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Leader in Integrated ICT Hardware & Systems

PhD in CMOS Integrated Circuit Design for Brain Interfaces

DOH-14 PhD in CMOS Integrated Circuit Design for Brain Interfaces

Contract: Full Time/Fixed Term

Microelectronic Circuits Centre Ireland (MCCI) is an EI / IDA technology centre hosted at Tyndall National Institute.  Its mission is to carry out industry-led world-class Analog, Mixed-Signal and RF integrated circuit research and to deliver trained people and IP to industry.  MCCI is collaborating with 35 companies and many of the staff eventually transfer into the thriving microelectronics industry in Ireland.  MCCI targets real-life applications with its research and currently has projects in diverse topics such as DNA detection for food safety, next generation optical communications, bio-sensing, imaging for security applications and early cancer detection. Please visit for more information.

The project:

Neural signals recorded from the human speech cortex using chronically implanted Neurotrophic Electrodes that provide high fidelity long-term recordings of spiking data from individual neurons.  These signals can be used in the development of neural prostheses for restoring function, including motor function and speech. Neural data are recorded simultaneously from an array of electrodes at sampling rates in the order of 10-20 kHz, resulting in large quantities of data which are typically analysed off-line.  The amount of data generated poses a challenge for the design of implantable devices with large numbers of channels. Recording and transmission of wide-bandwidth signals with high resolution from a large number of electrodes preserves all of the signal information for later analysis. However, this comes at the cost of relatively high power consumption which is undesirable for fully implantable devices. In this proposed work, low power, low area custom integrated circuits will be designed to capture the sensor data and convert it to digital with an Analogue to Digital converter (ADC). After the ADC data is collected, reduction and compression will be implemented to minimise the amount of data to be transmitted. These highly efficient ULTRA LOW POWER circuits will allow the implant systems to use less power and work for longer durations than ever before, that will dramatically improve patient and treatment outcomes. The project is funded by Neural Signal Inc. and the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics. The project is a collaboration with Professor Madeleine Lowry’s Neuromuscular Systems and Neural Engineering research group, an Insight principal investigator based in University College Dublin.

The Role

The successful candidate will be based at MCCI in the Tyndall National Institute, Cork.  They will model, architect, design and test ultra-low power medical implantable circuits.

What’s on offer

You will have the opportunity to work in a multi-disciplinary team consisting of clinicians, medical systems architects, neural signal processing experts and integrated circuit designers as well as:

  • Work as a highly valuable research team member in a world-class technology centre that has a very young, dynamic, vibrant and self-driven work environment that focuses on high impact research results which are strongly aligned to industry partners.
  • Great career development and advancement that is highly visible to the semiconductor industry through direct contact or IEEE publications.
  • Collaborate with Medical Device industry on advanced implantable sensors
  • Opportunity to attend and publish work at leading conferences such as IEEE Solid-State Circuits conferences and IEEE BioCAS conference.
  • Attend training courses and workshops, use the latest industry CAD design tools
  • Opportunity to publish in leading IEEE journals.
  • Excellent working conditions including 23 Days of annual leave

Key Responsibilities

  • Engage with the multi-disciplinary team to understand the neural signals.
  • Propose innovative neural sensor interface circuits to meet the requirements,
  • With guidance, implement the solution on an integrated circuit. This involves system level simulation, algorithm development, schematic design, layout and validation of manufactured silicon.
  • Engage in the dissemination of the results of the research, as directed by and with the support of senior MCCI research staff and Neural Signals Inc.

Essential Criteria

  • The minimum academic qualification is a first or upper second class honours degree (or an equivalent international degree) in electrical engineering, electronic engineering, physics or related relevant discipline.
  • The successful candidate will be highly analytical with good interpersonal and organisational skills.
  • Experience in the area of Analogue, Mixed-Signal or RF circuit design.

Desirable Criteria

  • Master’s degree in electrical engineering, electronic engineering, physics or related relevant discipline.
  • Experience of digital design and verification using Verilog or VHDL.
  • Experience designing CMOS integrated circuits
  • Good mathematical ability and knowledge of statistics.
  • Previous use of mathematical modelling tools such as MATLAB or Python.
  • Experience with lab measurements
  • Knowledge of integrated circuit design tools such as Cadence/Mentor.

A fully-funded PhD position that includes a stipend of €18,500/year for up to four years or graduation (whatever comes first) and full coverage of academic fees/tuition (approx. €5,500/year). Full coverage of travel expenses to conferences in Europe/overseas to present the outcomes of the project. Fully-funded training opportunities.

Any queries relating to this position can be forwarded to Dr. Daniel O' Hare on email

Application Instructions

Step 1 - Click here to download and complete the Application form and indicate the Job Reference DOH-14

Step 2 – Return the completed Application form, together with your CV and motivation letter to Please ensure that your motivation letter, Cv and application letter are submitted in pdf format.

Postgraduate applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence of English language proficiency as per UCC regulations ( Certificates should be valid (usually less than 2 years old) and should be uploaded with their application. In special circumstances the panel may consider a prior degree in English (e.g. Master thesis written in English) as evidence of English language proficiency.

Please note that Garda vetting and/or an international police clearance check may form part of the selection process.

The University, at its discretion, may undertake to make an additional appointment(s) from this competition following the conclusion of the process.

At this time, Tyndall National Institute does not require the assistance of recruitment agencies.

Tyndall National Institute at University College, Cork is an Equal Opportunities Employer.