PhD Scholarship for citizens of the People’s Republic of China in Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging (includes fees, stipend, airfare and health insurance)

How does attention shift between externally- and internally-oriented thoughts as we engage with the world around us? Although we all know what it feels like to pay attention, understanding how the mind balances external and internal attention remains uncharted territory.To sidestep the conceptual and technical challenges posed by the complexity of the natural world, traditionally, scientists have adopted narrowly-constrained laboratory tasks and simplistic stimuli for studying attention, at the expense of real-world validity. The prevailing view posits that external and internal attention are different phenomena. By contrast, we propose that naturalistic attention is a unitary phenomenon scaffolded over external and internal attention, which are underlaid by a common mechanism. This project will investigate will investigate what drives the mechanism that balances the two, and why a large proportion of our mental life is devoted to internally-generated content, and how age-related changes affect this mechanism to produce attention deficits in older adults.

Standard Duties and Responsibilities

  • acquiring data via online tools and with neuroimaging in young and older adults
  • analysing neuroimaging data
  • advancing theories of naturalistic attention
  • computational modelling of attention
  • contributing to the growth of the methodological and intellectual expertise of the team

Person Specification

  • an excellent academic record (ranked in top 5%)

Knowledge & Experience 

  • quantitative or mathematical mindset (highly desirable)
  • good English (highly desirable)
  • cognitive neuroscience or psychology (desirable)
  • neuroimaging and neuroimaging methodology (desirable)
  • computational modelling or artificial intelligence (desirable)
  • coding in Python or Matlab (desirable)

Skills & Competencies

  • collegiality
  • strong critical thinking and good judgment
  • excellent organization and time management
  • the ability to work thoroughly through tasks until they are completed, even if they turn out to be more difficult than you first expected
  • the ability to write clearly and concisely
  • enthusiasm and aptitude to acquire expertise in diverse areas of the project
  • enthusiasm and aptitude to share expertise with other team members
  • enthusiasm for communication with a broader audience
  • a desire to develop your transversal and cross-sectoral skills

Training Opportunities
The lab has substantial expertise in neuroimaging, including in clinical populations, cognitive neuroscience, and neuroethics, and there will be many opportunities to develop these skills. There are also postgraduate courses available to all Trinity PhD students, in topics such as statistics or creativity. There are weekly lab meetings that offer the opportunity to develop skills such as critical thinking and presentation skills, and an imaging interest group to develop knowledge of MRI. You will attend national and international conferences, to present your work and to develop a network of people in your area. 

The studentship will be supervised by Professor Lorina Naci (TCIN, GBHI). The lab is committed to equality and diversity.

Following selection by the Naci lab, the chosen applicant will enter the competition for the China Scholarship Council (CSC) – Trinity College Dublin Joint Scholarship Programme

TCIN and Trinity College
Our group is located within the prestigious interdisciplinary Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience (TCIN), and the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI). Both TCIN and GBHI are located at Trinity College in the heart of Dublin. Trinity was founded in 1592 and is ranked as Ireland’s No.1 University in the QS World University Ranking, THE World University Ranking and the Academic Ranking of World Universities. It is a member of the League of European Research Universities.

Application Procedure
Stage 1 deadline Jan 14, 2019.
Candidates should submit as a single PDF to nacil [at] with the subject line “PHD19_NaciLab”:

  • a cover letter addressing why this project interests you and what you will bring to it
  • why you will be able to make a strong application to the China Scholarship Council (CSC) – Trinity College Dublin Joint Scholarship Programme
  • a full curriculum vitae
  • the names and email addresses of two referees
  • your undergraduate grades/transcripts
  • links to any other supporting media, such as code repositories, preprints, articles in the media, or blogs

Subsequent stages, for the successful candidate are described on the China Scholarship Council (CSC) – Trinity College Dublin Joint Scholarship Programme page.
If you have any query please contact: Professor Lorina Naci nacil [at]