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Mind, Brain, Computation and Technology Application and Eligibility

The 2020 Mind, Brain, Computation and Technology student membership application is due July 20. Apply now.

 
Prospective applicants must review the eligibility and application information below.
 
Key dates for the 2020 Mind, Brain, Computation and Technology application
Application deadline July 20, 2020, 5 PM (Pacific time)
Notification of award Summer, 2020
Award start date Fall quarter, 2020
Funding period Fall quarter, 2020 through summer quarter, 2023
To apply Apply now

Informational Session Recording

 

Eligibility

Student applicants

PhD students from any Stanford department are welcome to apply to the Mind, Brain, Computation and Technology student membership program, as long as their research relates to the function or emergent properties of the nervous system. Preferential consideration will be given to students in the early stages of their PhD, but others are welcome and encouraged to apply. If you have any questions about your eligibility for the training program, please do not hesitate to contact mbct-center@stanford.edu.
 
One of the goals of the Mind, Brain, Computation and Technology training program is to support diversity among researchers in the neurosciences. We welcome all interested students to apply, and particularly encourage women, underrepresented minorities, veterans and those with disabilities to submit an application.

Faculty mentors

Each applicant must have completed the process of selecting a primary research mentor according to the policies of the applicant’s PhD degree granting program.  The mentor should complete a mentor support form, providing an expression of the mentor’s support for the applicant’s stated goals and plans and a willingness to contribute to MBCT program activities (see form).   Stanford faculty serving as primary mentors of MBCT student members are requested to become faculty affiliates of the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute if not already affiliated

Apply 

The 2020 Mind, Brain, Computation and Technology application is due July 20.

Apply now

Deadline

July 20, 2020, 5 PM (Pacific Time)

Application components

In addition to basic information about the student applicant and their chosen mentors, the application consists of six further components:
 
  1. Your research plan: Explain your primary research question, including how you plan to advance sciences of the mind and brain by integrating experimental with computational or technical approaches. You are encouraged to be as specific as possible about your aims and methods, within the word limit. Limit: 300 words
  2. Stretch: A key goal for student members is to "stretch" beyond the traditional boundaries of your department or lab and/or learn interdisciplinary approaches. Describe how participation in the program will enable you to achieve this goal. This should include addressing skills you wish to learn, program components you wish to participate in, and advanced training opportunities that will help you reach your research and professional goals. See below for program components you can take part in, which you should address in your answer to this question. Limit: 300 words.
  3. Your community contribution plan: Describe how you propose to become an active and contributing member of the program’s community. Limit: 250 words.
  4. Finding a secondary mentor: Student members can receive guidance from an MBCT faculty member on finding additional mentorship to advance their interdisciplinary goals. This component is optional. Students who wish to receive this guidance should include this in their application, and describe what they are looking for from a secondary mentor. Limit: 250 words.
  5. Travel or research activities: Student members receive access to funding to advance their training and research goals. Describe how you might use such funds. 
  6. Statement of support from your primary mentor: Once you discuss your training and research plans and your interest in participating in MBCT with your primary advisor, they must complete and sign the Primary Faculty Mentor Statement of Support form, which you must submit as part of your application.

Program components

MBCT student members have access to a variety of activities to aide them in achieving their research, training and career goals. Applicants should reflect on which components would most benefit them, and include these within their application.

Seminars and symposia

The Center for Mind, Brain, Computation and Technology hosts a seminar series throughout the year, typically on a biweekly basis, that reflects the diversity of scientific approaches for studying the mind and brain. These seminars include a mix of Stanford faculty, faculty from other institutions and researchers outside of academia. Additionally, advanced student members present as part of the seminar series.

Annually, the Center hosts a symposium related to a specific theme relevant to the scientific goals of the community. Information about past symposia can be found here.

MBCT student members are also eligible to enroll in the NeuroTech training seminar, a one-credit course offered in the fall, winter and spring that addresses the growing field of neurotechnology. Students in the course are exposed to cutting-edge research and unique professional development opportunities, and join a community of researchers who share an interest in bringing technical approaches to neuroscience.

Student leadership opportunities

The Computational Neuroscience Journal Club is run by MBCT student members, and provides graduate students and postdocs an opportunity to explore the core techniques of computational neuroscience and their applications. CNJC meets regularly and includes presentations from students and postdocs, as well as community building activities such as happy hours.

Each year, a student committee organizes the Mind, Brain, Computation and Technology seminar series, and take the lead of soliciting speaker nominations from the community, inviting speakers and hosting their visits to campus. Additionally, students host the speakers for the annual symposium.

This year, a new Student Advisory Council has been formed with the goal of enabling greater student input into the direction of the center. These students solicit feedback from the MBCT student community, and meet with the Center's leadership several times per year.

The MBCT Social Committee brings together students for fun, informal gatherings over coffee and other beverages. The Social Committee plans several events each year, including events with other interdisciplinary graduate training programs on campus.

Travel and research opportunities

Student members typically use funding from the program to attend large neuroscience conferences (such as the Society for Neuroscience (SfN)  or the Computational and Systems Neuroscience (Cosyne) annual conferences), or to attend smaller conferences specific to their specialty (such as the Vision Sciences Society conference, the Eye and the Chip conference, and the Drosophila Neurobiology Conference). Students have also used their funds to attend Woods Hole or other workshops related to their specialty, to travel to other universities for collaborations and to pay for equiptment or equiptment time that advanced their research.

MBCT students have also made use of other training opportunities such as reading courses with individual faculty to gain greater expertise in a subfield relevant to their research. 

Application evaluation criteria

Faculty reviewers will evaluate applicants based on four criteria:

Interdisciplinarity: The student should propose to combine their core disciplinary training with different but complementary empirical, computational, theoretical or engineering approaches that can advance their research.

Stretch: The student should propose to stretch beyond the traditional boundaries of their department or lab in a way that will challenge them — without being overly ambitious.

Training plan: The student should clearly explain how they will combine coursework (beyond their home department’s requirements), travel to conferences or courses, and other learning opportunities (e.g., seminar series, journal clubs, etc.) to learn a new approach that is outside the traditional boundaries of their home lab or department.

Community contribution: The student should demonstrate a desire for engagement with, and contribution to, the MBCT community.