PhD Candidate in Computational Neuroscience

University of Amsterdam
January 22, 2023
Offerd Salary:€2,541
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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PhD Candidate in Computational Neuroscience

Faculty/Services: Faculty of Science

Educational level: Master

Function type: PhD position

Closing date: 22.01.2023

Vacancy number: 10998

The Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience (CSN) group , a research group of the Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, is looking for a highly qualified and motivated PhD candidate to conduct research activities within the context of an adversarial collaboration to test several theories of consciousness, resulting in a doctoral dissertation.

Current research of the group focuses on neural mechanisms of perception, multisensory integration, interactions between sensory and memory systems, and conscious representation. A theory of consciousness that is central to this PhD position and has been developed in the group is Neurorepresentationalism. CSN research topics are addressed using a variety of methods, such as ensemble recordings in task-performing subjects, optogenetics, advanced analysis of neural data, computational modelling and theoretical analysis.

You will join an international consortium led by the CSN group, that aims to test contrasting hypotheses of the Integrated Information Theory of consciousness, Neurorepresentationalism and Active Inference Theory. The consortium includes experts in the three consciousness theories under investigation (Cyriel Pennartz, Karl Friston, Giulio Tononi), as well as experimentalists and clinicians (amongst others, Umberto Olcese and Rafael Yuste for systems neuroscience).

A key component of this large collaboration is to develop computational models of complex, higher-order representations arising in the context of predictive coding models, multisensory processing and spatial perception. Secondly, the three theories will be compared based on the analysis of experimental data and on theoretical and computational grounds.

Tasks and responsibilities: • Complete and defend a PhD thesis within the official appointment duration of four years; • Develop computational models incorporating predictive processing and neural representations across different levels of perceptual

and spatial complexity; the nature of the project is thus computational, not experimental; • Embark on the comparisons between the three theories, both on experimental and theoretical grounds; • Engage in acting as an ‘ambassador' between the various projects, communicating and interacting with the other international groups

involved, and closely interact with experimental researchers and other computational neuroscientists in the CSN group and in the

wider national computational communities; • Help analyze data gathered by the various groups and support processes of data reproducibility and comparability; to use your knowledge

of statistics to analyze and evaluate evidence from multiple experiments; • Take a leading role in writing manuscripts; • Present your results at (inter)national scientific meetings; • Participate in the Faculty of Science PhD training programme; • Assist in teaching and co-supervise undergraduates and Master students.

What do you have to offer?

You are passionate about science and you have a particular interest in computational neuroscience. You feel comfortable performing theoretical and modelling work in a multidisciplinary lab also engaging in experiments, while simultaneously having an affinity with data analysis. You have a problem- solving attitude and a creative mind. Finally, you are a team player and a nice colleague who enjoys being part of an interdisciplinary team of scientists.

Your experience and profile • a Master's degree in computational neuroscience or related fields, such as systems neuroscience, theoretical neuroscience,

biomathematics or biophysics; • experience in computer programming, statistics and modelling of biologically plausible or artificial neural networks; • significant affinity with systems neuroscience (e.g., ensemble recordings, 2-photon imaging, optogenetics) and neural data analysis; • significant affinity with experimental psychology, psychophysics and clinical neuroscience as related to perceptual and

cognitive deficits and disorders of consciousness; • demonstrable affinity with theoretical and experimental consciousness research, including representational and information-theoretical

approaches and brain-mind philosophy; • excellent communication and planning skills and a professional command of English.

Our offer

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week for the duration of 4 years (the initial contract will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended for a total duration of 4 years). The preferred starting date is March 1st 2023. This should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings.

Your salary will range between €2,541 in the first year to €3,247 gross per month in the last year of employment, on the basis of a full working week of 38 hours. This sum does not include the 8% holiday allowance and the 8.3% year-end allowance. A favorable tax agreement, the 30% ruling, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU) is applicable.

Besides the salary and a vibrant and challenging environment at Science Park we offer you multiple fringe benefits: • 232 holiday hours per year (based on fulltime position of 38 hrs a week); • a complete educational program for PhD students; • multiple courses on topics such as time management and an online learning platform with 100+ different courses; • a pension at ABP for which UvA pays two third part of the contribution; • the possibility to follow courses to learn Dutch; • help with housing for a studio or small apartment when you're moving from abroad.

Are you curious to read more about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits, take a look here.

About us

The University of Amsterdam is the Netherlands' largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 30,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 8,000, as well as 1,800 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

The Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS) is one of the Faculty of Science's largest institutes. Its approximately 240 scientists and staff members work in 16 research groups that perform excellent research centred on four themes: Neurosciences, Cell & Systems Biology, Green Life Sciences and Microbiology.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.

Any questions?

Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:

  • Prof. Dr. Cyriel Pennartz
  • + 31 (0)20 525 7618

  • Dr. Umberto Olcese
  • + 31 (0)20 525 7968

    Job application

    If you feel the profile fits you, and you are interested in the job, we look forward to receiving your application. You can apply online via the button below. We accept applications until and including 22 January 2023.

    Applications should include the following information (all files besides your cv should be submitted in one single pdf file):

    • a detailed CV including the months (not just years) when referring to your education and work experience; • a letter of motivation; • the names and email addresses of two references who can provide letters of recommendation.

    Only complete applications received within the response period via the link below will be considered.

    The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

    If you encounter Error GBB451, reach out to our HR Department directly. They will gladly help you continue your application.

    No agencies please.

    Apply now »

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