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Mind, Brain, Computation and Technology Application and Eligibility

The 2021 Mind, Brain, Computation and Technology student membership application is now closed!

 
Prospective applicants must review the eligibility and application information below.
 
Key dates for the 2021 Mind, Brain, Computation and Technology application
Application deadline June 24, 2021, 5 PM (PT)
Notification of award Summer, 2021
Award start date Fall quarter, 2021
Funding period Fall quarter, 2021 through summer quarter, 2024
To apply Application closed.

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 2021 Mind, Brain, Computation and Technology application is now closed.

Deadline

June 24, 2021, 5 PM (PT)

Application components

In addition to basic information about the student applicant and their chosen mentors, the application consists of five further components:
 
  1. What is your proposed PhD research plan? Explain your primary research question, and describe how you plan to advance understanding of this question. Explain how your research will advance the sciences of mind and brain and their applications by integrating experimental with computational or technical approaches. (300 words) 

    The Center for Mind, Brain, Computation and Technology aims to advance our understanding of the emergent functions of biological neural systems and support the development of applications of this understanding by integrating the empirical sciences of mind and brain with computational, quantitative, and technical methods such as computer science, statistics, applied mathematics and engineering. A strong application will describe a PhD research plan that includes such interdisciplinary neuroscience research.

     
  2. How will the MBCT student membership program be a good fit for your education, research and career goals? Briefly describe your disciplinary background, the steps you have already taken to stretch beyond it, and the further steps you would like to take as you continue your graduate training. Explain how you will combine interdisciplinary coursework, travel to conferences or courses, mentor(s) and other learning opportunities (e.g., seminar series, journal clubs, etc.) to extend beyond your current areas of expertise and develop the skills you need for neuroscience research and future career paths. (300 words)

    The Center for Mind, Brain, Computation and Technology aims to help students go beyond the traditional boundaries of their discipline or lab — integrating disparate methods and research approaches, bridging levels of analyses, and linking empirical scientific methods with computational, quantitative and technical approaches. A strong application will describe specialized advance training you aim to pursue in order to stretch your research and education in one or more of these dimensions, and includes concrete examples. It may also include examples of ways in which you have already stretched beyond the traditional boundaries of your field or lab.
     
  3. How would you like to contribute to the MBCT community? If pertinent, discuss how your participation will contribute to the program’s goals to include individuals from diverse groups and diverse educational backgrounds. You are encouraged to contact program coordinator Melissa Landeros, mlanderos@stanford.edu, if you would like to discuss ways in which you could get involved. (200 words)

    The Center for Mind, Brain, Computation and Technology is strengthened by the participation and contributions of each of its members, and aims to create a diverse, inclusive and equitable community. A strong application will support these goals and include specific examples of ways in which you would like to engage with and contribute to the MBCT community.

     
  4. Would a secondary mentor be beneficial for your research and/or training goals? If so, have you attempted to find a secondary mentor? Explain the extent of your need for additional mentoring beyond your primary mentor, or explain why the primary mentor is sufficient to address your needs without additional mentoring. If you have a need for such mentoring and have already identified a plan for obtaining it: explain how the mentor(s) will help you advance your research, training and career goals, explain how this additional mentoring will complement your primary mentoring, and describe the plan for interactions with your secondary mentor(s). If you need additional mentoring and are still developing your plans, be specific about your needs and what you are looking for in your mentor(s). (300 words)

    Strong mentorship can be a critical part of a PhD student’s success in achieving their interdisciplinary research and training goals. In some cases, a student’s primary research mentor might have the knowledge and resources to provide this mentorship on their own, but in many cases students will benefit from a complementary secondary mentor. A strong application will convincingly explain how you will receive the mentorship you need, either from your primary mentor or with the addition of a secondary mentor (or mentors!).
     
  5. 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.