Connecting European Neuroscience

Computational Neuroscience

12 August - 1 September 2018, Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, Portugal

Computational Neuroscience is a rapidly evolving field whose methods and techniques are critical for understanding and modelling the brain, and also for designing and interpreting experiments. Mathematical modeling is an essential tool to cut through the vast complexity of neurobiological systems and their many interacting elements.

The course teaches the central ideas, methods, and practices of modern computational neuroscience through a combination of lectures and hands-on project work. During the course’s mornings, distinguished international faculty deliver lectures on topics across the entire breadth of experimental and computational neuroscience. For the remainder of the time, students work on research projects in teams of 2 to 3 people under close supervision of expert tutors and faculty. Research projects are proposed by faculty before the course, and include the modeling of neurons, neural systems, and behaviour, the analysis of state-of-the-art neural data (behavioural data, multi-electrode recordings, calcium imaging data, connectomics data, etc.), and the development of theories to explain experimental observations.

This course is designed for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from a variety of disciplines, including neuroscience, physics, electrical engineering, computer science, mathematics and psychology. Students are expected to have a keen interest and basic background in neurobiology, a solid foundation in mathematics, as well as some computing experience. A four-day pre-school in mathematics and programming is offered for students that want to catch up on their math and programming skills. 

Course directors

Jakob Macke
Research Center Caesar,
Christian Machens
Champalimaud research, Portugal
Joe Paton
Champalimaud research, Portugal



Matthias Bethge, University of Tübingen, Germany
Kevin Briggman
, Research Center Caesar, Germany
Megan Carey
, Champalimaud Research, Portugal
Claudia Clopath
, Imperial College London, UK
Sophie Denève, École Normale Supérieure, France
Rainer Engelken, Columbia University, USA
Julijana Gjorgjieva
, MPI Brain Research, Germany
Pedro J. Gonçalves, Research Center Caeser, Associate of Max Planck Society, Germany
Michael Häusser
, University College London, UK
Andreas Herz, Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, Germany
Simon Laughlin
, University of Cambridge, UK
Gilles Laurent
, MPI Brain Research, Germany
Máté Lengyel, University of Cambridge, UK
Jennifer Linden, UCL Ear Institute, UK
Elliot Ludvig
, University of Warwick, UK
Anthony Movshon
, New York University, USA
Maneesh Sahani, Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit, UCL, UK
Cristina Savin, New York University, USA
Jeffrey Taube, Darthmouth College, USA
Eero Simoncelli, New York University, USA
Tim Vogels, University of Oxford, UK
Byron Yu, Carnegie Mellon University, USA

For further information on the course programme, instructors and techniques go to the course local website.


Pre-school on Programming and Mathematics (7-10 August 2018)
The main course ‘Computational Neuroscience’ is aimed at students with a biological/experimental background (“experimentalists”) and with a quantitative background (“theorists”). Two of the primary objectives of the course are to help students cross the traditional discipline boundaries that most are still trained in, and to get experimentalists and theorists to collaborate on a research project.

As a consequence, the experimentalists will have to improve their level of mathematics and programming skills; and the theorists, their level of (neuro-)biology. To level the playing field, we wish to offer a pre-school to teach students with little or no programming skills the basics of modern programming languages (e.g., MATLAB or Python). Please find more information on the pre-school on the Cajal Couse in Computational Neuroscience local website.

Please note that the Pre-school is not included in the main course tuition fee and therefore, an extra fee applies. In order to register for the pre-school, please click on the "yes" option under the "Do you wish to register for the Pre-school on Math and Programming?" question in the main application form.

Fee : 2.500 € (includes tuition fee, accommodation and meals)
Pre-school fee: 350 

The CAJAL programme offers 4 stipends per course (waived registration fee, not including travel expenses and pre-school fee). Please apply through the course online application form. In order to identify candidates in real need of a stipend, any grant applicant is encouraged to first request funds from their lab, institution or government.

Kindly note that if you benefited from a Cajal stipend in the past, you are no longer eligible to receive this kind of funding. However other types of funding (such as partial travel grants from sponsors) might be made available after the participants selection process, depending on the course.



Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, Portugal

For enquires, please contact: