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SMARTSTART 1 students will widen their academic horizon by exploring the full breadth of Computational Neuroscience research opportunities. During the one-year program, the students are encouraged to complement their studies by attending additional lectures and courses that are offered by any of the participating institutions, tailored to their individual needs. An experienced faculty mentor will advise and guide the students in the selection of these courses.

Training visits

SMARTSTART 1 students will be offered the possibility to carry out training visits (e.g. lab rotations, block courses, summer schools) at participating institutions to  learn new methods and techniques. Students will receive financial support for accomodation and travel.

Kick-off Meeting

The annual kick-off meeting is held in association with the Bernstein Conference, giving SMARTSTART students the opportunity to attend the largest annual Computational Neuroscience conference in Europe.

During the kick-off meeting you will meet fellow students, program coordinators and faculty  members. The program is complemented by a scientific writing workshop to prepare the participants for publishing their research.

At the subsequent Bernstein Conference participants have the opportunity to meet members of the Faculty and the Bernstein Network as well as alumni of the SMARTSTART program. There will be ample space for informal discussions facilitating the establishment of a professional network.

Student Retreat

Towards the end of the one-year SMARTSTART program, the students come together for a weekend to present and discuss the results of their projects, as well as to engage in informal discussion and joint extra-curricular activities. This event is organized by the SMARTSTART students themselves with support from the coordination office.


Find out more on the application process and how to prepare your application here.



Smart Start 1 Students 2018/2019


Alana Darcher LMU Munich
Jahangir Esfandiari University of Magdeburg
Stephan Goerttler University of Heidelberg
David Hain University of Frankfurt
Helen Theresa Heinermann Jade Hochschule of Applied Sciences Oldenburg
Taliana Herera FU Berlin
Maike Holler University of Bremen
Tianlin Liu Jacobs University Bremen
Flavia Nährlich University of Tübingen
Elisa Pavarino Technical University of Munich
Judith Schepers University of Tübingen
Laura State University of Tübingen
Nelly von Puttkamer University of Bremen
Shuchen Wu ETH Zurich



Smart Start 1 Students 2017/2018

Nicolas Berberich Technical University of Munich
Dominic Gonschorek University of Oldenburg
Aram Grigoryan University of Bonn
Jan Hendrik Kirchner University of Freiburg
Sandra Kohl University of Freiburg
Christoph Miehl University of Frankfurt
Gerion Nabbefeld RWTH Aachen
Sebastian Onasch University of Frankfurt
Lisa Schmors University of Oldenburg
Steffen Schneider Technical University of Munich
Sigrid Trägenap University of Frankfurt
Ardhendu Shekhar
KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm
Varsha Vasudevan University of Frankfurt
Hakan Yilmaz University of Freiburg


Smart Start 1 Students 2016/2017

Jan Bölts

Humboldt University Berlin

Richard Gast

University of Osnabrück

Xu He

Jacobs University Bremen

Julian Hinz

University of Tübingen

Bo Hu

University of Heidelberg

Alona Kharchenko

Technical University of Munich

Ann-Kathrin Kießner

University of Freiburg

Pranav Mamidanna

KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm

Virginia Palieri

LMU Munich

Arne Pelzer

University of Oldenburg

Simon Renner

University of Bremen

Maik Schünemann

University of Bremen

Alex Schwarz

Technical University of Chemnitz

Karolina Stosio

Technical University of Berlin