Sabine Hunnius

Sabine Hunnius
I can't imagine a more inspiring and challenging place to work, and I find great joy in my work here. Nijmegen is a leader in the field of Cognitive Science, making it an excellent place to pursue your academic goals.
Sabine Hunnius
Cognitive Neuroscience (research)
Current role
Professor - Cognitive Psychology, Principal Investigator - Donders Centre for Cognition, Principal Investigator - Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour

Sabine Hunnius is a professor and researcher at Radboud University.

Can you introduce yourself?

I studied Psychology in Berlin and did my PhD research in Groningen. As a (PhD) student I occasionally taught subjects like statistics and supervised students which I enjoyed a lot. I now work as a Professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience and as a Principle Investigator at the Donders Institute, where I am closely associated with the Master's programme in Cognitive Neuroscience. What I enjoy most is guiding the students in this Research Master's programme through their theses and internships. They typically study a topic for one year, conduct their own research and join one of the research groups, often at the Donders Institute! 

Students who earned the Bachelor's degree in Psychology at Radboud University may also recognise me from the Honours programme, where I teach a course and also help students with their research. 

Why did you choose to study/work in this field? What makes this field so interesting?

I began my studies with the ambition to train as a therapist. However, while studying I found that I enjoyed doing research more than anything else. The opportunity to constantly learn new things while also delving deeply into specific tops was what I liked the most. 

A career in research means the field is constantly evolving, as are your tasks, and you change along with it. From the practical aspects, like setting up and conducting studies, to the more conceptual side such as developing theories and leading the research of a team, I've had the chance to experience it all. This kind of progression is incredibly rewarding. I'm glad I still get to work with students, because they bring a breath of fresh air, helping me stay connected with new perspectives. 

What are you currently doing your own research on?

I do research in the field of developmental cognitive neuroscience. I want to understand how it is possible that we change from a helpless child to an inquisitive and adventurous toddler, in just a few years. How do we learn so quickly? In recent years, I have focused on the subject of curiosity. What is the role of curiosity, the drive to learn and get to know things, in early development?

What advice do you have for students choosing a Master's programme?

Follow your interests and your passion. Choose a path that truly suits you, even if it seems challenging. 

What do you like about the Radboud University in Nijmegen?

For myself, I can't imagine a more inspiring and challenging place to work, and I find great joy in my work here. Nijmegen is a leader in the field of Cognitive Science, making it an excellent place to pursue your academic goals. Our Research Master's in Cognitive Neuroscience offers a unique and stimulating research environment at the Donders Institute. In short, it's a fun and rewarding place to study.  

What does your work in practice bring to your academic work, and vice versa?

I find the interaction between research and practice incredibly important. At the Baby & Child Research Center, we make our findings accessible for the field and interested non-specialists through social media, blogs, and presentations. We maintain contact with colleagues in the field of childcare and infant mental health. They tell us more about their needs and questions, and in turn, we can inform them about the latest research findings and their implications for practice. This reciprocal relationship enriches both science and society. 

What is the best part of being a lecturer?

Working with students who are smart, curious, and enthusiastic about a topic is truly enjoyable. I love watching them become experts in their field. Discussions become more substantial, and it is great to witness how they start challenging ideas and grow to be independent, critical thinkers.