KU Leuven

Understanding the development of metacognitive monitoring in academic learning during childhood

2024-06-24 (Europe/Brussels)
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KU Leuven is an autonomous university. It was founded in 1425. It was born of and has grown within the Catholic tradition.

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This project is an international collaboration in the context of the KULeuven – Melbourne joint PhD fellowships https://research.unimelb.edu.au/research-at-melbourne/ku-leuven-melbourne-joint-phd between the labs of Bert De Smedt & Elien Bellon (KU Leuven) and Iroise Dumontheil & Jacob Paul (University of Melbourne) which are specialized in cognitive development, academic learning and educational neuroscience. An overview of these research units can be found at http://ppw.kuleuven.be/home/english/research/pserg/desmedt, https://www.kuleuven.be/wieiswie/en/person/00105121, https://findanexpert.unimelb.edu.au/profile/1059318-iroise-dumontheil, and https://findanexpert.unimelb.edu.au/profile/426619-jacob-paul

The involved research units have a long standing expertise in the supervision of PhD students. They have a strong international network with other researchers around the globe who are studying metacognition, executive functions, academic learning and educational neuroscience.

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Metacognitive regulation is a critical component of self-regulated learning. It allows children to notice or detect when they make errors (metacognitive monitoring) and adapt their behavior (metacognitive control). This project aims to further unravel the role of metacognitive control in academic learning in children. The project has three objectives (1) to develop more precise measures of metacognitive monitoring (2) to examine when children transition from more domain-specific to domain-general metacognitive monitoring during primary school (3) to discover whether this development is driven by maturational changes or by educational processes or both. This research will provide the much-needed evidence to ground the nature and timing of educational interventions that exploit metacognition to enhance children’s school achievement. This knowledge will be relevant for another part of the project that deals with the development of metacognitive control https://research.unimelb.edu.au/research-at-melbourne/ku-leuven-melbourne-joint-phd 


• You have a master degree in Psychology, Educational Sciences, Speech and Language Pathology or relevant discipline. Or you are obtaining this degree this academic term.
• You have a strong interest in cognitive development.
• You have experience with experimental cognitive developmental research.
• You have excellent statistical skills. 
• You have excellent academic English writing and presentation skills.
• You are well organized and a good planner.
• You have strong communication skills and are able to collaborate with parents, teachers and schools.
• You are able to communicate in Dutch as this project involves data collection in young children at schools in Belgium. 


This position is an excellent opportunity for early career researchers who want to sharpen their research skills in cognitive development in children. The project has a strong international focus as it is situated in an exchange program between KU Leuven and the University of Melbourne. The applicant will spend 3 years at KU Leuven and 1 year at Melbourne during this research project. In the context of this Joint PhD programme, the applicant will be able to follow the doctoral program of both KU Leuven and Melbourne, and will receive both degrees after the PhD. In both places, the applicant will be able to benefit from excellent research facilities.


You can apply to this position until June 24 2024. The decision on this position will be made before mid July 2024. The interviews will take place in the first week of July.
Interested applicants should send their CV, motivation letter and the names of 2 referents via the online application (see below). During the interview, you will be asked to give a short presentation on research that you executed during your education and/or a journal article (sent before the interview) on the topic of the project.

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Bert De Smedt, tel.: +32 16 32 57 05, mail: bert.desmedt@kuleuven.be or Mrs. Elien Bellon, tel.: +32 16 32 25 81, mail: elien.bellon@kuleuven.be.

KU Leuven strives for an inclusive, respectful and socially safe environment. We embrace diversity among individuals and groups as an asset. Open dialogue and differences in perspective are essential for an ambitious research and educational environment. In our commitment to equal opportunity, we recognize the consequences of historical inequalities. We do not accept any form of discrimination based on, but not limited to, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, ethnic or national background, skin colour, religious and philosophical diversity, neurodivergence, employment disability, health, or socioeconomic status. For questions about accessibility or support offered, we are happy to assist you at this email address.

Job details

Understanding the development of metacognitive monitoring in academic learning during childhood
Oude Markt 13 Leuven, Belgium
Application deadline
2024-06-24 23:59 (Europe/Brussels)
2024-06-24 23:59 (CET)
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About the employer

KU Leuven is an autonomous university. It was founded in 1425. It was born of and has grown within the Catholic tradition.

Visit the employer page