Background

Background

There have been rapid advancements and investments in research and development in brain sciences, neurotechnology, neural data modelling and neuro-inspired artificial intelligence (AI).

These advancements have not only led to deeper understanding of brain functions and disorders, but also the development and application of powerful AI and machine-learning algorithms that affect our everyday life. In fact, historically, AI was inspired by how intelligence arises from the brain.

Deadline for In-Person Application

15 June 2024

Deadline for Online Application

10 August 2024

The Computational Neuroscience, Neurotechnology and Neuro-inspired AI (CN3) Summer School

The Computational Neuroscience, Neurotechnology and Neuro-inspired AI (CN3) Summer School aims to train the next generation of researchers on these state-of-the-art developments. This short course will touch on the areas of computational neuroscience, neural data science, neurotechnology and neuro-inspired AI.

The School is unique in that important and timely topics either not delivered in other Schools or taught courses, or delivered only individually, will be delivered here in an integrated way, from pedagogical to advanced levels. These topics include computational modelling of neural-glial systems, neuromodulators, cognition, neurotechnology, neuromorphic computing, self-repaired intelligent machines, spiking neural networks and cognitive robotics. Mathematical foundations, coding exercises, ethics and entrepreneurship will also be covered. Moreover, although neural computation and neuro-inspired AI research are conducted in the island of Ireland, there is very little relevant training and taught courses, especially for early career researchers, in the region; this School aims to bridge this gap.

ISRC-CN3 Summer School Information

The Summer School will be held at the Intelligent Systems Research Centre (ISRC), a major research unit within the School of Computing, Engineering and Intelligent Systems at Ulster University in Derry~Londonderry, Northern Ireland. The ISRC is dedicated to developing a bio-inspired computational basis for AI to power future cognitive technologies. This is achieved through understanding how the brain works at multiple levels, from cells to cognition and apply that understanding to create models and technologies that solve complex issues that face people and society. To accomplish this, a variety of research strategies and applications is used, including big data and machine learning, brain imaging and neural interfacing, human-computer interaction and robotics.

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    The ISRC is housed in a large, purpose-built facility, with state-of-the-art resources, including neuroimaging, neurotechnology and robotic facilities, and high-performance computing facility for big data analytics and large-scale computational simulations. There will be a tour of labs for in-person attendees. The ISRC is multidisciplinary, with arguably the largest cluster of computational neuroscientists and neuro-inspired AI researchers in the island of Ireland, with strong collaborations with many clinical, biomedical, neuroscience, AI and mental health centres, and industrial partners, allowing its research output to quickly translate into applications.

    Academic researchers at the ISRC and invited external speakers will contribute to the delivery of this 5-day School, which consists of lectures and labs. Labs will consist of modelling and analysing data related to the lectures as part of small projects to consolidate the lectures’ content and encourage active and creative participation. Attendees will have the opportunity to present and share their research work on the final day. See Schedule below for the topics covered. Class materials will be made available in advance of the event. Required software (Python and MATLAB) should be downloaded and configured before the event. Foundational topics in mathematical techniques and computer programming will be provided.

    Although the School will focus on research communities especially within the Island of Ireland due to its lack of such training, wider participations are welcomed. We particularly encourage applications from advanced undergraduate, masters, graduate diploma, early-stage career (Ph.D. students and postdoctoral) researchers, clinical researchers, and research scientists and engineers in industrial and clinical sectors. Ideally, participants will have some mathematical background at the UK GCE A level / Irish Leaving Certificate level, some familiarity in computer/scientific programming in languages such as Python or MATLAB, or some background knowledge in biology, neuroscience, medicine or psychology.

    In-person attendees are limited to 40 people. Selection of in-person applications will be based on suitability of research interests, reason(s) and motivation(s) and a recommendation letter for attending – information will be requested during application process.

    The School aims to be inclusive by providing high accessibility including those who are underrepresented and/or with caregiving responsibilities, disabilities, and limited funds, and bursaries may be available (please state this in the application). In light of the ongoing pandemic, the School will adopt a hybrid (physical and virtual) format, and if the pandemic situation becomes worse, it will be a completely virtual event.

  • Feedback from previous Autumn School

    “… most impressed by the quality of the talks. They were long-form, in-depth, and covered a lot of cutting-edge research … topics worked well together …”

    “… mind-opening experience … to listen to the great work of top-notch researchers …”

    “attended … as a visitor from industry… I gained extremely valuable insights and skills that I am excited to apply in multiple domains in my own work going forward”

    “… thanks to the lab sessions I was able to practice the concepts explained during the day. In spite of attending … online, I have had the opportunity to learn a lot about neuroscience and to resolve all my questions from home as if I was attending in person”

    “…appreciated the lab tour, discovering the facility as well as Northern Ireland's culture and heritage. Thank you, it was a great experience!”

    “…level of support and guidance … was second to none, and allowed us to enjoy the course even more, both in the classroom as well as when connected remotely … environment was so friendly and warm and welcoming …”

    “…interesting to learn about current developments in the field of BCI and machine learning applied to processing brain imaging data … level of this course was above my expectations … this course will help researchers from fields so apart from each other, to find common ground and language for communication, helping to remove the borders between them …”

    “…friendly environment which I felt even in online experience …”

    “…speakers did great! Very engaging …”

    “…really liked the fact that the difficulty was increasing with basics on first day and then more complicated stuff on the next …”

    “…all the speakers were very considerate of the diverse backgrounds of the attendees and had framed their talks in simple words … could not attend most classes live and had to rely on the recorded videos, I think it was immensely useful …“

    “…lectures were not only interesting on their own but were ordered in such a way that they built on top of each other … and I felt I had built a good foundation on various topics in neuroscience that I can revisit later …”

Schedule and Speakers

* The final schedule, biographies of speakers, title and abstract of lectures/talks will be confirmed two weeks before the event.

Day 1 - 26th August 2024 (Monday)
TimeSpeaker
8.30am - 9.00am Registration and Coffee/Breakfast
9.00am - 9.30am Welcome Address - Dr Saugat Bhattacharyya (Ulster University)
Prof Liam Maguire (Pro-Vice Chancellor Research, Ulster University)
10.45am - 12.45pm Introduction to Neuroscience - Dr Daniela Tropea (Trinity College Dublin)
3.00pm - 5.00pm Mathematics for Neuroscience - TBD
5.30pm - 7.00pm Lab - Introduction to Programming
Day 2 - 27th August 2024 (Tuesday)
TimeSpeaker
8.30am - 9.00am Coffee/Breakfast
9.00am - 10.00am Keynote: Dr Athena Akrami (Sainsbury Wellcome Centre, University College London)
10.00am - 11.30pm Computational modelling of neurons, plasticity and learning - Dr. Cian O'Donnell (Ulster University)
11.30pm - 12.30pm Modelling astrocyte neuron interactions and glial cells - Prof. Liam McDaid (Ulster University)
2.30pm-4pm Neural Network Dynamics and decision making – Prof. KongFatt Wong-Lin (Ulster University)
4.15pm-5pm Panel Discussion (All Speakers)
5.30pm - 7.00pm Lab - Computational Modelling
Day 3 - 28th August 2024 (Wednesday)
TimeSpeaker
8.30am - 9.00am Coffee/Breakfast
9.00am - 11.00am Neural Signal Processing and connectivity analysis - Dr Saugat Bhattacharyya (Ulster University)
11.00am - 12.00am Keynote: Dr Javier Minguez (University of Zaragoza)
2.00pm - 3.30pm Computational neuroimaging and brain-computer interface - Prof. Girijesh Prasad (Ulster University)
3.45pm -4.45pm Neurotechnology for real-world applications - Prof. Damien Coyle (University of Bath)
5.30pm - 7.00pm Lab - Neural Data Analysis
Day 4 - 29th August 2024 (Thursday)
TimeSpeaker
8.30am - 9.00am Registration and Coffee/Breakfast
9.00am - 10.00am Keynote: Prof. Nikola Kasabov (Auckland University)
10.15am - 11.15pm Introduction to Continual Learning - Dr. Shirin Dora (Loughborough University)
11.30pm - 12.30pm Neuro-inspired cognitive robotics - Dr Chiara Bartolozzi (Italian Institute of Technology)
2.00pm - 3.00pm Neuromorphic Computing - TBD
3.00pm - 4.00pm Keynote: Prof. KC Santosh (University of South Dakota)
4.15pm - 5.00pm Panel Discussion
5.30pm - 7.00pm Lab - Neuro-inspired AI
Day 5 - 30th August 2024 (Friday)
TimeSpeaker
8.30am - 9.00am Coffee/Breakfast
9.00am - 10.00am Neuro-ethics - TBD
10.00am - 12.30pm Student Presentation
2.00pm - 3.30pm Industry Talks
3.30 - 4pm Closing Ceremony

Registration Fees

Coming Soon!

Bursary Information

Coming Soon!

Organising Committee

Saugat Bhattacharyya, Cian O’Donnell, KongFatt Wong-Lin, Muskaan Singh, Louise Gallagher, Elaine Duffy, Cheryl Mullan, Gerald Hasson, Eoghan Tucker.

For enquiries, please contact Saugat Bhattacharyya via e-mail (s.bhattacharyya@ulster.ac.uk).