TARGETjobs black logo

University of Reading

Sector menu
University of Reading


Cybernetics at the University of Reading covers three interwoven themes: systems neuroscience, measurement and control, and human-machine interaction. The group is based in Biological Sciences, and has strong links with the Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (CINN), the School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy, and the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences.

Our facilities include an electrophysiology laboratory, a range of virtual reality and haptic interfaces, an optically pumped far-infrared laser, and a terahertz spectrometer. Of particular note is our Brain Embodiment Laboratory, a facility that enables research at the interface of engineering, neuroscience and cognition including culturing of biological neurons and brain-computer interfaces.

**Research areas**

Research areas include: neurodynamics and cognition, measurement and control, and human interaction. As such research tends to focus on the core concepts of cybernetics in animal and machines, although members of the group have ongoing interests in all areas of the field including art, government, business, education, economics and management.

Systems neuroscience:

This theme has an integrative perspective that investigates properties of cellular and molecular processes, with the aim of explaining how such components interact within an organism to achieve joint functionality, supporting its interactions with the environment. Systems neuroscience investigates neural networks numbering from a few cells to the many billions of an entire human brain, and hence considers functional responses that range from individual neural activity to high-level cognition. We have carried out pioneering research into brain-computer interfaces and neural implant technology - using direct connections to the nervous system - and research on 'animats', robots that are controlled by cultures of living neuronal cells.

Measurement and control:

Measurement allows us to understand the state and behaviour of systems. For instance, we use terahertz spectroscopy to probe and reveal fundamental biological processes. Potential applications include aiding pharmaceutical development and medical diagnostics. Control enables us to influence the behaviour of systems over time. For example, we are engaged in projects where control techniques are being developed for using functional electrical stimulation to improve the maintenance of bone health in patients with spinal cord injury.

Human-machine interaction:

Research in human-machine interaction includes designing interfaces that are intuitive, adaptable and natural. Our research into haptic interfaces studies how we can emulate touch in virtual environments. We also have expertise in the design of technologies to support older adults and people with disabilities, and are involved in a range of interdisciplinary projects relating to health, rehabilitation and wellbeing.

Please see our website for further course information:

Entry requirements

Doctor of Philosophy - PhD: A 2.2 Honours degree or above.

Sponsorship information

Department receives substantial research funding from industry.


Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Fee locale Course duration
Master of Philosophy - MPhil Full-time October 2019 2 Years
Doctor of Philosophy - PhD Full-time October 2019 3 Years

Get in touch today and increase your future employability