News and opportunities

PhD studentships available

Two PhD student positions in Neuroscience are available at the University of Sussex from 1 February 2020.


The PhD positions will develop within the project “Peripheral Olfactory Coding: Information Processing outside the Brain” funded by the Leverhulme Trust. This project will investigate early olfactory coding in the model system of the fruit fly Drosophila. Our aim is to test the hypothesis that one key element underlying odour object recognition are non-synaptic interactions between receptor neurons, i.e. information pre-processing outside the brain. Successful candidates will work in one of two areas, depending on interest: Single sensillum recordings (SSRs) on olfactory receptors or behavioural experiments in a wind tunnel. They will be involved in the entire work from experimental design, practical experimentation, selection and execution of data analysis and, depending on interest, computational interpretation in models. You will work closely with Dr Mario Pannunzi, Prof Thomas Nowotny and Prof George Kemenes on this project.

Candidate Requirements

Candidates should have an MSc or equivalent in natural sciences, ideally in the area of Neuroscience, Physics, Chemistry or Biology. In addition, strong analytical skills and fluency in English are essential for this project. Interest and skills to work in a multi-disciplinary and extensively networked project are important. PhD Salary UK/EU fees and a living allowance in line with UK Research Council rates, currently £15,009 in 2019-20 and rising in line with inflation in future years.

Work environment

You will join the exciting interdisciplinary environment of Sussex Neuroscience and the Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics , within which you will work in the groups of Profs Nowotny and Kemenes. Colleagues in the groups work on diverse topics ranging from learning and memory in lymnaea stagnalis (pond snail) to the “Brains on Board project”, seeking to emulate bee brains as robotic controllers for navigation. The University of Sussex provides an extremely rich research environment and training opportunities for doctoral researchers. The University is situated in Downs National Park at the edge of the vibrant coastal city of Brighton, known for its cultural richness, tolerance and diversity. The city offers a multitude of cultural activities, a colourful nightlife and is only an hour on the train away from the metropole of London.

How to apply

Please apply through selecting “Neuroscience PhD” and Thomas Nowotny as the preferred supervisor. Please include a recent CV detailing your academic record and your research experience and a statement of motivation in your application. (At this stage you do not need to upload copies of your diplomas or letters of reference. These we will requested if we decide to further pursue your application.)

Further inquiries

Please contact: Dr. Mario Pannunzi, project co-supervisor, or Prof. Thomas Nowotny, project supervisor,

Application deadline

Application before 12 December 2019 will receive full consideration but the position will remain open for applications until filled.

You can also look at the University advert page for the positions.

2018-11-05: PhD studentships available

I am offering a PhD studentship within the Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship Programme "From Sensation and Perception to Awareness", hosted at the University of Sussex. Up to eight fully funded positions will be awarded (for UK/EU applicants), starting Sep 2019.

The aim of the programme is to bring together doctoral researchers from different disciplines to advance our understanding of the interactions between sensing, perception, and awareness in humans, animals, and machines. Applicants can select from a range of projects or propose their own. Have a look at our proposed project on the role of non-synaptic interactions in odour object recognition. For more details and for how to apply please see For more on the Programme please visit and follow us on Twitter @SensationSussex. Email enquries to Application deadline is 31 January 2019.

2018-01-23: Up to four PhD studentships available

There are up to four PhD studenships available related to my research and the Brains on Board project.

Possible topics might include:
  • Olfactory learning and decision making in Drosophila
  • Active learning in visual navigation
  • Swarm exploration: multi-robot visual navigation through insect-inspired strategies
  • Title: Bio-inspired devices for sensory augmentation and navigation
Please get in touch if you are interested and apply here: Sussex postgraduate admissions.

2017-06-28: Brian2GeNN v1.0 has been released

Today we released the first version of Brian2GeNN, the Brian 2 frontend for the GeNN simulator. There are many ways how to install, including anaconda (conda install -c brian-team brian2genn), pip, or from the zip or tar ball directly available at Github. The manual is hosted on ReadTheDocs.

Dynamic clamp software StdpC2017 has been released

We have released the latest version of our dynamic clamp software StdpC2017 with a number of exciting updates and improved capabilities. This includes an unlimited number of models that can be run and data sources that can be used, including fully simulated neuron models or small networks.

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Call Open

We are interested to host MSCA fellows in relevant areas if you are looking for a host organisation for your proposal, please get in touch. The deadline is 14 September, but preparing a proposal will take considerable time.

I will be speaking at BrightonSEO this year: 7 April, The Brighton Centre

BrightonSEO is a major conference on search engine optimization and this year they invited me along to give a talk on AI in the "inspirational" category. Details about BrightonSEO can be found on its website My slides are available as Nowotny-BrightonSEO-2017.pptx.

We are looking to support junior research associates (JRAs) this summer

In the framework of the new Brains on Board project, we are hoping to support JRAs this summer to join us for 8 weeks of research. We have colated a number of suggested topics.

We are also looking to support students for the Google summer of Code (GSoC) with another set of two suggested topics

20/01/2017 A postdoc position is available on the Odor Objects project

A post-doc position in Computational Neuroscience is available at the University of Sussex for 20 months to be filled as soon as possible. You will be joining the Odor Objects project, in which we are investigating how animals interpret the complex odor plumes of chemicals in the air to identify sources of odors and distinguish them.

Odor Objects is supported by the Human Frontiers Science Program and combines 4 international groups in Konstanz, Germany (physiology), Tempe, Arizona (behavior), Tokyo, Japan (robotics) and Brighton, UK (computational models).

If you are joining us at Sussex your work will involve computational modelling of brain networks and data analysis of related data from the experimental partners. Models will then be used to design bio-mimetic controllers which will be tested by our partners in Japan.

We are looking for a talented post-doc with an interest in computational work. Applicants from all science disciplines are welcome but essential skills are the ability to program, mathematical skills, e.g. to be able to apply dynamical systems analysis, and creative scientific thinking. The bulk of the work will be carried out on the beautiful Falmer campus of the University of Sussex at the outskirts of the lively South Coast town of Brighton.

As part of the project you will travel to the project partners worldwide. There are many opportunities for further interactions at Sussex beyond the project, e.g. with the Brains on Board project (BrainsOnBoard), and a wide variety of Neuroscience research in Sussex Neuroscience.

For more details and to apply, please go to the Sussex application site at

There is an initial closing date of 1 February 2017 but we will continue searching until the position is filled.


02/11/2016: Three new positions for Research fellows on the brains-on-board project

We are advertising three opening for research fellows on the new brain-on-board project, aiming to create robotic controllers that will enable autonomous robots with the navigational and learning abilities of a honeybee. The project involves five research groups at the University of Sheffield, Queen Mary University, London, and the University of Sussex.

Positions are available for bio-inspired robotics, Computational Neuroscience, and Computer Science (GPU accelerated computing).

Please find the details on the University of Sussex job ad where you will also find the instructions and links to apply. Do not hesitate to get in touch with any questions you may have.

Closing date: 1 December 2016. APPLY

01/09/2015: Studentship opportunities for the fall 2015 entry are now closed.

06/08/2015: Short-listed for IChemE Global awards

We have just been short-listed for the Global Awards of the Istitution of Chemical Engineers, category "Best research project 2015", based on our work on benchmarking Drosophila olfactory sensory neurons for real world applications.

31/03/2015: Human Frontiers Grant approved

Human Frontiers Science Programme grant "Odor-background segregation and source localization using fast olfactory processing" with partners Dr. Paul Szyszka (University of Konstanz, PI), Prof. Brian Smith (Arizona State University) and Prof. Ryohei Kanzaki (University of Tokyo).

31/03/2015: PhD studentship available on new Human Frontiers grant: Models of chemical sensing in complex environments.

Fall 2015 entry. Email me with expressions of interest. All details and how to apply: PhD Advert.

01/01/2015: New online software simulating ant behaviour

I have released today new software that simulates the trail following behaviours of ants on my outreach page. The software is intended to give an engaging introduction to the field of computational biology to a lay audience, including children.

22/12/2014: GeNN v2 released

The GeNN (GPU enhanced Neuronal Networks) software version 2.0 was released today. It has been the result of a major refactoring and many new features that make it even more flexible. The software can be downloaded from its GitHub page and more information is available on the GeNN homepage.

25/09/2014: Just published

T. Nowotny. Two challenges of correct validation in pattern recognition. Front. Robotics & AI 1: 5, DOI: 10.3389/frobt.2014.00005

18/03/2014: Marie Curie Individual Fellowship calls now open - Deadline 2014-09-11

Interested in joining our group, for example extending our work on honeybee neuroscience in the Green Brain project, or our sub-project on neuromorphic computing in the Human Brain project?
Consider applying for a Marie Curie fellowship with us. Please get in touch with me as soon as possible if you are interested. More details on the programme are on the Horizon 2020 Particpant Pages. Funding is available for EU researchers moving to the UK from a different UK member state or associated country (IEF scheme) or are coming from outside the UK (IIF scheme).

17/12/2013: 5 funded 4 year PhD studentships available in the new Sussex Neuroscience PhD programme for 2014 entry.

The studentships will be assigned in a competitive process. Students will complete 3 lab rotations before they select their eventual PhD advisor. Please contact me if you are interested and think you could submit a competitive application.
Details about the programme, offered topics, participating supervisors and the application process can be found on the official programme page. Use the items in the left hand menu to navigate the information pages.

17/12/2013: 6 funded PhD studentships available at the School of Engineering and Informatics for 2014 entry.

The studentships will be assigned in a competitive process. Prospective students can apply for a number of proposed projects or propose their own. Please contact me if you are interested and think you could submit a competitive application.
Futher details can be found on and on the local University of Sussex announcement page

04/10/2013: Short-term post-doc in neuromorphic computing for chemical sensing:

This is a 7 month position for the pilot grant "Fast electronic noses through spiking neuromorphic networks" within the efuturesXD initiative, starting 2 February 2014 . In this project we aim to enhance the detection speed and accuracy of electronic noses using GPU computing and spiking neuronal networks, as well as attempting a proof of concept for implementing these on neuromorphic hardware. For more details contact me directly and watch out for the official job advert to appear within a week from now.

14/06/2013: Two permanent positions available at Sussex:

The positions are in neural computation and machine learning within the School of Engineering of Informatics, Department of Informatics, see the job advert. The application deadline is JULY 11, 2013.

The School of Engineering and Informatics is investing for the future; a key element of that investment is in innovative people. We are in the process of advertising 15 posts in areas of strategic importance to the School. One such area is neural computation, machine learning, and their applications. We wish make two appointments in this area: one at Lecturer level and the other at Senior Lecturer/Reader level.

Position 1 is in neural computation. Applicants for this position should have a strong research record in some aspect of neural computation, including: computational neuroscience; neuroinformatics; neuro-centric biorobotics; and applications of neural computation in biology, cognitive science, or image processing.

Position 2 is in machine learning. Applicants for this position should have a strong research record in machine learning, with an interest in applying their research to problems in fields such as natural language processing, data mining and social media analysis.

The successful applicants will join the Evolutionary and Adaptive Systems Research Group or the Cognitive and Language Processing Systems Research Group, but will be expected to contribute to other related research activities in the School. These include multidisciplinary research centres including the Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics, the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, and the Centre for Research in Cognitive Science. See the Informatics research page for more details.

02/05/2013: NVIDIA training day at Sussex:

There will be a one day training event on 9 May 2013, 10:30 - 16:00. The event will cover after a general introduction to GPU computing, NVIDIA CUDA and OpenAcc, some concrete hands-on training in NVIDIA CUDA. The event is primarily aimed at faculty and students at Sussex but we may be able to accomodate some guests depending on interest and capacity. Please contact me by email if you are interested.

01/05/2013: The Project Website goes life:

The Green Brain Project Website is now live. You will find all up to date information on our progress and links to background information on this site.

10/03/2013: Project launched at Sussex:

The Green Brain Project has commenced at Sheffield and Sussex, led by Dr. Marshall at Sheffield and myself at Sussex. Our first goal will be to develop a GPU-accelerated model of the olfactory system of the bee with the help of Dr. Esin Yavuz

21/01/2013: Chancellor's International Research Scholarships:

Interested in pursuing a PhD at Sussex and not from the EU/UK? Consider applying for a Chancellor's Scholarship on the University admissions site . Or contact me directly. More details can be found on the University's information page.

19/09/2012: 3 Postdoc positions available

Three post-doctoral positions are available at Sussex (computational neuroscientist) and Sheffield (computational neuroscientist and roboticist) in the EPSRC-funded Green Brain project. Positions are for 3 years and with a salary range of 30,122 - 37012 according to relevant experience. For all details and to apply go to the Sussex Recruitment Site for the Sussex job and to the Sheffield Recruitment Site, references UOS005250, UOS005253. The closing dates are 14 Oct (Sussex) and 17 Oct (Sheffield). If you are interested i more than one of the positions, please apply on both site separately.

04/04/2012: Olfaction Workshop on the CNS*2012 Conference in Atlanta/Decatur

We are organising a workshop on "Examining the dynamic nature of neural representations with the olfactory system" on the CNS*2012 conference in Atlanta/Decatur on eith 25 or 26 July 2012. See the workshop page for details and the conference page for general information about the conference, travel and registration.

31/01/2012: Newton Fellowships of the Royal Society

The Royal Society/ British Academy Newton International Fellowships scheme has just opened. The Fellowships aim to attract the most promising early-career post-doctoral researchers from overseas in the fields of the humanities, the natural, physical and social sciences. The Fellowships enable researchers to work for two years at a UK research institution with the aim of fostering long-term international collaborations. If you would be interested to apply for a Fellowship with me at Sussex, please contact me by email at t.nowotny(at) More information is available on Deadline is Monday 16 April 2012.

31/01/2012: PhD studentships available

A PhD studentships are available in the Schools of Engineering and Informatics, see research scholarships in Engineering and Informatics, apply on the PG admissions site. Or write me an email at t.nowotny(at) for informal inquiries. The application deadline is the 14 February 2012.

01/12/2011: PhD studentship available

A PhD studentship is available in "Models of mixture coding and olfactory object recognition in honeybees". For details please refer to the official advertisment on Or write me an email at t.nowotny(at) The application deadline is the 31 January 2012.

09/06/2011: StdpC2010-2 released

A new version of the Dynamic Clamp StdpC has been released on 9 June 2011 with important bug fixes, in particular in the parameter dialog for HH conductances. Thanks to A. Szücs for pointing out this problem. Download the new version at . If you are interested in future bug fixes, please subscribe to the project's mailing list stdpc-users.

12/04/2011: GeNN (GPU enhanced Neural Network simulator) released

GeNN was released on 12 April 2011 on sourceforge. This is a software source library in C++ that allows to simulate neuronal networks on GPUs through a simple programming interface. Importantly, many different neuron types are supported and the library is extensible for new neuron types.

The software is functional but needs more testing. We have tentatively classififed it as pre-alpha.

The GeNN system will officially be launched on the CNS*2011 conference in Stockholm in July later this year. More public material will be available after that time. In the meantime we are looking for interested developers and testers. Please contact me directly or through the sourceforge website.