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Study life

Researcher Training

Researcher Training

The Master of Science (MSc) in Neuroscience at NTNU provides an in-depth study of brain structure and -function, reaching from the molecular to systems level. A central aim for students is to understand how neural systems may contribute to sensory experiences, thoughts, emotions and behaviour, and learn to adopt experimental methods to gain new knowledge in the field.

The MSc in Neuroscience is a two-year, full-time programme. The teaching includes lectures, laboratory work/demonstrations and supervised project work. The language of instruction is English. Both Norwegian and international students are welcome to apply for a seat.

The Medical Student's Research Programme is a national research education and grant scheme for medical students who wish to carry out research in parallel with their studies. The Medical Student's Research Programme is offered to a group of the medical students (10%), who are interested in medical research, and willing to do research besides their studies.

The students in the programme follow the ordinary medical study. In addition to this, they achieve an organized research education and get to perform their own research activity, which might be the beginning of a PhD.

The students are affiliated in the programme after the second or third year of their medical study. To be a student at the MSRP involves that their regulated medical study syllabus will be prolonged by one year, from 6 to 7 years. The students are affiliated at the research programme for 4,5 years. In two semesters and two summers they are full time researchers, the rest of the time period they are part time researchers. Fulfilled MSRP will give a total of 120 ECTS, in addition to the ordinary study. Many of these students will subsequently enter a fast-track PhD program which takes an additional 2 years. At the institute we have had 2 programme students defending their PhD theses. 


The objective of the Neuroscience PhD Programme is to provide theoretical and methodological training in neuroscience research and to contribute to increased understanding about basic biological principles for neural structure and activity and their importance for movement, sensory and autonomic functions, emotions, behaviour and cognitive processes in animals and human beings. Studies of normal function as well as elucidation of mechanisms for neurological and psychiatric illnesses are relevant. Through own research the students will learn to formulate and solve scientific questions and at the same time they will acquire basic skills and methods in parts of neuroscience. 

PhD candidates receive supervision from their principal investigator as well as from a relevant co-supervisor, either within or externally of the institute. They present at internal journal clubs, data clubs and are encouraged to submit abstract and present poster at national and international conferences. Some PhD students co-supervise MSC students.

The Norwegian Research School in Neuroscience (NRSN) is an initiative aimed to bring together the research training expertise in the field of neuroscience from NTNU, University of Oslo, University of Bergen and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. NRSN aims to add UIT as partner in 2017.

By combining the specific expertise of the participating institutions, the NRSN aims to facilitate the PhD research training that will enable the next generation of Norwegian-trained neuroscientists to face the great challenges and opportunities in the field.

The NRSN is funded by the Norwegian Research Council, with an annual budget of around 3 Mill NOK. The NRSN board is composed of representatives from all partner institutions. The daily management is hosted by the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, NTNU, and the scientific director is a Principal Investigator at the institute.

The NRSN organize a weeklong summer school each year at various locations in Norway. These are intensive events that combine theoretical and hands-on activities. The summer school in 2016 was hosted at the institute and was considered a great success with very positive feedback from the participants. One of the summer schools in 2017 will again be hosted by the institute. 

Post-doctoral researchers are employed at the institute based on either writing a proposal for projects relevant for already funded research projects, or by applying for funding themselves within their research group. Access to infrastructure such as the national infrastructure scheme NORBRAIN (equipment), administrative and technical help is provided. Our post-docs are fully integrated within the institute and they receive supervision from their principal investigator as well as from a relevant co-supervisor, either within or externally of the institute. They present at internal journal clubs, data clubs and are encouraged to submit abstract and present poster at international conferences. Abroad stay and collaboration is highly encouraged and supported. Some will co-supervise PhD students or MSc students as part of their responsibilities.

There are currently ten research groups at the institute with in total eleven Principal Investigators. It is a requirement that new principal investigators have at least one mentor in the start-phase to give advice and support in the next step of their career. Young Principal Investigators now receive two mentors, one internal, familiar with the Norwegian university system, and one external.

Our alumni of trained researchers who have spent time and effort at the institute tells us we are succeeding in our ambition of being a nurturing and developing nest for young minds to grow and expand their work-environment to stay international. The institute recruits independently of nationality or origin. Since CNC’s inauguration in 2013 we have had more than 30 different nationalities represented among employee staff. For a given period, the international researcher is located in Trondheim, side by side with other internationals, learning, developing and exploring, before returning home, continuing their research careers as PhDs, post-doctors, or researchers, or even forming their own research group and becoming principal investigators.

Numerous PhD students and postdocs of CNC and its predecessor, the Centre for the Biology of Memory (2002-12), have achieved faculty and group leader positions at internationally well-recognized universities and institutes such as Stanford University, University of California in San Diego, University of California at Irvine, University of Texas at Austin, the Max Planck for Brain Research in Frankfurt, and the University of Oslo, among others. 

Master studies

Master studies

Mussie Debesai
Telephone: +47 73 59 82 66