July 26, 2014

PhD Opportunity: ‘Skill-Learning: Brain Systems, Eye-movements, Aging and Driver Behaviour’

29/07/2013 – NEW PhD OPPORTUNITY

Applications are invited for a fully funded, three year PhD Studentship to start in October 2013. This will include a stipend of £15,000 per annum, plus fees at the Home/EU rate (overseas applicants are also welcome to apply if they can pay difference between the Home/EU and the OS tuition fees).

This exciting project will study learning and it’s basis in the human brain. In particular, it will use eye tracking and functional MRI to focus on learning both motor and cognitive skills, cerebellar plasticity, and cerebellar interactions with frontal lobe areas (see Ramnani N (2006) “The Primate Cortico-Cerebellar System”, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 7(7):511-22). The project will also have an applied component which will focus on the effects of aging on skill using driving simulators to investigate skills in elderly drivers.

This is a unique opportunity to work at the centre of a collaboration between the Brain, Action and Cognition research group lead by Professor Narender Ramnani (Royal Holloway, University of London; www.pc.rhul.ac.uk/sites/neurosciencelab ), and Professor Andrew Parkes, Chief Scientist at the Transport Research Laboratory (www.trl.co.uk/facilities/driving_simulation). Professors Parkes and Ramnani have excellent track records for research and PhD supervision, and lead well-resourced research labs. Royal Holloway’s Psychology Department is recognised for its excellent research record in the study of behaviour and its neural basis (www.rhul.ac.uk/neuroscience). It also has outstanding research infrastructure, including state-of-the-art eye-tracking facilities, and an on-site, research-dedicated 3T Siemens Trio MRI facility. The nearby Transport Research Laboratory is internationally recognised for its world-class facilities for studying driver behaviour, including a suit of driving simulators (www.trl.co.uk/facilities/driving_simulation).

The studentship is suitable for those with a strong academic background, a clear interest in developing a career in research, and confident in their understanding of statistics and basic computing. Candidates should have (or expect to gain) a First Class or Upper Second Class honours degree in disciplines related to Neuroscience and/or Psychology. A Masters degree in a related discipline and some prior experience of research in a relevant area would also be desirable. Applicants are encouraged to make pre-submission enquiries to Prof. Ramnani (n.ramnani@rhul.ac.uk). This vacancy will remain open until a suitable candidate is found.

To apply for this post, please send the following information to n.ramnani@rhul.ac.uk:

  • An up-to-date CV (this should include contact details, the dates and grades of your degree(s), and any relevant research experience)
  • A cover letter highlighting your skills, your motivation for applying and explaining your suitability for the project (no more than one side of A4)
  • A transcript of results for the degree that you have completed or are in the process of completing
  • The names and contact details of two academic referees who understand your suitability for research and have agreed to provide you with a reference

The College is committed to equality and diversity, and encourages applications from all sections of the community.

*please note that this position is subject to signing of contract.