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Winter School - Neurobiology of Language and Communication, 3-9 January 2016, Obergurgl, Austria


July 10, 2015


Event Date:

January 03, 2016 - January 09, 2016

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Language is a higher cognitive function that is typically associated with human communication. The underlying neuronal systems have been largely unraveled, using e.g. fMRI. Studies over the past decades have shown that similar systems and functions are also in place for social communication in other species. Notably, research on how birds learn their own songs has provided deep insights into the neurobiology of language-like communication, including detailed analyses at the molecular, cellular and circuit level. Advances have also been made in the genetic basis of language formation and diseases thereof. Animal models (mice or non-human primates) allow a deeper understanding of the developmental aberrations linked to genetic variations. This school will provide students with the latest insights into the neurobiology of language and communication, emphasizing similarities across species as well as pointing out which models are most suitable to address specific aspects. The course is meant for PhD students and postdocs with a neurobiological background and preferably some knowledge of the subject.

Applications are now open

Click here to start your application     

Deadline for applications extended: 10 July 2015 (Midnight Brussels time)

Scientific chairs

  • Peter Hagoort (Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands)Peter Hagoort is director of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics (since November 2006), and the founding director of the Donders Institute, Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging (DCCN, 1999), a cognitive neuroscience research centre at the Radboud University Nijmegen. In addition, he is professor in cognitive neuroscience at the Radboud University Nijmegen. His own research interests relate to the domain of the human language faculty and how it is instantiated in the brain. In his research he applies neuroimaging techniques such as ERP, MEG, PET and fMRI to investigate the language system and its impairments as in aphasia, dyslexia and autism. At the Max Planck Institute he is heading a department on the Neurobiology of Language. For his scientific contributions, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts Sciences (KNAW) awarded him with the Hendrik Mullerprijs in 2003. In 2004, he was awarded by the Dutch Queen with the "Knighthood of the Dutch Lion". In 2005 he received the NWO-Spinoza Price (M€ 1.5). In 2007 the University of Glasgow awarded him with an honorary doctorate in science for his contributions to the cognitive neuroscience of language. In 2008 he was awarded with the Heymans Prize. In 2012 the KNAW awarded his career contribution to the cognitive neuroscience with the Academy Professorship Prize (M€ 1.0). Peter Hagoort is member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), and of the Academia Europaea.

  • Julia Fischer (University of Goettingen, Germany)Julia Fischer is the head oft he Cognitive Ethology Laboratory at the German Primate Centre and professor at the Georg-August-University. Her research centres on the vocal communication, cognition and social behaviour of nonhuman primates. She obtained her PhD from the Free University of Berlin in 1996. During her postdoc at the University of Pennsylvania, she conducted 18 months field research on wild baboons in the Okavango delta in Botswana. After a second post-doc at the Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, she received a Heisenberg Fellowship, and accepted the offer from Göttingen. With her team, she established the field station „Simenti” in Senegal to study Guinea baboons, a species that had not been studied systematically in the wild before. She is the speaker of the newly established Leibniz Science Campus on Primate Cognition, and a member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Science as well as the Göttingen Academy of Science. Julia Fischer served on the executive board of the Ludwig-Maximilian-University Munich, as president of the European Federation of Primatology, and was panel member and panel chair for the ERC Starting and Consolidator Grants funding scheme. In 2013, she received the Grüter-Prize for Science Communication.

Confirmed faculty

David Poeppel (New York University, USA), Nina Dronkers (University of California, USA), Steffan Hage(University of Tübingen, Germany), Simon E. Fisher (Radboud University, The Netherlands), Karl Zilles(RWTH University, Germany), Dan Margoliash (University of Chicago, USA)

Registration and stipends

  • Fee: FENS Members: 495 EUR
           FENS Non-members: 575 EUR
  • Registration fee covers tuition, accommodation and meals.
  • There are few stipends (covering the registration fee) available for candidates from disadvantaged countries. Any applicant in need of a grant should however first try to request it from the lab, institution or government if possible.Once an applicant has been accepted to the school, the available grants will be provided on the basis of need.


Universitätszentrum Obergurgl, Austria

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