The International Max Planck Research School on Cognitive NeuroImaging (IMPRS CoNI) provides world-class training for doctoral students and aims to nurture the next generation of scientists in the highly interdisciplinary and fast-paced fields of human neuroscience, particularly cognitive neuroscience and neuroimaging. The research field spans a wide range from applications in various fields of human neuroscience and cognition to the development of novel methods in neuroimaging, computational neuroscience, and artificial intelligence. To cover this broad spectrum and provide top scientific quality, the IMPRS CoNI integrates international excellence through a partnership of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (MPI CBS) and Leipzig University (LU), i.e. the two main partners, with additional faculty from the associated partners TU Dresden (TUD) and University College London (UCL).
The core fields underlying the IMPRS CoNI (cognitive neuroscience, clinical and translational neuroscience, and neuroimaging) are more important than ever. Non-invasive neuroimaging has revolutionized the study of uniquely-human higher cognitive functions, such as language and certain aspects of social cognition. Such knowledge illuminates nothing less than the fundamental question of what makes us human. In addition to addressing this central question, cognitive neuroimaging promises to address major technical and societal challenges. For example, our ageing society and fast-paced lifestyle have resulted in a surge in degenerative diseases. These have severe consequences for brain function, with a major impact on society and healthcare systems.
Doctoral students are exposed to cutting-edge research in training and projects. The field of cognitive neuroimaging is highly interdisciplinary and rapidly developing. IMPRS CoNI is one of the very few graduate schools covering the field comprehensively, particularly considering neuroscientific applications and methods alike. The IMPRS CoNI capitalizes on the unique position of the MPI CBS and its partners to offer excellent training and opportunities for cutting-edge research projects.
Students benefit from a unique infrastructure enabling all types of cognitive neuroimaging experiments. The IMPRS CoNI covers all major imaging and neurostimulation methods and their appropriate use including: magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (including access to one of only four Connectom MRI systems worldwide for diffusion imaging), electroencephalography (EEG), magnetoencephalography (MEG), positron emission tomography (PET)-MRI, near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and direct current stimulation (tDCS). On top of this, IMPRS CoNI offers high performance computing facilities for computational modeling and data analysis.
The three modules covered by IMPRS CoNI ensure a structured and comprehensive approach and provide the important basic training. Additionally, the school offers advanced courses tailored towards students' interests and needs for the PhD project. Lectures are complemented by practical exercises, summer schools, retreats, and workshops. IMPRS CoNI also offers hybrid teaching, which allows both students and faculty to work and contribute remotely. In addition, course content is digitized to increase the flexibility for students to conduct their theses work, participate in lab visits, and learn/revise according to their preferences or needs.
A major focus of the IMPRS CoNI curriculum is the flipped classroom concept to increase students' engagement and problem solving abilities. The school also aims to integrate novel training technology, such as virtual and embedded learning tools.
Importantly, the school strives for diversity in the student cohorts (gender, scientific/personal background). In order to achieve this, we emphasize equal opportunities in all respects. Individual development plans (IDP) for each student take diverse academic backgrounds into account and help to adapt the training to each individual student's needs.