Biomedicine and Molecular Biosciences COST Action BM0605
CATIA - Consciousness : A Transdisciplinary, Integrated Approach

Short-term scientific missions (STSM)

CATIA COST Action BM0605 invites applications for its short-term scientific missions. The scheme permits young scientists to travel to another laboratory for a period of between five days and three months, for the purpose of learning new methods and fostering collaborations.

The organiser is Prof. Patrick Haggard.

Candidates should ideally be postgraduate students studying for a higher research degree, such as MPhil, MSc or PhD, or junior postdoctoral workers. Senior postdoctoral workers under the age of 40 will also be considered. Applicants should either come from, or intend to work in, a lab affiliated with this COST action.

The maximum amount available for each STSM is €3500.

Call open: 1st May 2008 - Application deadline: Proposals will be accepted at any time, up until the termination of this COST action (2011) as long as funds have not been exhausted, for STSMs starting at least two months after the date of application.

All proposals must relate clearly to the goal of achieving a scientific understanding of consciousness. Applicants should contact the P.I. of a participating lab and agree their willingness to act as host for the project before making a formal application. Preference will be given to applications where both the applicant's lab and the host lab are COST action members.

The following additional criteria will be used when evaluating proposals:

  1. Applicant's academic track record and history of achievements.**
  2. Scientific merit of proposed work.
  3. Suitability and resources of the host.
  4. Feasibility of the project within the proposed timescale.
  5. Value of methodological expertise gained through training.
  6. Complementarity, including interdisciplinarity, of the applicant-host match.

** Note that the scheme is aimed at young scientists (i.e. postgraduate students and junior post-docs). Applicant will be judged relative to their career stage.

Application Procedure : Applicants should carefully follow the procedure in Annex A of the COST STSM vademecum. This file should be downloaded and attached to an email which should be sent to both the future host, and the STSM coordinator (Professor Patrick Haggard). You will receive confirmation of the assessment panel's decision within six weeks of applying.
In addition to the required COST admin file, applicants are requested to attach two further documents in their email to Professor Haggard:
1. A short (two-sided) CV, including a list of publications and papers in press.
2. A 500-word overview of their project, including duration and estimated costs.

Members of the Assessment Panel :
Prof. Patrick Haggard (ICN, UCL, London, U.K.)
Dr Frédérique de Vignemont (Institut Jean Nicod, Paris, France)
Dr Kielan Yarrow (City University, London, U.K.).


Open positions

3yr post-doctoral position at Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, University of Sussex
Research area: cognitive/computational neuroscience relevant to consciousness (integrating functional neuroimaging, behavioural experiments, and computational modelling and analysis).
For more information contact Anil Seth Tel +44 1273 678549 or see  
A second 3yr position with a more clinical focus will shortly be available in the same centre.

Research areas of partners

Axel Cleeremans
Consciousness, Cognition & Computation Group, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
CO3 is focused on conducting fundamental research on the differences between conscious and unconscious information processing in the different domains in which the distinction is relevant: Learning and memory (implicit learning , hypnosis), action, vision (change blindness and implicit change detection), or decision making. The lab explores these issues through different methods ranging from experimentation to brain imaging, from computational modeling to psychophysical methods. It develops research in different populations involving normal and disordered participants (e.g. amnesic and blindsight patients, pathological gamblers), children and the elderly. The lab is equipped or has access to functional imaging facilities (3T fMRI, EEG and MEG), to eyetracking equipment, and to multisubject testing facilities. We welcome undergraduate, graduate and post-doc fellows for Short Scientific Missions.

Erik Myin
Centre for Philosophical Psychology, University of Antwerp, Belgium
Philosophical Psychology, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Cognitive Science. Issues in these areas, including the problem of (phenomenal) consciousness, are approached from both analytic and phenomenological perspectives, often within the contemporary theoretical framework provided by the situated cognition movement and especially sensorimotor approaches to perception, and often in an interdisciplinary spirit. We welcome undergraduate, graduate and post-doc fellows for Short Scientific Missions. These could be scientists with an interest in interdisciplinary collaboration with philosophers, but of course philosophers are welcome as well.

Steven Laureys
Coma Science Group, University of Liège, Belgium
Our team assesses the recovery of neurological disability and of neuronal plasticity in severely brain damaged patients with altered states of consciousness by means of multimodal functional neuroimaging It aims at characterizing the brain structure and the residual cerebral function in patients who survive a severe brain injury: patients in coma, vegetative state, minimally conscious state and locked in syndrome. Our research confronts clinical expertise and bedside behavioral evaluation of altered states of consciousness with state-of-the-art multimodal imaging combining the information from positron emission tomography (PET), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), structural MRI, electroencephalography (EEG) and event related potential (ERP) data. We welcome undergraduate, graduate and post-doc fellows for Short Scientific Missions.

Talis Bachmann
Perception and Consciousness Group, University of Tartu and ECBHC, Tartu/Tallinn, Estonia
Neural correlates of (primarily visual) consciousness, attention, object and face perception and forensic aspects of psychophysiology and neuroscience. Paradigms : masking, selective attention, crowding, flash-lag, microgenesis of conscious experience. Methods: computer-controlled psychophysical experiments with on-line registration of responses, EEG/ERP, high-precision MRI based neuronavigation of TMS (including EEG effects brought about by TMS). We welcome undergraduate, graduate and post-doc fellows for Short Scientific Missions.

Fabio Babiloni
High-Resolution EEG Laboratories, University of Rome "Sapienza", Italy

High-resolution EEG, brain-computer interface, cognitive behaviour and brain activity. Welcomes Short Term Scientific Missions.

Rita Formisano
Post-Coma Unit, Santa Lucia Foundation, Rome, Italy
Evaluation, rehabilitation, quality of life and translational clinical research of severe brain injury patients with disturbances of consciousness. Dr. Formisano (Neurologist, PhD in Neurobiology) is the director of Post-Coma Unit and is involved in several national and international protocols and multicentre studies on severe brain injury patients. She is the coordinator of Italian Scientific Societies of Neurological Rehabilitation and Neurotraumatology and ordinary member of International Societies, such as European Brain Injury Society (EBRIS), European Federation of Neurological Society (EFNS) and International Brain Injury Association (IBIA). At present she is the national coordinator of the international study group on QOLIBRI (Quality of Life of Brain Injury) and she is collaborating in a NIH funded project on biomarkers in severe brain injury patients with DOC together with the University of Florida and Banyan Biomarkers Company (Kevin Wang and Ron Hayes).

Ljupco Kocarev and Silvana Markovska-Simoska
Division of Bioinformatics, ICEIM, Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Macedonia
Examining the correlation between the brain electric oscillations and the mental state indexes as quantitative indicators of different cognitive and behavioral disorders. Exploring the specific role of mental arousal, as a background state of consciousness related to short-range long-time neuronal activations, including application of spectrum-weighted frequency (brain-rate), as arousal indicator and neurofeedback parameter. Investigating the mechanism and properties of synchronization in mutually coupled periodic and/or chaotic oscillators within networks with different topologies and forms of clustering and defining the main features that characterize neuronal synchronization.
We welcome undergraduate, graduate and post-doc fellows for Short Term Scientific Missions.

Patrick Haggard
Motor Control Group, UCL, London, UK
Sensorimotor experience, self-consciousness, neural correlates. Welcomes Short Term Scientific Missions.


Research objectives

The main objective of the Action is to increase the understanding of:

  1. the defining features,
  2. the behavioural markers,
  3. the computational principles, and
  4. the neural mechanisms associated with conscious experience in humans and animals, and to identify the clinical, societal, and ethical implications of such findings.

Secondary Objectives

  1. To contribute to the understanding assessment, and treatment of disorders of consciousness, including coma, minimally conscious state, and vegetative state conditions, and certain psychiatric diseases (e.g., schizophrenia)
  2. To promote the emergence of a consensus on the definition of consciousness
  3. To improve both behavioural and brain imaging methods used to explore differences between conscious and unconscious information processing
  4. To improve the design of educational curricula based on current neuroscientific knowledge
  5. To translate neuroscientific knowledge about subjective experience to fields where it can provide wide human benefit, such as education or mental health care.

Research deliverables

Relevant deliverables resulting from the Action include (1) scholarly publications in leading journals, (2) prospective foresight documents from Working Group Meetings, Conferences, and Training School proceedings, (3) high-level training opportunities for junior scientists.