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Graduate Program

NRT-DESE: Graduate Training in Data-Enabled Research into Human Behavior and its Cognitive and Neural Mechanisms

Our National Science Foundation Research Traineeship Data-Enabled Science and Engineering (NRT-DESE) award for Graduate Training in Data-Enabled Research into Human Behavior and its Cognitive and Neural Mechanisms provides cross-training for graduate students in Computer Science, Brain & Cognitive Science, and Data Science.

In addition to coursework on the relevant computational foundations of data science (e.g., machine learning, data mining, statistics, cognitive modeling, computational neuroscience), students will also receive opportunities for professional development, such as:

  • Communications training
  • Career development workshops
  • Networking opportunities with leaders from academia and industry
  • Internship assistance
  • Conference assistance

In addition, a set of PhD students from the Departments of Computer Science and Brain and Cognitive Sciences will receive financial support from the program.  Support is limited to US citizens and permanent residents.

About the Program

The National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) program focuses on understanding the nature of intelligence, both artificial and biological, and provides students with an integrated, multidisciplinary training experience encompassing computer science, brain and cognitive sciences, and related disciplines.

Student will use theories and methods from data science (including machine learning and statistics) to gain a foundation in theory development, computational modeling, and data analysis. This foundation then serves as a conceptual and methodological framework unifying their studies of artificial and biological intelligence.

By emphasizing both practical applications and basic science, our students will be able to design research solutions relevant to today's societal needs, as well as develop research approaches of critical importance to future needs. Through our hands-on projects students will also learn how to conceptualize, design, and implement large-scale research projects from beginning to end.

Each year we host one or more scientists who play leading roles in major research laboratories for three-day visits. In additions to scientific talks, the visits include conversations about types of jobs for PhD graduates, ways to build a social network that supports career development, and advice for job searching and interviewing. Over the course of the NRT program, these immersive encounters will include leading figures from industry and academia.


Any University of Rochester graduate student in a discipline related to computer science, data science, or brain and cognitive sciences is welcome to apply.

To apply, email an application to by August 15, 2018.

BCS/CS NRT Fellowships 

Each year, a group of PhD students from the Departments of Computer Science and Brain and Cognitive Sciences receive a one-year fellowship. The fellowships augment other sources of support for PhD students, such as research assistantships and teaching assistantships, but do not support any one student for the duration of his or her studies.  Fellowships are limited to US citizens and permanent residents.

Fellowship students are normally in the first two years of their PhD program. Nominations for a student to receive a fellowship can be made by faculty members from the two departments, and should be submitted to Professor Ehsan Hoque and Professor Greg DeAngelis.



Ajay Anand
Deputy Director
Goergen Institute for Data Science


Greg DeAngelis
Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Neuroscience, Center for Navigation and Communication Sciences


M. Ehsan Hoque
Asaro-Biggar ('92) Family Assistant Professor
Computer Science

Robert Jacobs
Brain & Cognitive Sciences, Computer Science and the Center for Visual Science

Program Administrator
Lisa Altman
Academic Program Manager
Goergen Institute for Data Science

External Advisory Committee

Jack Gallant
Professor of Psychology
University of California, Berkeley

Joshua Tenenbaum
Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Oren Etzioni
Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence

Eric Horvitz
Managing Director
Microsoft Research

Program Evaluation

Chelsea BaileyShea
Assistant Professor (clinical) and Co-Director of Program Evaluation (Center for Professional Development & Education Reform)

Other Participating Faculty

James Allen
John H. Dessauer Professor of Computer Science
Computer Science, Linguistics, and Brain and Cognitive Sciences

Whitney Gegg-Harrison
Assistant Professor
Writing, Speaking and Argument Program

Daniel Gildea
Associate Professor
Computer Science

Ralf Haefner
Assistant Professor
Brain & Cognitive Sciences

T. Florian Jaeger
Brain & Cognitive Sciences and Computer Science

Jiebo Luo
Computer Science

Rajeev Raizada
Assistant Professor
Brain and Cognitive Sciences

Lenhart K. Schubert
Computer Science

Founding PI

Henry Kautz

Professor and founding director of the Goergen Institute for Data Science
Computer Science