Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit


PhD Programme


Training in theoretical and computational neuroscience and machine learning.

Applications open: 10th September 2016.  Deadline: 15th November 2016.

The Gatsby Unit is a centre for theoretical neuroscience and machine learning, focusing on unsupervised, semi-supervised and reinforcement learning, neural dynamics, population coding, Bayesian analysis, kernel methods, and deep learning; together with applications of these to the analysis of perceptual processing, neural data, signal processing, machine vision and bioinformatics. It provides a unique opportunity for a critical mass of theoreticians to interact closely with each other, with the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour (SWC, with which the Unit shares a new, purpose-designed building), with the cross-faculty Centre for Computational Statistics and Machine Learning (CSML), and with other world-class research groups in related departments at UCL, including: Computer Science; Functional Imaging;Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology; Psychology; Neurology; Ophthalmology; The Ear Institute; Statistical Science; and the nearby Alan Turing Institute.  

Students at the Gatsby Unit study toward a PhD in either machine learning or theoretical neuroscience, with minor emphasis in the complementary field. Courses in the first year, taught in conjunction with colleagues from the SWC and CSML, provide a comprehensive introduction to theoretical and systems neuroscience and to machine learning; with further multidisciplinary training in other areas of neuroscience also available. Students are encouraged to work and interact closely with peers and faculty in the SWC and CSML throughout their PhD, providing a uniquely multidisciplinary research environment.  Projects involving collaboration within or outwith UCL are welcome.

Besides the Gatsby-funded programme, students from some other PhD programmes are also able to carry out all or part of their research in our Unit. See links in the sidebar. We do not offer our own undergraduate or taught masters programmes, nor (usually) a research masters (although exceptionally, some students with pre-secured shorter-term studentships have joined us to study for an MPhil degree).  However, students in some UCL Masters programmes may carry out projects in the Unit.  Again, links appear in the sidebar.

Applicants to the Gatsby PhD programme should have a strong analytical background, a keen interest in neuroscience and/or machine learning and a relevant first degree, for example in Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics, Neuroscience, Physics, Psychology or Statistics.  

The PhD programme lasts four years, including the first year of intensive instruction in techniques and research in theoretical and systems neuroscience and machine learning.

Gatsby PhD studentships cover the cost of tuition at the appropriate rate, and include a tax-free stipend of £22,500 per annum.  Full funding is available to all students, regardless of nationality.  The Unit also welcomes applications from students with pre-secured funding or who are currently soliciting other scholarship/studentships.

Applications (including a CV, statement of research interests, and letters from three referees) for 2017/18 admission must be sent directly to the Gatsby Unit admissions@gatsby.ucl.ac.uk. We will accept applications from the 10th September 2016.  Applications must be completed by 15th November 2016.

If you require a visa to attend an interview, if selected, then please contact us directly as soon as your application is complete and your referees have submitted their recommendations.

For further details of research interests please see http://www.gatsby.ucl.ac.uk/research.html

and the individual faculty webpages at http://www.gatsby.ucl.ac.uk/members.html