PhD position Energy-based control for Brain Interface Devices

Research / Academic

Understanding the mechanisms of brain memory, which is central in cognition, is crucial in our health as well as the development of efficient brain-inspired computing algorithms.
Our cognition and memory are rooted in the activities of dynamic networks of neurons and neuronal populations, interacting in rich nonlinear hierarchical networks. Revealing the mechanisms of these cross-scale interactions, i.e., information exchange, in brain networks requires advanced computational techniques. Recent technical advancements in interfacing with in-vivo and in-vitro neuronal tissues have provided a promising future for the developments of efficient brain interface devices for health applications. Successful developments of such devices require closed-loop regulatory algorithms capable of efficient and adaptive interactions with complex dynamic brain networks.
This PhD project aims at developing a novel mathematical framework, inspired by the energy-based control theory, for nonlinear and uncertain brain network models. Our goal are: (1) contributing to mechanistic understanding of neuronal networks of brain memory, (2) designing novel closed-loop control algorithms for brain interface devices, in particular in applications involving memory systems, such as sleep.
The four-year PhD position is hosted at the RecalLab, Delft Center for Systems and Control, in close collaboration with the Donders Institute, and it is part of the DBI2 consortium funded by The Dutch Research council. The DBI2 comprises a consortium driven by 6 top researchers from leading Dutch research institutes (Radboud University, Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, Delft University of Technology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Erasmus Medical Center), complemented by experts in the fields of neuroscience, neuroengineering, and computational sciences. The highly interdisciplinary nature of the program will enable you to actively collaborate with all partners within the consortium and learn from the best neuroscientists, neuroengineers and computational engineers in the Netherlands.


We are looking for a candidate with an MSc degree in Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, or Applied mathematics, with a focus on Systems and Control.
(1) A strong background and genuine interest in working with mathematical tools and techniques of systems and control theory.
(2) Genuine interest for neuroscience and cognition (a background is not necessary).
(3) The candidate is expected to interact with cognitive and neuroscientists, be interested in participating in team-based scientific discussions, and enjoy curiosity-driven research.
(4) Good communication skills and an attitude for diversity and inclusion.
(5) Proficiency in expressing yourself verbally and in writing in English is required aligned with TU Delft English test requirements.
Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

Salary Benefits:

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.
Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2770 per month in the first year to € 3539 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.
The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.
For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service. This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.

Work Hours:

38 - 40 hours per week


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