FAQ NeuralStorm

What is the NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) program?

  • The NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) is a program funded by the National Science Foundation, dedicated to effective training of STEM graduate students in high priority interdisciplinary or convergent research areas.

What is the NRT training program NeuralStorm: Taking Neuroengineering by Storm?

  • NeuralStorm: Taking Neuroengineering by Storm is funded by the NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) grant at UC Davis. Graduate students from the general areas of computer science, psychology, engineering, or neuroscience are encouraged to apply. The NeuralStorm program will provide opportunities for students to acquire skills in team science, scientific communication, neuroscience, engineering, data analytics, machine learning, and medicine. The goal is to enable students to strengthen their domain expertise while contributing to solving cross-disciplinary challenges in neuroengineering and broadening their professional development.

Where can I find out more information about neuroengineering research at UC Davis?

Who can apply to the NeuralStorm training program?

  • Graduate students who completed or are in process of completing their first year in a PhD program at UC Davis and plan to continue their studies in neuroengineering are eligible to apply for a NeuralStorm fellowship and if selected, become a NeuralStorm fellow.
  • MS students, 1st year students (who will be eligible for fellowships in their second year), students beyond their second year, and those who are not selected for a fellowship can register to become NSF NeuralStorm trainees.
  • All students interested in NeuralStorm need to fill out the form available here.

What are the benefits of becoming a NeuralStorm fellow?

  • Graduate students selected as NeuralStorm fellows will participate in unique research and education experiences organized by the NeuralStorm training program.
  • Students can apply the knowledge and skills they acquire to their PhD dissertation work.
  • The completion of the program requirements may allow PhD students to obtain a Designated Emphasis in Neuroengineering.
  • NeuralStorm fellows will also receive an annual stipend anticipated to be around $35,000 (2023 numbers), a small allowance for research and training expenses, funding to attend one conference, and the expected tuition and fees for one year.

What are the benefits of becoming a NeuralStorm trainee?

  • Graduate students who apply/register to become NeuralStorm trainees will participate in many of the same research and education experiences organized by the NeuralStorm training program as the NeuralStorm fellows.
  • Students can apply the knowledge and skills they acquire to their graduate studies.
  • The completion of the program requirements may allow PhD students to obtain a Designated Emphasis in Neuroengineering.

What are the required activities for NeuralStorm fellows?

  1. A concept survey to evaluate disciplinary background
  2. NeuralStorm Technical Orientation intended to introduce students to graduate school life, program requirements, concepts of rigor, reproducibility and responsible conduct of research plus an introduction to basics of computer science, neuroscience and engineering as they relate to neuroengineering (3 days, September)
  3. Two graduate courses*:
    • ECE 289L¥: Introduction to Neuroengineering (4 units, 1 quarter)
    • BIM 280: Data Analytics and Machine Learning for Neural Data (4 units, 1 quarter).
  4. Neuroengineering Journal Club*¥ (minimum one quarter)
  5. Seminar Plus Program¥ - read select papers from that month’s Neuroengineering Seminar Speaker prior to the seminar and contribute to a 2-hour discussion the Monday before the seminar. Attend the seminar. Make every effort to attend the group lunch with the seminar speaker (minimum 6x per year).
  6. Monthly Neuroengineering Lunch and Learn meetings* (minimum 6x per year) to discuss your ongoing research with peers and receive feedback.
  7. An Individual Development Plan (IDP)* completed with your major professor and NeuralStorm mentors.

*Prior participation counts towards the program requirements.

¥Students who complete these parts of the program may receive a Designated Emphasis (DE) in Neuroengineering on their diplomas.

What are the requirements for the major professors of students selected for the NeuralStorm fellowship?

* If you have already completed these requirements within the last 5 years, we will provide an upload portal for your certificate of completion.

What are the activities recommended to the NeuralStorm trainees?

  • Activities listed at #2 through #6 above are highly recommended for the NeuralStorm trainees. As above: ¥Students enrolled in a PhD program who complete these parts of the program may receive a Designated Emphasis (DE) in Neuroengineering on their diplomas.

Can international students be NeuralStorm trainees?

  • International students can be NeuralStorm trainees and participate in relevant NeuralStorm activities as listed above. However, NRT stipends plus customary costs of education for stipend-supported fellows and trainees are restricted to U.S. citizens, nationals, and permanent residents.

I'm interested in applying to graduate studies at UC Davis to study neuroengineering and in applying to the NeuralStorm program. Where should I begin?

I'm interested in applying to UC Davis but my major professor (or prospective major professor) isn't listed as a NE&M faculty on the Center for Neuroengineering & Medicine website. Can I still apply?

  • NeuralStorm will consider applications from students who plan to work in neuroengineering with non-NE&M faculty, but the advisor/mentor (or one of the advisors/mentors if a team) will need to be approved by the NeuralStorm admissions committee and the Executive Committee before the program can appoint the student. Interested faculty should contact Andrew X. Stewart, PhD, NeuralStorm Program Coordinator, axstewart@ucdavis.edu.

I'm applying to a graduate group/program that's not listed on the website. Can I still apply?

  • Yes, as long as your research/dissertation project is related to neuroengineering. Applicants from other graduate groups/programs than those listed will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please use this link if you need to send us questions: https://neuroengineering.ucdavis.edu/contact .

What’s the next application period for applying to the NeuralStorm program for a fellowship?

  • The application period to apply for the 2023-2024 academic year fellowship is March 22 - April 21, 2023.

What’s the application/registration period for applying to the NeuralStorm program as a trainee?

  • Graduate students may apply/register to become trainees throughout the year. The expectation is that each trainee makes every effort to attend most applicable NRT activities for at least one year.

I'm applying for an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (or another fellowship). Can I hold that and an NRT fellowship?

  • Yes, if you take the funding in consecutive years.

Am I allowed to serve as a TA and get funding from the NRT in the same quarter?

  • No.

Can anyone interested take NeuralStorm courses?

  • Yes, given that they meet the individual courses’ prerequisites and/or with the instructor’s approval. Course information is available here.

I'm a postdoc. Can I get involved in NeuralStorm?

  • You certainly can audit courses, provided that space is available, and attend the annual research symposium. Attendance in other training elements will be prioritized for fellows and trainees, with additional participants added if space is available.

I'm a postdoc. Can I get funding through NeuralStorm?

  • We're sorry but the NRT program does not include funding for postdocs.