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CSC-Tübingen PhD Program: Project 20/2020:
Cognitive and affective determinants of math achievement in gifted children: A cross-cultural investigation in China and Germany

Topic Description:Gifted children are usually outperforming typically developing control children in complex arithmetic tasks. However, recent studies from our lab [e.g., link] suggest that Chinese gifted children do not differ in some elementary basic numerical processes like space-number associations. The guiding question is: At which level of numerical processing do gifted children differ from their peers and why? This question shall be systematically investigated in a cross-cultural study testing Chinese and German children: We will employ a variety of numerical tasks and consider possible underlying cognitive and affective determinants.

Faculty: Faculty of Science
Institute/Section/Subject:Department of Psychology, Section Diagnostics and Cognitive Neuropsychology

Supervising Professors:Prof. Dr. Dipl.-Psych., Dipl.-Math. Hans-Christoph Nuerk, Tuebingen
Co-supervisors: Ass.-Prof. Dr. Yunfeng He, Liaoning University, China currently Tuebingen, Dr. Krzysztof Cipora, Tuebingen

About the Supervisors:Prof. Nuerk [link] and Dr. Cipora [link] specialize cognitive and affective determinants of basic number processing and its relation to math achievement. Our lab is also leading in cross-cultural/cross-lingual studies in numerical cognition.
Dr. He [link] is interested in intellectual giftedness. She is currently a visiting scholar at our lab at the University of Tuebingen. In cooperation with us, she investigates the relation of giftedness and numerical cognition.

Requirements for the application:Required Degrees: M.Sc. Psychology
Language Requirements: Very good English (TOEFL > 100)
Notes: The project is designed for Funding Line A: 48 months full time fellowship.
The project is based on an existing collaboration of our lab and visiting scholar Dr. Yunfeng He with Prof. Jiannong Shi (施建农施建农) [link], Chinese Academy of Sciences and Prof. Xinlin Zhou (周新林周新林) [link], Beijing Normal University. We have started a project investigating the fundamentals of numerical processing in highly gifted children. After the intriguing finding that highly gifted children did not differ from controls in basic numerical functions, the planned PhD project shall investigate the follow-up question where and why arithmetic skill differences between gifted children and controls evolve and originate from. The planned dissertation will be conducted in a cross-cultural design never employed before in this research field.

For further instructions on how to apply, more information on the program and contact details please see below.


CSC-Tübingen PhD Program
The China Scholarship Council (CSC) and the University of Tübingen have established a PhD Program which supports Chinese nationals inside and outside of China wishing to carry out all or part of their PhD study in Tübingen.


  • providing high quality research training to qualified students from Chinese universities
  • developing education and research collaborations between the University of Tübingen and Chinese universities and research institutions

Target group:
Excellent postgraduate and doctoral students from Chinese universities who are citizens and permanent residents of the People’s Republic of China at the time of application

Details: Full time fellowship:
  • postgraduate students who want to carry out their complete doctoral studies at the University of Tübingen
  • up to 48 months
  • degree conferred by the University of Tübingen

  • Annual living allowance as prescribed by the Chinese Government (which includes Overseas Student Health Cover)
  • Return airfare to Germany
  • Visa application fees
  • Support for the attendance of international conferences during the second and third year (up to 1000€ granted to successful applicants)

  • Tuition waiver
  • Option to take German language classes provided by the University of Tübingen during the first year
  • Accommodation offered in Tübingen student dormitories depending on availability
  • Opportunities to gain additional teaching and research experience as well as economic benefits from the University of Tübingen from the second year onward (depending on the ability of the applicant and the situation of the respective institute)

Application Process:
  • Jan 15: Application deadline. Applications must be handed in through the online application system of the University of Tübingen
  • by March 1: Successful applicants will be officially informed
  • by April 5: Invited applicants have to register with the CSC according to the regulations of the CSC.
  • by May 31: Final decisions about the allocation of scholarships will be made by the CSC
  • June: Program participants will be invited for a welcome seminar in Beijing
  • by Oct 1: Program participants arrive in Tübingen
  • Successful candidates must return to China upon completion of their studies.

How to Apply:
In order to apply you need to upload the following documents combined in 1 PDF
  • Cover/Motivation letter
  • CV
  • Research proposal
  • Academic transcripts
  • Proof of proficient skills in the required languages (if possible certificates, proficiency=comprehension of a wide range of demanding, longer texts as well as fluent and spontaneous expression allowing a flexible and effective language use for social, academic and professional purposes.)

For questions please contact the representation of the University of Tübingen in Beijing:
European Centre for Chinese Studies (ECCS)
Mr. Christian Buskühl
Peking University Pacific Science and Technology Development Center
52, Haidian Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100080 / Room 708
北京大学太平洋科技发展中心, 北京市 海淀区 海淀路52号 708室 / 邮编: 100080

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