Nov. 9, 2023

Postdoctoral Researcher or Research Scientist Position
Brain Intelligence Theory Unit(W23197)


Brain Intelligence Theory Unit, Center for Brain Science (Unit Leader: Takuya Isomura)

Research Area

Physics, Engineering, Mathematical and Information Science, Computational Science, Biology, Interdisciplinary


theoretical neuroscience, neural network, learning algorithm, Bayesian inference, free-energy principle, active inference, computational model, neuromorphic artificial intelligence, generative model, neural data analysis

Research field

The intelligence of biological organisms is explained by optimization. Biological organisms recognise the surrounding environment by optimising their internal representations or hypotheses about how the hidden dynamics and causes generate sensory inputs—and they optimise their behaviour to adapt to the environment by sampling preferred inputs, thereby increasing the probability of survival and reproduction. Our research aims to mathematically express universal characterisation of their intelligence in terms of biologically plausible neuronal circuits and synaptic plasticity rules. In particular, we are interested in mathematical understanding of the superiority of biological intelligence over existing artificial intelligence.

Our recent research:
- We mathematically showed that canonical neural networks whose activity and plasticity minimise a common cost function implicitly follow the free-energy principle (Communications Biology, 2022) and validated it within in vitro neural networks (Nature Communications, 2023).
- We developed an unsupervised learning scheme (PredPCA) that extracts the most informative components for predicting future inputs (Nature Machine Intelligence, 2021).

Informal enquiries and (virtual) lab visits prior to application are welcome.
Our lab web page:
Our project web page:
Our project “Development and validation of a unified theory of prediction and action” is funded by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science KAKENHI Grant-in-Aid for Transformative Research Areas (A), FY2023-FY2027.

Job title and description

Job title

Postdoctoral Researcher or Research Scientist, 1 position
Postdoctoral Researcher is defined as those with a doctoral degree of 5 years or less.

Job description

You will be expected to perform one (or more) of the following theoretical neuroscience research:

  1. Develop theories to elucidate the computational principle of the brain with extending the free-energy principle, active inference, and related theories
  2. Develop neuromorphic (biomimetic) learning algorithms for next-generation artificial intelligence
  3. Develop a universal generative model based on empirical data using reverse engineering technique that we recently developed: for details, please see
    The expected completion date of this JSPS KAKENHI project is 31 March 2028.

The expected completion date of this project is 31 March 2028.


We seek outstanding researchers with a strong theoretical/computational background and an avid interest in neuroscience. The candidate should possess a doctoral degree in neuroscience, physics, mathematics, computer science, engineering, or a related area. Candidates who want to bridge theory and experiment are also encouraged to apply.

Work location

Branch and address
RIKEN Wako (2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0198)

RIKEN has implemented a work-from-home system. Employees can work from home in accordance with the prescribed procedures.

Salary and benefits

  1. A one-year fixed-term employment contract, renewable based on evaluation, and up until March 31,2028 of this JSPS KAKENHI project completion date.
  2. RIKEN may adjust the above maximum period of renewability based on a) the employee’s abilities, work load at the time of contract completion, performance and work attitude and b) the continuation of the employee’s center, laboratory or project and RIKEN’s management situation and budget at the time. In principle, employment contracts will not be renewed for individuals older than 65 years.

In principle, the first two months of employment is considered a trial period.
Salary will be a monthly salary based on experience, ability, and performance, and will consist of a base salary and a variable salary. The variable salary will be determined each fiscal year based on experience, ability, and performance. The monthly base salary will be 295,100 JPY for Postdoctoral Researcher, and 350,300 JPY for Research Scientist, as of April 1, 2023. The monthly base salary and variable salary are subject to change due to amendments to RIKEN regulations.

Discretionary work, commuting and housing allowances will be provided. Social insurance will be applied.

The approximate amount of annual salary at the time of employment:
Research Scientist: Monthly salary range, including discretionary work allowance, at the time of employment is 500,000-833,000 JPY (annual salary 6,000,000-9,996,000 JPY). Decided based on experience, ability, and achievements.
Postdoctoral Researcher: Monthly salary range, including discretionary work allowance, at the time of employment is 400,000-558,000 JPY (annual salary 4,800,000-6,696,000 JPY). Decided based on experience, ability, and achievements.

Mandatory membership in the RIKEN Mutual Benefit Society (RIKEN Kyosaikai).
This position falls under the specialized duties discretionary work system; one working day will be calculated as 7 hours and 30 minutes.
Days off include public holidays, New Year's holidays (Dec. 29 - Jan 3), and RIKEN Foundation Day.
Paid leave includes annual paid leave (up to 20 days depending on the month of employment), special paid leave (childcare, family nursing care, etc.), and work life balance holidays (up to 7 days depending on the month of employment).
There are also additional leave systems such as maternity leave, childcare leave, and family nursing care leave.
Smoking is not permitted on site except in designated smoking areas. Smoking will be entirely prohibited on site from April 2024.
These and other provisions are in accordance with RIKEN regulations.

RIKEN is actively undertaking initiatives to promote gender equality and diversity, and moving forward with the establishment of a diverse and vibrant research environment. If multiple candidates are found to have the same aptitude following a fair assessment, active efforts will be made to recruit female candidates.

Also, eligible for an exemption from repayment for category 1 scholarship loans provided by the Japan Student Services Organization before fiscal year 2003, and eligible applying for the MEXT Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (Kakenhi).

The Wako Campus has an on-site daycare, RIKEN Kids Wako. For details, please send an email to the HR at kids [at]

Application and required documents

  1. Complete CV (with photo and email address)
    WORD(56KB) or EXCEL(159KB)
    Write the RIKEN job ad number “W23197”, indicated in the parentheses next to the job title, in the RIKEN job ad number section in the upper right corner of your CV.
  2. List of publications: Circle titles of two major papers in the list
  3. Photocopies of two major research papers
  4. Research in the past and research plan (3 pages in A4 size)
    Your research plan must include outcome expected within a few years from your appointment.
  5. A letter of recommendation from the current supervisor (If unavailable, a letter from a substitute reference will be acceptable.)
    *Please specify the referee’s contact information (Name, affiliation, job title, phone number, and email address)
  6. Consent form for handling personal information based on GDPR
    If you are a resident of the European Economic Area (EEA), you are required to submit the document, “Consent form for handling personal information based on GDPR” with your signature.

    *You will find detailed information about General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on the following website:

How to apply

The above documents except the recommendation letters combined into a single ZIP file should be uploaded to the following website: Application forms:Brain Intelligence Theory Unit, CBS, RIKEN
For (position name), Brain Intelligence Theory Unit, CBS, RIKEN
The file name of the ZIP should contain your contact email address.
After you uploaded the ZIP file, please let us (Takuya.isomura [at] know the file name of the uploaded file.

Recommendation letters must be directly submitted from the referees to the following website with the file “[applicant’s name] (Recommendation letter)". Please specify the applicant's name, referee's name and contact information in the recommendation letter.
Recommendation letters:Brain Intelligence Theory Unit, CBS, RIKEN
After the referees uploaded the recommendation letter, please let us (Takuya.isomura [at] know the file name of the uploaded file.
If a confirmation email is not received within 7 days after submission, please contact: takuya.isomura [at]

Note: All the submitted documents will not be returned.


Open until the position is filled

Handling personal data
Submitted documents are strictly protected under the RIKEN Privacy Policy and will be used only for the purpose of applicant screening. Personal information will not be disclosed, transferred or loaned to a third party under any circumstances without just cause.

Selection process

Application screening and interview for selected applicants

Start of employment

As early as possible

Contact information

RIKEN Center for Brain Science
Brain Intelligence Theory Unit
Email: takuya.isomura[at]
For inquiries, please send an email.