NeuroAgents Project: Cortical models of computation and spike-based computational architectures

Applications are invited for a doctoral student to work on the “NeuroAgents” ERC-Consolidator project. The overall goal of this project is to understand how to integrate the hardware neural computing circuits, devices, and technologies currently being developed, with the recent findings in theoretical neuroscience and machine learning software, in order to build fully fledged artificial behaving systems that can be “programmed” to carry out complex tasks in uncontrolled environments and that can operate autonomously, adapting to unexpected changes in the environment, while being able to cope with noise and uncertainty in both the input signals and their internal states.
The PhD student will be responsible for the “Mind” part of the work-plan, which deal with the development of brain-inspired theories, cortical models, and spike-based computational architectures for programming robust and adaptive behaviors in autonomous agents.
Ideal PhD candidates have a strong background in computational neuroscience models of cortical networks, and an active interest in recurrent/stochastic networks of spiking neurons, machine learning, and probabilistic graphical models.
The INI offers advanced, interdisciplinary PhD training and participation in cutting edge neuroscience and neuroinformatics research projects. The institute is home to a lively and interactive educational atmosphere and highly competitive salaries. Successful candidates will participate in the ZNZ Doctoral Program where they receive additional theoretical and practical training. Compensation/salary will be paid according to the guidelines of the Swiss National Science Foundation. Successful candidates will receive their PhD from the Faculty of Science at the University of Zurich.


Applicants should hold a diploma or Masters degree in a quantitative discipline (e.g. physics, informatics, math- ematics, biomedical-engineering) or neurobiology/neuroscience (e.g. systems neuroscience, neurophysiology, cell physiology). Experience in data analysis using MATLAB/Python/R or similar programming languages and basic knowledge in experimental neuroscience is beneficial. Proficiency in English and a team-oriented working attitude are crucial for the applicant’s success. Suitable candidates should have an intrinsic motivation to unravel neural algorithms of information processing and learning.


Applicants are asked to submit their complete application as one PDF via email. The application should include the following documents:

  1. A cover letter that includes the main motivation for doing a PhD at the INI
  2. Contact details of 2 references (email and phone number).
  3. A CV outlining prior education, research and publications (if applies).
  4. Academic transcripts (bachelor and master/diploma).
  5. A 1-2 page personal research statement. The research statement should cover applicant’s future research goals, research project interest and how the applicant fits into the INI research culture.

E-mail: giacomo (at) Institute of Neuroinformatics, University of Zurich and ETH Zurich Winterthurerstrasse 190, CH-8057 Zurich, Switzerland

© 2017 Institut für Neuroinformatik