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Seeking the best brains

Rao (seated) during a discussion with research students.Credit: Chinese Institute for Brain Research, Beijing

“We are looking for highly talented, self-motivated, innovative, and enthusiastic scientists who will lead labs and demonstrate a creative, interdisciplinary approach towards any area of neuroscience or brain-inspired computing,” says Yi Rao, co-director of The Chinese Institute for Brain Research (CIBR).

CIBR was established in 2018 under the guidance of the China Brain Initiative and Beijing Brain Initiative by the Beijing Municipal Government and seven institutions in Beijing to drive interdisciplinary advances in neuroscience and brain-inspired computation and to transform discoveries into clinical solutions. It is governed by a board of trustees, along with Rao and Minmin Luo as co-directors.

The institute supports independent research which promises major long-term impact through a series of pioneering management practices, including a new funding plan which removes the need for frequent grant applications and instead uses an international peer-review process to appoint and promote tenure track staff.

In March 2021, on the eve of their third anniversary, CIBR introduced the Junior Faculty Mentoring Program to provide scientists under 40, of all ranks from research fellows to facility directors, with expanded opportunities for growth. The programme, matching junior with senior faculty, covers intellectual development, research environment, academic networking, and leadership training. This idea to support young researchers emerged from CIBR’s 2020 Beijing Brain Conference, which attracted more than one million virtual participants from around the world.

Some examples of CIBR’s cutting-edge research include Carlos Ibanez’s work on growth factor receptor signalling in the nervous system and metabolism; Magdalena Koziol’s examination of epigenetics in brain disease; Yunzhe Liu and Zaixu Cui’s utilization of theory-driven computational modelling and brain-inspired computing tools to investigate functional networks; and investigations of the circuit mechanism underlying stress-emotion, social behaviour and homeostatic regulation of body temperature, undertaken by Wenzhi Sun, Ying Li, and Tongfei Wang, respectively.

The institute is seeking highly qualified international scientists, regardless of age, gender, nationality, or ethnicity. “They will be expected to drive sustainable collaboration for CIBR faculty research programmes, while demonstrating a commitment to the promotion of diverse ideas and voices within our research community,” says Rao.

Fulfilling a grand vision

CIBR is set to complete its second phase of construction this year. Situated in the Beijing Zhongguancun Life Science Park, it will feature:

24 labs:

Including four led by non-Chinese scientists, and another four by research fellows

An extensive network:

Joint research programmes with top Chinese institutions, hospitals, as well as biotech and pharmaceutical companies; joint graduate and postdoctoral programmes with top universities including Peking University and Tsinghua University

10 established core facilities:

Customized facilities for cutting-edge biomedical and computational research

Within five years:

50 internationally-selected PIs, along with more than 1,000 researchers, and world-class facilities in a 60,000 m2 research space

Contact details:

Phone: +86-18801013744




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