Two PhD positions in computational neuroscience at the University of Amsterdam

Dear all,

We have two PhD positions in computational neuroscience available at the Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience Group at the Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, University of Amsterdam (the Netherlands). Both positions are funded by the Human Brain Project (HBP-SGA3) and will be co-supervised by Cyriel Pennartz, head of the Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience Group, and Jorge Mejias, Principal Investigator of Computational Neuroscience.

Position #1: The main objective of this PhD project is to develop a large, biologically plausible model of a cortical architecture that is trained for predictive object and scene representations and performs cognitive operations on these representations, such as scene segmentation, object categorization and object constancy in the face of variable sensory input. The candidate will closely collaborate with other computational neuroscientists, experimental neuroscientists, theoreticians and machine learning experts across different research teams in Europe.

For this position, we are seeking a highly qualified and motivated candidate with a Master’s degree in computational neuroscience or closely related field with a strong background in modeling neural networks or, alternatively, a MSc in machine learning/AI or biomedical, electronic or automation engineering, computer science, physics or a closely related field with a clear background or affinity for brain-inspired modeling. Strong programming skills in Python and experience in machine learning and (deep) neural network modeling is desirable. English is the official language of the lab, therefore good English communication skills are expected.

Position #2: The main objective of this PhD project is to develop a biologically realistic computational model of multi-area cortical circuits involved in multisensory perception, categorization and sensory prediction. We will build a model constrained by state-of-the-art neuroanatomical data, which will include biologically relevant information such as cortical laminar structure, multiple cell types, and biologically realistic learning rules for synaptic plasticity. The model will be able categorize stimuli in simple multisensory tasks and will provide computational predictions on neural activity which we will compare to experimental data from collaborators. The candidate will also closely collaborate with other computational neuroscientists, experimental neuroscientists, theoreticians and machine learning experts across different research teams in Europe.

For this position, we are seeking a highly qualified and motivated candidate with a Master’s degree in computational neuroscience or closely related field (with a focus on modeling biological neural systems) or, alternatively, an MSc in physics, mathematics or a closely related field and a clear background or affinity for brain modeling. Strong mathematical skills including calculus, linear algebra, dynamical systems and complex systems, as well as strong computational skills (Python, NEST) are desirable. English is the official language of the lab, therefore good English communication skills are expected.

For both positions, we offer a full-time appointment for a maximum period of four years (18 months plus a further 30 months after a positive performance evaluation) and should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). An educational plan will be drafted that includes attendance to courses and (international) meetings. The gross monthly salary will range from €2,395 in the first year to €3,061 in the final year, according to the Dutch salary scale for PhD candidates. Additional benefits include a holiday allowance and an end-of-year bonus (8% and 8.3% of the gross annual salary, respectively) and generous vacation, pension and social security conditions in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities. Candidates coming from abroad might also be eligible for highly attractive tax benefits.

The lab is located in the state-of-the art facilities of the Science Park at the University of Amsterdam, with good communications with other academic facilities and research centers in the city. The University of Amsterdam is a top research university with a strong focus on the research area of brain and cognition. As one of the most vibrant cities in Europe, Amsterdam has a rich historical and cultural heritage that includes the
UNESCO World Heritage city center and canals, dozens of world-class museums and restaurants, and an exciting nightlife. The city promotes a healthy lifestyle with plenty of outdoor life, parks and recreational areas, an excellent bicycle path network, and an expat-friendly environment.

The application deadline is July 24th, 2020 for both positions. Candidates may apply to both positions, but they are asked to indicate their preference for any of them. Applications may only be submitted online by following the links below (where more detailed information about both positions is provided):

Position #1:

Position #2:

Please include a letter of motivation and a CV, combined in one single pdf document. Make sure to mention the months (not just years) in your CV when referring to your education and work experience. To enable us to process your application immediately, please quote the vacancy number for the position you are applying for (20-352 for project #1, 20-353 for project #2).

For informal inquiries, please contact Dr. Jorge Mejias (j.f.mejias at uva.nl).

Kind regards,

Jorge F. Mejias, PhD
Assistant Professor of Computational Neuroscience
Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience Group
Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences
University of Amsterdam, 1098XH Amsterdam
The Netherlands
www.ugr.es/~jmejias

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