This Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) grant supports the creation of a new interdisciplinary graduate training program in Emergent Functions of Neural Systems within the Center for Mind Brain and Computation at Stanford University. The effort to understand human mental abilities such as perception, decision making, learning and memory, and motor planning and action as emergent consequences of brain activity remains a major challenge of science, and meeting this challenge requires scientists who combine both quantitative and experimental research methods. Quantitative methods include computational modeling, applied mathematics, and statistics; experimental methods involve recording brain activity while the brain is engaged in mental activity. This program will train the next generation of scientists who will address this challenge by combining quantitative and experimental methods. Trainees may come from Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Neuroscience, or Psychology at Stanford. Each trainee will formulate an individualized training plan that complements the home department doctoral program, and will pursue research combining quantitative and experimental methods. The program will develop new courses in quantitative and computational neuroscience, and will provide opportunities to bridge across disciplinary boundaries. This IGERT will strengthen the use of quantitative and computational methods that are crucial for breakthrough progress in research aimed at understanding how mental abilities arise from neural processes, and it will strengthen bridges between the disciplines of psychology and neuroscience and the disciplines of computer science, mathematics, and engineering. Trainees will go on to careers in which they will enhance expertise in quantitative and computational methods in the behavioral and neural sciences and pass their expertise on to others. The program will recruit women and underrepresented groups through a variety of outreach and networking activities to pursue careers combining quantitative and computational approaches to understand the relationship between mental and neural processes. IGERT is an NSF-wide program intended to meet the challenges of educating U.S. Ph.D. scientists and engineers with the interdisciplinary background, deep knowledge in a chosen discipline, and the technical, professional, and personal skills needed for the career demands of the future. The program is intended to catalyze a cultural change in graduate education by establishing innovative new models for graduate education and training in a fertile environment for collaborative research that transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Graduate Education (DGE)
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Richard Boone
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Stanford University
Palo Alto
United States
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