The Neuroinformatics and Computational Neuroscience Doctoral Training Centre is a world-class PhD programme for interdisciplinary research in neuroinformatics and computational neuroscience.
The mission of the DTC is to enable students with backgrounds in the physical, mathematical and computer sciences to obtain training in neuroscience and the cognitive sciences that will equip them to carry out original research in neuroinformatics, qualifying them for a PhD degree at the end of four years.
The Neuroinformatics DTC covers: computational neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, neuromorphic and neural engineering, and software systems for these studies, such as simulation, databasing and data analysis.
The DTC is hosted by the Institute for Adaptive and Neural Computation, part of the School of Informatics, at the University of Edinburgh; it is funded by the Life Sciences Interface programme of the EPSRC and cofunded by MRC and BBSRC. The DTC typically funds 10 new PhD students each year, and has about 60 current PhD students, making it one of the largest programmes of its kind in the world.
Need and Career Prospects
Students graduating from the programme can choose from a variety of career options. The majority of our current students aspire to an academic career (70%), while the others are planning a career in industry (20%) or in science communication (10%). With the recent emergence of many centres combining informatics and life sciences research, the current academic job market is very healthy.
To assess industrial demand for our neuroinformatics graduates, we commissioned a report from Alta Biomedical on future employment options in industry. A total of four UK and 13 global companies in the areas of pharmacy, devices and clinical diagnostics, and information services were interviewed. All companies required systems expertise to handle the ever-increasing amount of data generated. In all sectors, a strong need in the intermediate future for computational modelling was reported.
In general, candidates with multi-disciplinary backgrounds are highly rated by employers, as they have a proven ability to be flexible and adapt to an ever-changing environment. The communication skills that students develop in interacting with different scientists are essential for leadership in modern employment. DTC students are thus highly competitive in the global marketplace for research professionals.
PhD year 1
Students start developing their PhD topic and proposal by the end of the MSc year, and begin their projects early in their first PhD year. In addition, during the first four months (term 1), the student can attend further specialised courses that are particularly relevant to their research. The modules will be drawn from the broad range of MSc programmes in the relevant disciplines.
Even once the PhD work has begun, students continue to meet with other DTC students regularly for seminars, journal clubs, retreats, and other shared events, allowing them to be part of a robust and lively community of young researchers in related fields.
PhD years 2 and 3
The final two years of the programme are comparable with most existing UK PhD programmes, except that DTC students will be encouraged to spend a 3-6 month period in an institute outside Edinburgh that has collaborative links with their supervisor’s laboratory. The aim of this period of external study is to familiarise students with research facilities outside the host institution, to give them a different perspective on their research project and to enable them to make contacts with research groups where they may commence their post-doctoral career. The student will normally complete preparation of their PhD thesis by the end of the third year.
A good first degree in an appropriate subject, equivalent to a UK 2:1.
English Language Requirements
IELTS 6.5 (with 6.0 in each section)
TOEFL 580 (with 55 in each section and 4.0 in TWE)
TOEFL 237 in CBT (with 21 in each section)
TOEFL-iBT 92 (with at least 20 in each section)
CPE Grade B or higher
CAE Grade A
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