Aug. 13, 2020

Research scientist position
Reiko Mazuka Lab for Language Development
Center for Brain Science (W20049)


Laboratory for Language Development, Center for Brain Science (Laboratory head:Reiko Mazuka)

Research Area

Interdisciplinary, Other


Language Acquisition, Speech Development, Vocabulary Development, Language Comparison, Infant Experiments

Research Field

We investigate the mechanisms of language development with particular emphasis on phonology—how infants and children acquire the characteristic segments and prosody in a language. We combine research methods, such as behavioral experiments (visual habituation paradigm, head-turn preference paradigm), eye movement tracking, human brain activity measurements using EEG or NIRS, analysis of speech sound of mothers and infants/children, and computational linguistics. For further details, please refer to our website: https://lang-dev-lab.brain.riken.jp/theme-english.html

Job title and job description

Research Scientist 1 position

Job description

The successful candidate will participate in the international comparative research on language acquisition: our collaborators are in South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Canada, USA, Italy, and France: we compare developmental differences among languages, and between Asian and Western languages: Japanese, Korean, Thai, Mandarin Chinese, English, French, Italian etc.

The successful candidate will investigate language development in infants and toddlers, with a focus on speech perception, speech and vocabulary development, and analyzing phonetic characteristics of conversational speech sound between mother and baby.

She/he will execute behavioral experiments, as well as recording and analyzing conversational interaction between a mother and an infant. She/he will contribute to experimental design, execution of experiments, analyzing data, and writing papers for peer reviewed journals cooperatively with the other lab members and our research collaborators. If she/he does not have experience in infant experiments, we will offer the opportunity for training.
In this international collaborative research, she/he will be asked to travel to other institutions inside and outside of Japan. Social skills to work well with the members of Japanese and international collaborative team will be essential.


The candidate should possess a doctoral degree in developmental psychology, phonetics, linguistics, neuroscience or a related field and research experience. Robust experience and demonstrated achievement in the areas below are highly expected:

  • Research experience on phonological comprehension in infants and children
  • High motivation to learn according to our research interests.

Japanese language skills are expected so that she/he can explain the experiments in Japanese to participants.

Work location

Branch and address

RIKEN Wako (2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0198)

Salary and benefits

  1. A one-year fixed-term employment contract, renewable based on evaluation, to a maximum of the end of the fiscal year 2022(March 31, 2023).
  2. RIKEN may adjust the above maximum period of renewability based on a) the employee’s abilities, work load at the time of contract completion, performance and work attitude and b) the continuation of the employee’s center, laboratory or project and RIKEN’s management situation and budget at the time. In principle, employment contracts will not be renewed for individuals older than 65 years.
  3. The employee’s period of fixed-term employment cannot exceed 10 years from the initial date of hire (or 10 years from April 1, 2013 for fixed-term employees already at RIKEN prior to this date).

In principle, the first two months of employment is considered a trial period.
Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. Commuting and housing allowances will be provided. Social insurance will be applied. Mandatory membership in the RIKEN Mutual Benefit Society (RIKEN Kyosaikai).

This position falls under the specialized duties discretionary work system; one working day will be calculated as 7 hours and 30 minutes.

Days off include public holidays, New Year's holidays (Dec. 29 - Jan 3), and RIKEN Foundation Day.
No smoking on site (designated smoking areas available)
These and other provisions are in accordance with RIKEN regulations.
RIKEN is promoting a Gender Equity Program by taking various measures to create a workplace where both men and women are able to give full rein to their talents and abilities. When applicants are judged to be equally qualified on the basis of fair and impartial criteria, women applicants will be given preference.

Also, eligible for an exemption from repayment for category 1 scholarship loans provided by the Japan Student Services Organization before fiscal year 2003, and eligible applying for the MEXT Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (Kakenhi).

Application and required documents

Required documents

  1. Cover letter: motivation, research interests and achievements (within 2 pages)
  2. Complete CV (with photo and email address)
    (RIKEN CV: WORD(56KB) or EXCEL(159KB) )
    ① (RIKEN CV)*Write the RIKEN job ad number “W20049”, indicated in the parentheses next to the job title, in the RIKEN job ad number section in the upper right corner of your CV.
    ② (Original CV)*Write down in the notes section of your CV the number written next to the title of the job position (e.g. W20049).
  3. List of research achievement, publications, and external funds
  4. 2 letters of recommendation (including one from the current supervisor, If available)
  5. Consent form for handling personal information based on GDPR
    If you are a resident of the European Economic Area (EEA), you are required to submit the document, “Consent form for handling personal information based on GDPR” with your signature.

    *You will find detailed information about General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on the following website:

How to apply

Send the PDF formatted application by email to naoko.kijima[at]riken.jp
(Recommendation letters must be emailed directly from the reference to the same address)

Note: Application documents will not be returned.


Open until the position is filled

Handling personal data

Submitted documents are strictly protected under the RIKEN Privacy Policy and will be used only for the purpose of applicant screening. Personal information will not be disclosed, transferred or loaned to a third party under any circumstances without just cause.

Selection process

Application screening, interview and oral presentation by selected applicants

Start of Employment

On or after November 1st, 2020 (Negotiable)

Contact Information / Send application to

RIKEN Center for Brain Science
Laboratory for Language Development
2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0198
Email: naoko.kijima[at]riken.jp
For inquiries, please send an email.