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Research Fellow/Senior Research Fellow (Saxe lab)

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Grade 7 £36,770 – £44,388 per annum or

Grade 8 £45,610 – £53,757  per annum.

Contract type: Fixed-term

The Sainsbury Wellcome Centre (SWC) commenced research operations in Spring 2016 bringing together world-leading scientists to investigate how brain circuits process information to generate perception, form memories and guide behaviour. Developed through the vision and partnership of the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and Wellcome, and with substantial investment from these partners, the mission of the SWC is to generate experimentally testable theories of brain function.

The Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit (GCNU) was created at UCL in July 1998 with funding from the Gatsby Charitable Foundation. The Unit has become a world-class centre for theoretical neuroscience and machine learning. Its core strengths are in computationally and probabilistically oriented theoretical neuroscience and in probabilistic and statistical machine learning. The Unit’s co-location with the SWC creates the potential for a uniquely close interaction between theory and experiment in neuroscience, and for the integrated study of perception, control and learning in natural and artificial systems. 

The Saxe lab is focussed on understanding learning in biological and artificial systems. We aim to develop a mathematical toolkit suitable for analysing and describing learning in the brain and mind. Our current focus is on the theory of deep learning, a class of artificial neural network models that take inspiration from the brain. Alongside this theoretical work, we develop close collaborations with experimentalists to empirically test principles of learning in biological organisms.

The lab is looking for an outstanding postdoctoral researcher to support the group’s research programme and directly contribute to ongoing research projects. 

This is an exciting opportunity to work in a multidisciplinary environment and the successful candidate will have the opportunity to bring theoretical ideas in contact with experiments through collaboration with a variety of experimentalists at SWC and the broader neuroscience community at UCL and beyond.

The role will undertake theory-led experiments, that is, paradigms for which candidate theories make divergent distinctive predictions that can be preregistered. A particular focus is on understanding how internal representations change over time in multi-layered neural systems, in order to develop ways of empirically testing the links between modern machine learning methods and learning in the brain and mind. 

Experiments will focus on rodent systems neuroscience. You will be involved in a range of activities including theory development, rodent behavioural training, recording and/or imaging, neuronal perturbation, setting up experimental equipment, and data analysis.

The post is funded for three years in the first instance.

Strong quantitative and programming skills, such as experience with methods from nonlinear dynamics, statistical physics and modern deep learning software frameworks are essential. You should have a PhD in neuroscience or a closely related discipline, or have submitted your thesis before commencing in post. 

You will have excellent communication skills as well as a proven track record of publishing work in neuroscience or a related field. 

Candidates wishing to be appointed at Senior Research Fellow should demonstrate experience of guiding and supervising a small team.

Applicants should apply online. To access further details about the position and how to apply please click on the ‘Apply’ button above. 

If you have any queries regarding the vacancy or application process, please email the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre HR Team: [email protected]

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