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Informatics: ANC: Machine Learning, Computational Neuroscience, Computational Biology (MScR)

Course Description

Research profile

The Institute for Adaptive and Neural Computation (IANC) is a world-leading institute dedicated to the theoretical and empirical study of adaptive processes in both artificial and biological systems. We are one of the UK’s largest and most prestigious academic teams in these fields.

We foster world-class interdisciplinary and collaborative research bringing together a range of disciplines.

Our research falls into three areas:

-machine learning
-computational neuroscience
-computational biology

In machine learning we develop probabilistic methods that find patterns and structure in data, and apply them to scientific and technological problems. Applications include areas as diverse as astronomy, health sciences and computing.

In computational neuroscience and neuroinformatics we study how the brain processes information, and analyse and interpret data from neuroscientific experiments

The focus in the computational biology area is to develop computational strategies to store, analyse and model a variety of biological data (from protein measurements to insect behavioural data).

Training and support

You carry out your research within a research group under the guidance of a supervisor. You will be expected to attend seminars and meetings of relevant research groups and may also attend lectures that are relevant to your research topic. Periodic reviews of your progress will be conducted to assist with research planning.

A programme of transferable skills courses facilitates broader professional development in a wide range of topics, from writing and presentation skills to entrepreneurship and career strategies.

The School of Informatics holds a Silver Athena SWAN award, in recognition of our commitment to advance the representation of women in science, mathematics, engineering and technology. The School is deploying a range of strategies to help female staff and students of all stages in their careers and we seek regular feedback from our research community on our performance.


The award-winning Informatics Forum is an international research facility for computing and related areas. It houses more than 400 research staff and students, providing office, meeting and social spaces.

It also contains two robotics labs, an instrumented multimedia room, eye-tracking and motion capture systems, and a full recording studio amongst other research facilities. Its spectacular atrium plays host to many events, from industry showcases and student hackathons to major research conferences.

Nearby teaching facilities include computer and teaching labs with more than 250 machines, 24-hour access to IT facilities for students, and comprehensive support provided by dedicated computing staff.

Among our entrepreneurial initiatives is Informatics Ventures, set up in 2008 to support globally ambitious software companies in Scotland and nurture a technology cluster to rival Boston, Pittsburgh, Kyoto and Silicon Valley.

Career opportunities

The research you will undertake at IANC is perfectly suited to a career in academia, where you’ll be able to use your knowledge to advance this important field. Some graduates take their skills into commercial research posts, and find success in creating systems that can be used in everyday applications.

Visit the Informatics: ANC: Machine Learning, Computational Neuroscience, Computational Biology (MScR) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

Entry Requirements

A UK 2:1 degree, or its international equivalent, typically in an area of Informatics, such as artificial intelligence, cognitive science or computer science. You may also be considered if your degree is in one of the following areas: engineering, linguistics, mathematics, philosophy, physics or psychology. You will need to have experience in computer programming. IANC researchers come from many different academic backgrounds but most of our research requires prior training in mathematics.

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