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 Three-year PhD in Cognitive-Computational Neuroscience at University College London

Three-year PhD in Cognitive-Computational Neuroscience at University College London

The International Max Planck Research School on Computational Methods in Psychiatry and Ageing Research seeks applicants for a PhD fellowship to be based at University College London (UCL) under the supervision of Dr Dominik Bach ( The fellowship is funded by the European Research Council within the project “Action selection under threat – the complex control of human defense”. The purpose of the project is to understand the cognitive-computational control of human motor behaviour under acute, immediate threat. We investigate this in an immersive virtual reality (VR) environment, in which people can move to avoid various threats. In a series of behavioural and magnetoencephalography experiments, we seek to understand the algorithms that control this behaviour, and their neural implementation. The experimental research takes place at the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging and at the Department for Clinical and Movement Neuroscience.

The PhD programme is strongly interdisciplinary and invites applications from potential students with a broad range of backgrounds including, but not limited to, neuroscience, mathematics, statistics, machine learning, computer science, physics, psychology, and medicine. This is an international doctoral programme of the Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research, which has sites in London and Berlin. The programme offers unique training in concepts and methods from computer science and statistics in relation to substantive research questions in cognitive neuroscience, psychiatry, and lifespan psychology. Training involves seminars, methods workshops, participation in summer schools, and collaboratively supervised research. Students will take one module per semester for the first two years of the programme on topics that range from psychiatry and decision science to advanced computational and statistical methods.

We offer a generous three-year studentship stipend of £24,000 (tax free) per year, PhD registration fees at the current Home/EU rate, research expenses, and funds for travel to conferences or courses. (If you are an international student please note that this studentship only covers UK/EU fees and you will need to provide the difference between UK/EU and overseas fees.) Students will participate in international summer schools, seminars and workshops linked to the Berlin site.


This is a highly competitive programme. Successful applicants should have, or expect to get, at least an upper 2nd class degree (or the foreign equivalent), and should have some familiarity with computational and statistical methods. The next intake of students will be October 2020 (with the possibility for a later start date). UCL is committed to employing more people with disabilities and especially encourages them to apply. UCL also seeks to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply.

Deadline: 20 May 2020. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed in early June 2020 via Skype.

How to Apply

Please send:

  1. A CV,
  2. A statement of why you want to do the PhD (no more than 1 page),
  3. A copy of your strongest piece of academic work (e.g., thesis, publication).

Please also arrange for two reference letters to be sent to us by referees. Your surname should be the first word in the subject line of these emails. Please ensure that your surname is the first word in the subject line of the email and that all documents are clearly labelled with your surname and the type of document. All documents and references should be sent to [email protected] by 20 May 2020 at midnight. Questions about the programme can be directed to [email protected]

Three-year PhD in Cognitive-Computational Neuroscience at University College London

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