[Comp-neuro] Four Postdoctoral Positions in Neuroeconomics: Neurophysiology, Neuroimaging, Behavioural Economics and Computational Neuroscience of Reward, Risk and Decision-Making, University of Cambridge

Wolfram Schultz ws234 at cam.ac.uk
Sat Dec 8 19:42:51 CET 2012

Four Postdoctoral Positions in Neuroeconomics: Neurophysiology, Neuroimaging, Behavioural Economics and Computational Neuroscience of Reward, Risk and Decision-Making

University of Cambridge

Following recent major awards from the Wellcome Trust and the European Research Council (ERC), we are expanding our research activities and offer at least four postdoctoral positions in neuroeconomics:

1) Behavioural single cell neurophysiology

2) Behavioural economics and/or human neuroimaging (fMRI)

3) Computational neuroscience

Some of these positions can be allocated to graduate (PhD) students for whom full financial support will be provided.

Neuroeconomics is a rapidly expanding new field investigating the neuronal foundations of economic (reward-based) learning and decision making. It derives rationales, behavioural tasks and data interpretations from animal learning theory and economic decision theory. We offer innovative projects for experimentally minded, theory driven, or general neuroscience / neuroeconomics candidates. Our experiments investigate behavioural and brain processes for basic decision variables (reward value, economic utility, probability and its distortions, risk, action value, object value, specific axioms), mechanisms of learning and decision making, and social reward processing (inequity, cooperation). Our projects benefit from collaborations with experimental psychologists and behavioural economists in Cambridge and abroad. Candidates are encouraged to combine own ideas with the demands of our grants and to interact well in our group. Postdoctoral candidates should have published experience, and predoctoral candidates should have strong interest, relevant for the desired position. Additional training will be provided in all areas necessary for successful work. Excellent social, computer and writing skills are required. For details on our group, see http://www.pdn.cam.ac.uk/staff/schultz/.

Initial deadline for applications is January 15, 2013, although the search will continue until appropriate candidates have been identified. Start date is flexible. Initial appointments will be two years, extendable. Postdoctoral annual salary will be £33,734 - 37,012 depending on research experience (Cambridge Univ pay scales 46-49, with ~25% deductions for taxes, insurance and health care). Predoctoral salary will be £23,661 - 26,629 (pay scales 34-38) plus student fees.

Details on the individual positions:

1) Single cell neurophysiology in rhesus monkeys performing in well controlled behavioural tasks provides unique opportunities to investigate individual and social neuroeconomic processes in the main reward structures including dopamine neurons, striatum, amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex, and in associated brain structures. We are particularly interested in straightforward experimental tasks and thorough behavioural testing. Experience in behavioural neurophysiology (neuronal recordings, optogenetics), human neuroimaging (fMRI), quantitative analysis of behaviour, behavioural economics, or computational neuroscience would be particularly appreciated.

2) Behavioural economics and human neuroimaging (fMRI). Experiments are designed, and largely interpreted, on the basis of single neuron data from neurophysiological experiments in monkeys and informed by formal modelling, on which interested candidates may also participate. We have access to three Siemens 3T research scanners. Candidates need to have published experience in behavioural economics and/or human neuroimaging (fMRI). Additional knowledge in behavioural economics, primate behavioural neurophysiology or computational neuroscience would be an asset, as is experience with quantitative testing in controlled behavioural tasks, advanced statistics including multivariate classifiers, reinforcement model-based regressions or Bayesian updating.

3) Computational neuroscience. We like to advance formal theoretical and computational models for adaptive reinforcement learning and economic decision making. We also seek candidates interested in accessing our large collection of behavioural and neuronal data for formal modelling or data analysis with advanced statistical techniques (e.g. classifiers and support vector machines). There are opportunities to participate in, and shape, ongoing behavioural, neurophysiological and neuroimaging (fMRI) experiments. Experience in formal mathematical modelling, good biological intuition and knowledge of neurobiological systems is required. Additional experience in behavioural neurophysiology, neuroimaging (fMRI), quantitative analysis of behaviour or behavioural economics would be an asset.

Our well equipped and supported laboratories are located on the Downing Site in gorgeous downtown Cambridge which offers more than enough daily seminars and plenty of charming pubs and coffee shops. The huge and open minded university provides lots of social, intellectual and cultural stimulation. London is an hour away by train. The villages and rural towns around Cambridge, the wide East Anglia sky, and the North Sea are splendid for day tours.

Applications should include CV, list of publications, half page description of research experience specific for the desired post (including computer skills), half page description of research interests, and contact details of two referees. Please address applications to Wolfram Schultz, Department of Physiology, Development & Neuroscience, University of Cambridge, UK, ws234 at cam.ac.uk.

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