2024 NERF PhD Program

Leuven Neuro-Electronics Research Flanders (NERF)

13 Nov 2023


Neuro-Electronics Research Flanders (NERF)



16 Nov 2023

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 Ph.D. 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 neuro-technologies. 

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 Ph.D. training program

We offer a 4-year Ph.D. training program with access to state-of-the-art research facilities. With their advisor, Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. degree from KU Leuven. Our students enroll in 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, critical thinking, enjoy teamwork, and has 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, and cognitive or behavioral neuroscience experience are a plus but not a requirement. Computational scientists from all fields.


To be considered for a Ph.D. position, you must meet our requirements for enrollment:

  • You must have a master’s degree from a University in any European country. Your educational level will be assessed to determine whether it complies with entry requirements. If you hold a master’s degree from a non-European country or have a 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 referencesApplicants may indicate up to two labs or projects of interest. All applications are reviewed by principal investigators. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interviews in January.

Application deadline: September 30, 2023.

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

VIB values diversity - in backgrounds and in experiences. The institute needs people from all backgrounds and ways of life to help build a thriving scientific environment. VIB is therefore looking for candidates who are not only strong in their own aptitudes but care deeply about supporting each other's growth. VIB's collaborators are people with different strengths, experiences and backgrounds, who share a passion for science that generates impact in science and in society. Diversity not only includes race and gender identity, but also nationality, age, disability status, sexual orientation, religion and many other parts of one’s identity. All of VIB’s employees’ points of view are key to its success, and inclusion is everyone's responsibility.