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Open Position

Open position's detailed data


Type: PhD Student
Name (ID): Ph.D Position in Low Level Mechanisms of Language Evolution (OP-20200228-104848)
Supervised by: Hervé Bourlard & Phil Garner


With the launch of a new 'NCCR Evolving Language' (, which involves nearly 40 different research groups from a large variety of disciplines across Switzerland, we seek to fill a PhD position.

Recently, Idiap has had some success in incorporating physiological processes into backpropagation-style neural architectures. This allows the processes to be trained in the context of the larger network whilst giving the network the capability to recognise and reproduce physiological functions in a natural manner.

In this project, we will apply this technique to the human cochlea and its interface with low level neural mechanisms. We are particularly interested in the efferent pathway from the low level neurological system back to the cochlea. This will allow us to investigate the resulting non-linear feedback relationship.

A-priori, we expect to uncover physiological analogues of the adaptation processes known to work well in speech technology. We also expect to better understand how auditory signals are encoded between the cochlea and auditory cortex.

The ideal Ph.D student should have a master (or equivalent) degree in engineering, computer science, physics or applied mathematics. Graduates of neuroscience programs would also be well qualified. S/he should have a good background in mathematics, statistics, and programming (C/C++, Python, scripting languages).

The student will be registered at EPFL and located at Idiap. The position is funded for four years. Selection will commence immediately with a view to starting in the fall of 2020; earlier is possible for Swiss and EU nationals.

The NCCR places great emphasis on gender diversity and we particularly encourage women to apply.

About Idiap:

Idiap is an independent, not-for-profit, research institute recognized and funded by the Swiss Federal Government, the State of Valais, and the City of Martigny.

Idiap offers competitive salaries and conditions at all levels in a young, high-quality, dynamic, and multicultural environment. Idiap is an equal opportunity employer and is actively involved in the "Advancement of Women in Science" European initiative. The Institute seeks to maintain a principle of open competition (on the basis of merit) to appoint the best candidate, provides equal opportunity for all candidates, and equally encourage both genders to apply.

Idiap is located in the town of Martigny in Valais, a scenic region in the south of Switzerland, surrounded by the highest mountains of Europe, and offering exceptional quality of life, exciting recreational activities, including hiking, climbing and skiing, as well as varied cultural activities. It is within close proximity to Lausanne and Geneva. Although Idiap is located in the French part of Switzerland, English is the official working language. Free French lessons are also provided on a complimentary basis.

For frequently asked questions (FAQs) about living in Switzerland, please go to

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