EuroSPIN - Programme outline

The human brain is by far the most intricate and complex organ known. With 10^11 neurons and 10^15 connections, it effortlessly performs operations that far exceed the capability of any computer. Understanding the brain will revolutionise science, health care and technology. Radical improvements in experimental methods are transforming the study of the brain into a data rich discipline, which requires the emerging discipline of Neuroinformatics.

Neuroinformatics thus forms an essential foundation for current and future brain research, and is critical both for basic research into brain function and biomedical research aiming at finding treatments for neurological and psychiatric diseases. Understanding the brain is also expected to have far reaching implications for information technology.

Four partners participate:

  • Kungliga Tekniska högskolan (KTH), Sweden
  • University of Edinburgh (UoE), UK
  • National Centre for Biological Science (NCBS), India
  • Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg (ALUF), Germany

These four partners are all research leaders in the Neuroinformatics field, but they have complementary strengths. In addition, two associated partners, the Honda Research Institute and Nordita, participate. The role of associated partners is to host individual students when the projects are relevant to them.

Each student will spend most of the time at two of the partner universities, and also receive a joint (or double) PhD degree following a successful completion of the studies. Official names of the awarded degrees differ for the partner universities (see below) and likely to be applied to double PhD degrees. Name or names of a joint degree is yet to be decided. In cases of doubt, the diploma status will have to be confirmed by the Erasmus Mundus National Structure or by the competent authorities of the country concerned.

Degree awarding organisation Official name of the degree
KTH PhD degree in Computer Science
NCBS Doctor of Philosophy in the Life Sciences
ALUF Doctor rerum naturalium
UoE Doctor of Philosophy by Thesis

The mobility periods, as well as the courses a student will follow, are tailored individually based on: a) the PhD students background; b) which constellations of partners that are involved, as well as c) the specific research project. During the PhD period each student has one main supervisor from each of the two universities that grant the PhD degree.

Although the student will spend most of the 3-4 years study time at two universities, he/she will have visited all partners during an annual workshop that alternate between the partners.

Each student is encouraged to indicate their preferences regarding constellations of partner universities. This is done during the application process.

Examples of research projects

In addition to providing for the training within the field of neuroinformatics, all EuroSPIN students are also offered training in secondary skills. The instruction language within the programme is English, and English scientific writing courses are offered, as are courses in the local languages in the different countries.

Career prospects:

Graduates with multi-disciplinary backgrounds are highly rated by employers, as they have a proven ability to be flexible, to communicate across subject boundaries, and to adapt to an ever-changing environment. The interdisciplinary training provided by EuroSPIN, together with the secondary skills that the EuroSPIN students develop in interacting cross-culturally with different scientists at different levels is essential for leadership in modern society, academia and industry.

Belongs to: EuroSPIN - Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctoral Programme in Neuroinformatics
Last changed: Nov 21, 2012