2021 NERF PhD Program

Leuven Neuro-Electronics Research Center Flanders (NERF)

18 Oct 2020


Neuro-Electronics Research Center Flanders (NERF)



Are you curious about how the nervous system works?

Do you feel passionate about research?
Are you an innovative and critical thinker who enjoys a challenge?

Join us at NERF!

NERF is recruiting talented, ambitious and highly motivated candidates for PhD positions.

We offer students an opportunity to carry out cutting edge systems neuroscience research in an international and collaborative environment. Affiliated with IMEC, VIB and KU Leuven, NERF provides multi-disciplinary training and access to advanced neurotechnologies.                          

About NERF

Neuro-Electronics Research Flanders is a young, vibrant research institute dedicated to unraveling brain function. NERF has a strong multidisciplinary team of 6 laboratories focused on neurotechnology, neural circuits and behavior. Our researchers tackle questions about sensory processing (vision, olfaction and somatosensation), motor control, learning and memory, and neurovascular coupling. NERF is at the forefront of technologies for in vivo brain activity measurements such as high-density CMOS based silicon recording devices (Neuropixels probes), 2-photon calcium imaging and functional ultrasound imaging.

Our PhD training program

We offer a 4-year PhD training program with access to state-of-the-art research facilities. With their advisor, PhD students work together with internationally recognized scientists to develop their research projects in an exciting research environment. In addition to guidance from their advisor, students are also advised by their thesis committee members to support their academic and professional development.

We are committed to career development. As a PhD student, you will get intensive and dedicated supervision and access to an extensive training course program available through our different affiliated institutes. After successful completion of the program, you will be awarded a PhD degree from KU Leuven. Our students enroll the programs of the doctoral schools of biomedical sciences, humanities or social sciences, or science, engineering & technology.

Research tracks

  • Neural circuits & behavior
  • Neural systems and computation
  • Advanced brain recording and imaging

Applicants with a profile with one or more descriptions below are encouraged to apply:

  • Extensive biology, physics, engineering or neuroscience training.
  • Creative, enthusiastic, critically thinking, enjoy teamwork and excellent oral and written communication skills in English.
  • Quantitative and technical skills, fluency in programming e.g. Matlab / Python.
  • Students seeking to do experimental work should be comfortable working with rodents and performing precise surgical procedures (training will be provided).
  • Molecular biology, cellular physiology, systems, cognitive or behavioral neuroscience experience are a plus but not a requirement. Computational scientists from all fields.


To be considered for a PhD position, you must meet our requirements for enrollment:

  • You must have a Master’s degree from a University in any European countries. Your educational level will be assessed to determine whether it comply with entry requirements. If you hold a Master’s degree from non-European countries or have bachelor’s degree from the USA or Canada, you will need to be admitted as a pre-doctoral student (6-12 months) before you are formally admitted as a Ph.D. student.
  • You must be proficient in English.


Submit your application which includes a CV, motivation letter describing your research interests and career goals, digital copies of university transcripts (Bachelor’s and Master’s) and contact information of three references electronically to nerf.admin@nerf.be. Incomplete applications will not be considered. All applications are reviewed by principal investigators. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interviews in January.

The next deadline:

We will begin considering applications on a rolling basis starting October 31st, 2020 with online interviews beginning in November. Applications will be considered until December 1st, 2020.

For inquiries about the application, please contact nerf.admin@nerf.be or visit our website www.nerf.be.