ITN Marie Curie network ’PACE’

1. PACE : a network for understanding Perception and Action in Complex Environments

PACE (Perception and Action in Complex Environments) is an Innovative Training Network funded by the Marie Skodowska-Curie program of the European Union. The network involves 10 academic and private full partners, from 7 European and Associated countries and 4 private companies as associated partners. The network gathers a broad range of expertise from experimental psychology, cognitive neurosciences, brain imaging, technology and clinical sciences.

The PACE network promotes interdisciplinary research and training in the field of human movement sciences with a strong emphasis on perception-action coupling in complex environments and its changes across lifespan and in pathological diseases affecting the nervous system. The goal is to train PhD students through collaborative research projects, international courses and workshops.

PACE starts on April 1st for a duration of 4 years. Starting September 2015, 15 PhD students are funded for 36 months by the European Union. The recruitment period is open until May 2015.

2. Scientific and Training objectives

State-of-art research on sensorimotor control

The scientific challenge of PACE is twofold. First, we aim at better understanding the dynamic link between the efficient processing of complex perceptual inputs and the adaptive control of motor behavior. PACE will push forward our understanding of sensorimotor transformations by (i) investigating how the brain represents and integrates complex cognitive information (including predictive cues, complex temporal dynamics and multiple sensory modalities) for motor control and (ii) analysing how humans adapt their visuomotor behaviour to naturalistic, dynamical environments. These experiments go well beyond classical approaches or laboratory-based experiments in impoverished contexts.

Improving rehabilitation strategies for sensory and motor disabilities

Such basic science approach is highly significant when one considers the second challenge of PACE. In close interactions with our private and clinical partners, we set an interdisciplinary framework for using state-of-the-art imaging, virtual reality and robotic technologies for investigating human movements and its plasticity in normal and pathological conditions.

These two complementary approaches - basic research and applied technologies - will have a major impact in improving pathology assessment and rehabilitation techniques for both sensory and motor-disabled patients.

Although different motor systems will be considered, a particular emphasis of PACE is on eye-hand coordination and goal-directed arm/hand movements, first as they embed complex sensory and motor processing and second, as these represent a major challenge in rehabilitation medicine, an aspect that has been largely overlooked until now.

Interdisciplinary and intersectorial training in the field of Human Mouvement Sciences. The training objectives of PACE is to provide young researchers with broad technical research skills and in-depth scientific knowledge through international training courses and scientific workshops. Our goal is also to breed a new generation of scientists aware of the emerging needs and challenges of the European society related to its ageing population, as well as of its duty to better integrate disabled patients.

PACE training program includes (i) interdisciplany theoretical and experimental training through mandatory secondment(s) at another PACE partner for each PhD student, (ii) an ambitious program of courses and scientific workshops, (iii) the exposure to general research kills (Ethics, scientific communication) and transferable abilities that are crucial for developing a career in the academic or the private sectors.

3. The Network

The PACE core network involves 11 research groups, from 10 different research institutions and one private partner. These core partners are disseminated across 6 countries (France, Italy, UK, Netherlands, Israel, Spain).

  • Institut de Neurosciences de la Timone, CNRS & AMU,Marseille, France
  • Laboratoire des Systèmes Perceptifs, CNRS & ENS, Paris, France
  • Robotics, Brain and Cognition, IIT, Genova, Italy
  • Welcome Trust Center for NeuroImaging, UCL, London, UK
  • Department of Psychology, UB, Barcelona, Spain
  • Department of Biomedical Engineering, BGU, Negev, Israël
  • Faculty of Human Movement Sciences, VU, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Department of Psychology, UD, Durham, UK
  • Centre for Advanced Technologies in Rehabilitation, Sheba Med Ctrs, Israël
  • Perceptual and Cognitive Systems, TNO, Delft, Netherlands
  • Motek Medical, Amsterdam, Netherlands

4 private and 1 institutional partners, from Europe and Canada are associated partners to provide intersectorial training and transfer of knowledge.

  • ° Mind’s Eye Research, UK
  • ° TechnoConcept, France
  • ° BKIN, Canada
  • ° Innovatice Communication in Science, Trieste, Italy
  • ° Aldebaran Robotics, France

4. Description of the PhD research projects

The PACE network opens 15 PhD positions to complete a PhD research project in 3 years at one of the core partner site. These positions are funded by the Marie Skodowska-Curie program of the H2020 European Union program.

Descriptions of the positions could be found in the pdf below

Eligibility :

Applicants must hold a Master Degree in Neurosciences or Psychology, or equivalent. Application from students with a background in Physics, Applied Mathematics, Computer Sciences and willing to shift towards neurosciences are encouraged. Under-graduate students from Medicine are also encouraged to apply. Background requirements can vary between the different training sites, depending on the research topic and therefore potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact each PhD supervisor for further information.

Conditions of Mobility of Early-Stage Researchers : Applicants can be of any nationality. They must comply with the rule for mobility and are normally required to undertake trans-national mobility (i.e. move from one country to another) when taking up their appointment. At the time of recruitment by the host organisation, students must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc) in the country of their host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the reference date.

5. Contacts

We ask the applicant to select two of the proposed research project, ranking them by order of preference and explaining this selection in the lettre of motivation.

Applicants must send a full application file (full CV, a letter of motivation, 2 reference names) to the PACE central office and the supervisors the two selected research projects.

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