Course overview

Neuroscience has played an important role in the history of Artificial intelligence and Machine learning. Artificial neural networks are inspired by neuronal physiology and are today the core of Deep Learning. This common history continues today. Machine Learning methods are developed into tools that allow for a higher quality of data processing in the study of animal behavior and brain activity. Machine Learning is also used to model the brain as it can solve similar problems to what brains solve and the basic units of processing may be comparable.

The course gives a hands-on introduction to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and how it can be used for data acquisition, analysis and modeling brain activity and behavior. Experts in the field will teach the basics of Machine Learning and how to apply it to Neuroscience and will also discuss the limits of the field, and what are the boundaries of application and how Neuroscience and Psychology could inform new systems.

Course directors

Gonzalo de Polavieja

Course Director

Champalimaud Research, PT

Kristin Branson

Course Director

HHMI Janelia, USA

Il Memming Park

Course Director

Champalimaud Research, PT

Keynote Speakers & Instructors

The final list of speakers and instructors is not available yet.

Course content

Week1. It will provide students a solid background on the basics of Machine Learning. It will consist of morning lectures and evening hand-on labs to introduce the basics and cutting-edge Machine Learning tools. It will include Supervised, Unsupervised, Reinforcement, transfer and few-shot Learning, as well as cutting edge techniques like Transformers and Capsules, for example.

Week 2. It will show students how ML can be applied in Neuroscience. It will consist of morning lectures and evening hand-on labs on the existing tools in the analysis and modeling of brain activity and animal behavior. At the end of week 2, students will have an evening to discuss with directors and TAs their project for week 3.

Week 3. There will be students’ projects. The projects have the goal of applying what has been learned in the two weeks with data available for the course or using results that the students bring from their labs. The second goal consists in an exploration in the morning lectures of the future of the relationship between ML and Neuroscience as well as how this relation also allows relations with Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics

Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, Portugal

The Champalimaud Foundation is a private, non-profit organization, established in 2005 and dedicated to research excellence in biomedical science. Completed in 2010, the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown is a state-of-the-art centre that houses the Champalimaud Clinical Centre and the Champalimaud Research, with its three parallel programs – the Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme, the Physiology and Cancer Programme, and the Experimental Clinical Research Programme.
Initially focused on a system and circuit approach to brain function and behavior, the Centre expanded to incorporate molecular and cell biological expertise. The Centre comprises 26 research groups (circa 400 researchers) leading independent curiosity-based research.

The Centre provides Facilities dedicated for Training, some in their entirety, for use by the CAJAL Advanced Neuroscience Training Programme. These include the Teaching Laboratory, a fully equipped open lab space for 20-30 students that can be dynamically reconfigured to support a full range of neuroscience courses. It also overlooks, via floor to ceiling windows, a tropical garden and the river. The experimental spaces include: Imaging Lab: A dark-room containing a full size optical table is used for advanced imaging setups (two-photon microscopy, SPIM, etc.) and custom (course-designed) optical systems.


Fee : 3.950 € (includes tuition fee, accommodation and meals)

Application are not opened yet

The CAJAL programme offers 4 stipends per course (waived registration fee, not including travel expenses). Please apply through the course online application form. In order to identify candidates in real need of a stipend, any grant applicant is encouraged to first request funds from their lab, institution or government.

Kindly note that if you benefited from a Cajal stipend in the past, you are no longer eligible to receive this kind of funding. However other types of funding (such as partial travel grants from sponsors) might be made available after the participants selection pro- cess, depending on the course.