Multimind Project @ Milano-Bicocca

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The Multimind project teams at the University of Milano-Bicocca, in collaboration with the University of Reading, invite applications for 2 fully-funded 3-years PhD positions in psycholinguistics starting September 1st 2018.

The candidate will be integrated as an Early Stage Researcher (ESR) within the European ITN Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks on Multilingualism (https://www.multilingualmind.eu/).

Project 1: Bilingualism, biliteracy and dyslexia: advantages or disadvantages
Children obtain lower reading scores at 8 years if they have been exposed to their L2 after age 3 and perform similarly to monolingual children with DD. Since early intervention is important, it is necessary to find markers that distinguish delay due to late exposure from delay due to dyslexia. The project has the goal of investigating literacy in L2 learners. Its goals are: 1) find out markers for dyslexia in L2 children; 2)establish whether there are language specific and language independent markers of dyslexia (with an emphasis on rhythmic abilities); 3) Investigate how L2 children of Italian perform on the prerequisite for readings in preschool; 4)Determine whether bilingualism and/or biliteracy has negative, positive or no impact on children with dyslexia. The ESR will be based in the University of Milano-Bicocca, but will spend some months in the second year at the University of Reading to collect data on English. The planned non-academic secondment for the candidate involve 4 months at the Neurological Institute Besta in Milan to develop professional skills within a non-academic environment. The candidate will be involve in the activities of Bilingualism Matters @Milano Bicocca to receive training in public engagement and research dissemination.

Project 2. Language and literacy education in migrant children in educational settings
The recent increase of immigrant children is challenging European countries as their educational needs are different from monolingual children. Different countries face the problems in different ways. In order to ensure integration and the achievement of good standards, it is necessary to adopt a unified evidence-based policy. One element of this policy is the role of and attitude towards the L1 on the educational achievements in the L2. The goals of this project are: 1) Collect information about language policies for immigrant children across European countries; 2) collect information about their learning achievements during school years and evaluate practices in the light of the achievements; 3) working with different communities of immigrant children (Chinese, Polish), establish whether supporting L1 oral use and literacy for immigrant children improves oral acquisition and literacy in L2; 4) examine the efficacy of different methodologies for improving L2 acquisition and literacy, as a function of children’s age: musical activities, reading activities, specifically designed interactive apps.
The ESR will be based in the University of Milano-Bicocca, but will spend some months in the first year at the University of Reading to create synergies with other projects of the network. The planned non-academic secondments for the candidate involve 2 months at the MEDEA Institute in Bosisio Parini to develop professional skills within a non-academic environment. The candidate will be involved in the activities of Bilingualism Matters @Milano Bicocca to receive training in public engagement and research dissemination.

 
General selection criteria:
 A Master of Arts (MA) or a Masters of Science (MSc) or equivalent degree in Linguistics, Psychology, Speech & Language Therapy or similar discipline that provides the doctoral candidate with appropriate background for the MultiMind project.
 A high mark in the Master programme.
 A high mark on the Master Thesis.
 Research experience beyond the Undergraduate and Master programmes.
 Research methods related to MultiMind.
 Publications from the Undergraduate or Master Thesis (if any), or from other scientific activities.
 Good command of Italian (or availability to improve it quickly) and excellent command of English are a must. Command of other languages would be an asset.
 Excellent academic writing skills as assessed through a scientific document (summary of master thesis, article).
 Important mobility constraints apply: Successful applicants cannot have resided in Italy for more than 12 months in the past 36 months.

 
Salary: Each ESR will receive a Living Allowance (€3,110 per month multiplied by the country correction coefficient where the fellow is hosted which for Italy is 106,7% and a Mobility Allowance (€600 per month). This amount is before taxes and all compulsory (employer /employee) social security contributions. ESRs who have a family at the beginning of their employment will also receive a family allowance (€500 per month).

 
Students interested in the positions should connect to https://www.multilingualmind.eu/copy-of-15-early-stage-researchers- and look for documents required. They should send by email the documents to the following address: info@multilingualmind.eu clearly stating that they wish to be considered for the Marie Skłodowska-Curie PhD positions.

 

For specific information on these two positions contact to Maria Teresa Guasti (mariateresa.guasti@unimib.it). The initial closing date for the positions will be June 15 2018, but applications will continue to be considered until suitable candidates have been appointed. Students will all receive a confirmation of reception. Selected students will be contacted to arrange an interview over internet. Results of the selection will be available by July 15 at the latest. For more information about other positions in the network: https://www.multilingualmind.eu/15-early-stage-researchers-esrs.

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