use two languages (and thus have two different sets of predictions).

The project will involve interdisciplinary methodologies including behavioural testing, eye-tracking and brain imaging (EEG/ERP).

A full DTP studentship will cover fees and provide £14,777 p.a. in living costs (current rates). DTP students also receive a personal allowance for additional training costs, and can apply for further funding to pursue fieldwork, academic exchange, and collaboration with non-academic partner organisations.

DTP studentships are currently open to UK and EU citizens on a full-time or part-time basis. Full studentships (i.e. including living costs) are open only to those meeting certain residency requirements.

For information on eligibility, please see the additional information document.

What to do next

You can find out more about the DTP on our website, and read about some of the opportunities that will be available to you.

You can find out more about the Section of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics in MML at and the Department of Psychology at Please address any questions about this studentship to Prof. Ianthi Tsimpli ( or Prof. Zoe Kourtzi (

All DTP applicants follow the University's standard admission process. Applications for this studentship should be made to the Section of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics. Please go to our Graduate Admissions Portal to start your application and ensure you indicate that you wish to be considered for funding in the Funding section of the online application form.

Please inform Mr Sam Oliver ( when you have made an application, and add 'ESRC Interdisciplinary Studentship: The role of prediction in reading.' to the subject line of your e-mail.

The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity.

Key Information

Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages

Reference: GP18042

Dates and deadlines:

Wednesday, 13 February, 2019
Closing Date
Thursday, 4 April, 2019