University of Stirling PhD Studentships in Cognitive Neuroscience

University of Stirling

Can we develop a brain pacemaker?


Can we identify neural signatures of dementia early on?

Applications are invited for two fully-funded PhD studentships based at Psychology at the University of Stirling in Scotland (UK). 

1. Can we develop a brain pacemaker?

(Supervisory team: Dr Magdalena Ietswaart, Prof David Donaldson, and external supervisor Prof Martin Edwards of the Université catholique de Louvain)

It is now possible the capture the brain signature of behaviour while people are going about their everyday business. At Stirling we have pioneered some of these techniques and look to implement this for the benefit of brain damaged patients and the healthy aged. This may be a form of stroke rehabilitation or an aid for people to reorient their attention or motor responses through biofeedback. Working on this project is for candidates who relish a challenge technically, conceptually, and clinically. You are likely to work with EEG, fNIRS, brain stimulation, and robotics.

2. Can we identify neural signatures of dementia early on?

[Supervisory team: Dr Magdalena Ietswaart, Dr Dimitrios Kourtis, Dr Paul Dudchenko, Dr Angus Hunter]

There is much progress to be made in the early diagnosis of dementia. Dementia is a global challenge (e.g. a relatively high percentage of HIV infected individuals get the disease) and creative application of the knowledge and understanding from Cognitive Neuroscience may help to develop early diagnosis for example. How motor processes and perception map onto the development of dementia is relatively unexplored. At Stirling we have pioneered new approaches to identifying the neural signature of behaviour and cognitive processes while people walk around and interact with the real world. This PhD project is for a candidate who enjoys tackling new neuroscience insight in its full complexity and who relishes the technical challenges to do with monitoring neural processes in the real world using a range of brain technologies in new and innovative ways.

The studentships are available for three-years, and include a tax-free stipend of approximately £14,553 p.a. Tuition fees will be met by the University at the home/EU rate. Subject to satisfactory progress review at the end of the first year, the studentship will be renewed for a second year and thereafter for a third year.

The studentship will have an anticipated registration date of 1 February 2018.

Informal enquiries to Magdalena Ietswaart, or Linda Cullen ( Tel: +44 (0) 1786 466854. You may also look at our websites and

Please apply via the online application, selecting ‘Research Degree in Psychology’:

with the following information: (i) Your academic CV with contact details for two academic referees. (ii) One A4 page covering letter outlining your suitability, why you are interested in pursuing a PhD in this area, and any other information relevant to the application. (iii) Copies of your academic transcripts.

Once you have started the application process, please email to ask to be exempted from the ‘find-a-supervisor’ process.

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