[Comp-neuro] Funded PhD studentship in computational cognitive neuroscience

Srivas Chennu srivas at gmail.com
Fri Feb 24 22:14:19 CET 2017

Applications are invited for a funded PhD studentship with Dr Srivas Chennu
in the School of Computing at the University of Kent (UK) to be based in
our Medway Campus, to begin in September 2017 or shortly thereafter. The
PhD project will focus on the research topics below, spanning computational
and translational neuroscience.

==Neurodynamics of consciousness==
Understanding how neural dynamics generate human consciousness is a grand
challenge for neuroscience. We develop computational frameworks that use
neuroscientific data (EEG/MEG/fMRI) to study the brain network correlates
of consciousness during normal wakefulness, and in altered states like
sleep, sedation and meditation. We also apply this science to build
computational tools for improving diagnostics and prognostics during
emergence from coma, and in prolonged disorders of consciousness (including
the so-called vegetative and minimally conscious states). These tools could
eventually be deployed right at the patients' bedside to visualise,
quantify and track how their brains are recovering after injury.

==Deep neural network models of cognition==
The idea that the brain is a hierarchical neural network designed for
predictive cognition is persuasive one. In this view, the cortex implements
Bayesian inference to maintain a successively complex hierarchy of
predictive models of sensory causation. Alongside, deep learning can enable
us to build dense neural networks based on complex neuroimaging datasets.
We combine EEG/MEG with these modelling frameworks to describe how
recurrent neural information processing realises predictive cognition in
the brain.

The successful applicant will be able to capitalise on Dr. Chennu’s strong
research links with empirical and clinical collaborators at the
Universities of Cambridge, Birmingham, Liége (Belgium), and Western Ontario
(Canada). They will be embedded within the Data Science research group
within the school, which brings together academics with expertise in signal
processing, brain-computer interfacing, machine learning and computational

More information is available is available at Dr Chennu’s academic website:


==The School of Computing, University of Kent==
The School of Computing has a reputation for high-quality research, with
over 40 current PhD students. Our research activity is wide ranging and
takes place within focused Research Groups which provide a vibrant research
community for all members, staff or student.

The School of Computing was ranked highly in the recent government run
Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise. Our research intensity was
ranked 12th out of 89, with superb impact – 100% of our research impact
ranked world leading or internationally excellent.

The University of Kent is a leading university with a commitment to
excellence in teaching and research. As the UK's European university, it is
committed to creating a global student and staff community that advances
knowledge and stimulates intellectual creativity, and performs at the
highest levels.

Kent is ranked 21st in the Times Higher Education (THE) ‘Table of Tables’
2017 and it has twice been awarded the highly prestigious Queen's
Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education.
The School is committed to the Athena Swan Scheme. This is a national
scheme whereby Universities commit to advancing and promoting the careers
of female scientists. Details can be seen on our website at
http://www.kent.ac.uk/human-resources/athenaswan/. Kent’s Medway campus in
Chatham Maritime is a 45-minute journey south-east from London’s St.
Pancras International station.

A scholarship award will cover the successful applicant’s fees at the
home/EU rate (£4,121 in 2016/17) plus a maintenance bursary (£14,296 in
2016/17). The award will be for three years, subject to satisfactory
progression through each year of study. They are awarded on a competitive
basis and interview performance will be taken into account. Support for
research students includes regular supervision meetings, a research
training programme, computer equipment, a desk in an office and funds for
conference travel.

==Applicant Qualifications==
You should:

Hold a good undergraduate degree (UK First or 2:1 or equivalent) in a
numerate discipline (computing, engineering, physics, etc.). Students with
a background in biology and psychology are also welcome to apply, as long
as they have the requisite technical and quantitative skills.
Be able to program independently in high-level scientific programming
languages like MATLAB, Python and R.

Have prior experience or evidenced interest in computational neuroscience.
Able to work with complex time-series data, including EEG.

==How to Apply==
Please get in touch with Dr Chennu by email (sc785 at kent.ac.uk) in the first
instance, with a Curriculum Vitae and a brief outline of your research
proposal. Applications need to be submitted by Monday 3 April 2017.
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