​at the BCBL- Basque Center on Cognition Brain and Language (San Sebastián, Basque Country, Spain) 


  • Position: PhD student
  • Researcher Profile: First Stage Researcher (R1- up to the point of PhD)
  • Number of vacancies: 1
  • Project: Neural circuits for perceptual inference in the subcortical auditory pathway
  • Location:  Spain > San Sebastian
  • Research Field: Neuroscience > Computational Neuroscience
  • Type of contract/Duration of Contract : Temporary >  4 years
  • Job Status: Full-time
  • Hours per week: 35
  • Starting date:  September 2024 (flexible)
  • Application deadline: 31st May 2024


Information about the project:

The freshly established Perceptual Inference Group at the BCBL studies how the subcortical and early cortical stages of the brain work together to make sense of the sensory world. This project will investigate the neural circuits implementing perceptual inference along the subcortical auditory pathway. This is a fantastic opportunity for individuals with a quantitative background who wish to start a career in Computational Neuroscience.

Job description:

  • Designing and implementing computational models of neural circuits
  • Training recurrent neural networks and biologically plausible dynamical systems
  • Analysing mice electrophysiological recordings and human fMRI data
  • Writing research papers under the supervision of the PI, aiming to publish at top-tier journals
  • Dissemination of results at international scientific conferences

PI and research group:

The Perceptual Inference Group is a freshly established interdisciplinary research group at the BCBL in San Sebastian, Spain. The group combines tools from Machine Learning, Computational Neuroscience, and state-of-the-art Human Neuroimaging to explain how our expectations and subjective priors shape our experience of reality. The lab has a large network of international collaborations with experimental and computational labs in Leipzig, Dresden, Basel, Pennsylvania, and Cambridge. The PI, Alejandro Tabas, is currently holding an ERC Starting Grant, and the lab has plenty of funding for conference trips and research visits to our collaborators abroad.



Required skills:

  • A master degree in computer science, machine learning, physics, or a related discipline. Students with a background in cognitive sciences or experimental psychology will be considered if they have sufficient mathematical experience.
  • Strong programming skills (python preferred)
  • Fluent knowledge of English
  • Good communication skills and ability to collaborate in interdisciplinary environments
  • Keen interest in Neuroscience research

Desirable skills:

  • Experience with pytorch or other packages supporting automatic differentiation
  • Experience writing scientific reports and/or scientific papers
  • Experience analysing neuroimaging and/or electrophysiological data



Salary: 21,000€/year gross on average across the four years of the contract

Entitlements and other benefits:


Training opportunities and Career development plan: Researchers at any stage of their career, regardless of their contractual situation, are given an opportunity for professional development and for improving their employability through access to a Personal Career Development Plan which includes

(1) Training through individually personalized research projects under senior supervision

(2) Exchanging knowledge with the scientific community and the general public

(3) Network-wide training in theory and methods

(4) Complementary training courses

(5) Involvement in proposal writing, task coordination

(6) Development of skills for the organization of training and scientific events

BCBL seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support contact us.



Language policy

  • The corporative language at the Center is English
  • The center provides initial level Spanish and Basque lessons to all the international staff members
  • The interview will be conducted entirely in English



Submission of the application and documentation:

To submit your application, please follow this link: applying for “PhD Modelling inference in the brain” and attach the following documentation:

  • A curriculum vitae
  • A statement outlining research interests and motivation to apply for the position
  • Transcript of records for the master and bachelor degrees
  • Two letters of recommendation

Application process timetable:

  • Deadline for application: 31/05/2024
  • Evaluation by committee: 03/06/2024-14/06/2024
  • Interviews: 18/06/2024-27/06/2024
  • Final decision: 30/06/2024
  • Feedback to all applicants: 01/07/2024
  • Work contract start date: 01/09/2024

Contact details for enquiries:

Alejandro is also very happy to hold informal chats on the project and the position with prospective candidates: