Marcel van Gerven

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As a computational neuroscientist I am interested in the question how human cognition arises via the coordinated flow of information between spatially segregated neural populations. In order to address this question, my group develops artificial neural network models that allow us to understand how certain cognitive functions are implemented in specific brain regions. Furthermore, we develop probabilistic models that aim to capture the large-scale organisation of the human brain, thereby placing constraints on general theories of human brain function.

My Google citations profile can be found here. My researcher ID can be found here.

Short Bio

Marcel van Gerven was trained as a cognitive scientist. After his studies he held research positions at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and at the Institute of Ophthalmology, UCL, London. After working for some time in industry as a software engineer he accepted a PhD position in computer science at Radboud University. Research during his PhD studies focused on probabilistic inference applied to the domain of clinical oncology. This research was conducted in collaboration with clinicians at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam and led to the construction of a model for prognosis and treatment of carcinoid tumors. This is one of the largest dynamic Bayesian networks that has been developed to date. Part of his thesis work was conducted at UNED, Madrid, Spain. After completing his PhD he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at ICIS and the Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. He created novel brain-computer interfacing (BCI) paradigms and developed various novel machine learning methods for analyzing neuroimaging data. He currently holds positions as Associate Professor and Principal Investigator of the Computational Cognitive Neuroscience lab within the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour. His group focuses on the development of new Bayesian and neural network approaches for modeling and measuring human brain function.



Book chapters

  1. Diez, FJ, van Gerven, MAJ. Dynamic LIMIDS. In: Decision Theory Models for Applications in Artificial Intelligence, IGI Global; 2012. p. 164-189.
  2. Vuurpijl L, Willems D, Niels R, van Gerven MAJ. Design issues for pen-centric interactive maps. In: Interactive Collaborative Information Systems. Springer; 2010. p. 273-296.
  3. van Gerven MAJ, Lucas PJF. The role of background knowledge in Bayesian classification. Advances in Probabilistic Graphical Models. In: StudFuzz 213. Berlin Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag; 2007. p. 377-396.


  1. van Gerven MAJ. Bayesian Networks for Clinical Decision Support. Nijmegen, The Netherlands: Radboud University Nijmegen; 2007.
  2. van Gerven MAJ. A Model of Neural Organization: Hierarchical Development of the Cerebral Cortex. Raboud University Nijmegen; 2000.


I am involved in teaching at the AI department. I currently coordinate a course on neural networks, a course on computational cognitive neuroscience and a capita selecta on advances in neural network research.

Relevant work experience

2016-present Associate Professor / Principal Investigator
Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
Faculty of Social Sciences
Radboud University (1.0 fte, fixed-term)
2010-2016 Assistant Professor / Principal Investigator
Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
Faculty of Social Sciences
Radboud University (1.0 fte, fixed-term)
2009-2010 Postdoctoral researcher
Machine Learning Group, Intelligent Systems Department
Institute for Computing and Information Sciences
Radboud University (1.0 fte, fixed-term)
2007-2009 Postdoctoral researcher
Machine Learning Group, Intelligent Systems Department
Institute for Computing and Information Sciences
Radboud University (1.0 fte, fixed-term)
2006 Visiting researcher
Departamento de Inteligencia Artificial
UNED, Madrid, Spain
2003-2007 PhD student
Information Retrieval and Information Systems
Radboud University Nijmegen (1.0 fte, fixed-term)
2002-2003 Software Engineer
LCN Planning and Scheduling (1.0 fte, fixed-term)
2001 Visiting Researcher
Institute of Ophthalmology
University College London, London, UK
2000-2001 Scientific Programmer
Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics (1.0 fte, fixed-term)
2000 Research assistant psycholinguistics
Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics


2015 Academic Leadership
2014 Masterclass on Theatre in Science
2013 Extended Academic Teaching Qualification (UKO)
2011 Academic Teaching Qualification (BKO)
2003 – 2007 PhD degree (FNWI)
Institute for Computing and Information Sciences
Radboud University Nijmegen
Thesis: Bayesian Networks for Clinical Decision Support
1999 – 2000 Master’s degree in Knowledge Engineering
Radboud University Nijmegen
Thesis: A model of neural organization: Hierarchical development of the cerebral cortex
1996 – 1999 Bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Science
Radboud University Nijmegen

Educational experience

2014-present Coordinator of AI Master track ‘Computation in Neural and Artificial Systems’
2013-present Chair of Bachelor education committee
2011-2013 Internationalization committee member
2010-2013 Bachelor education committee member

Courses taught:

2013-present Course coordinator Computational Cognitive Neuroscience (DCC)
2013-present Course coordinator Neural Networks (DCC)
2011 Lecturer Trends in AI (DCC)
2011 Lecturer Knowledge Representation and Reasoning (DCC)
2011 Course coordinator Brain Reading (DCC)
2010-2011 Lecturer Caleidoscope AI (DCC)
2010-2011 Lecturer Brain Dynamics & Connectivity (DCCN)
2009-2010 Lecturer Introduction to BCI (DCC)
2009-2012 Lecturer Toolkit of Cognitive Neuroscience (DCCN)
2008-2010 Course coordinator Signal Processing for BCI (DCC)
2008 Guest lecturer in Artificial Intelligence (Catholic University of Ghana)
2007 Lecturer in Robotics (DCC)
2006 Teaching assistant Intelligent Systems (ICIS)
2005 Teaching assistant Research Methods (ICIS)
2004 Teaching assistant Research & development (ICIS)
2004 Teaching assistant Integration Project 2 (ICIS)
2004 Teaching assistant Systems theory (ICIS)
2003 Teaching assistant Orientation on Information Science 2 (ICIS)
1999 Student assistant Programming in C++ (NICI)
1999 Student assistant Neural Networks (NICI)




2016 Simon Jan Hazenberg, Perceptual constructions : Contextual effects on colors, shapes and scenes (examiner)
2016 Sander Bosch, Reactivating memories in hippocampus and neocortex (examiner)
2016 Haiteng Jiang, Characterizing brain oscillations in cognition and disease (copromotor)
2015 Roemer van der Meij, On the identification, characterization and investigation of phase dependent coupling in neuronal networks (examiner)
2015 Fabian Pedregosa, Feature extraction and supervised learning on fMRI: from practice to theory (examiner)
2014 Elaine Astrand, Real‐Time Readout of Neural Contents in Visual Perception and Selection in the Non‐human Primate (reviewer, examiner)
2014 Irina Simanova, In Search of Conceptual Representations in the Brain: Towards Mind-Reading (copromotor)
2014 Alex Brandmeyer, Auditory Perceptual Learning via Decoded-EEG Neurofeedback: Towards a Novel Paradigm (reviewer)
2012 Diego Vidaurre, Regularization for Sparsity in Statistical Analysis and Machine Learning (reviewer)
2012 Ali Bahramisharif, Covert Visual Spatial Attention: a Robust Paradigm for Brain-Computer Interfacing (copromotor)
2011 Botond Cseke, Variational Algorithms for Bayesian Inference in Latent Gaussian Models (examiner)
2010 Aritz Perez, Advances in Error Estimation and Multi-Dimensional Supervised Classification (reviewer)


2017 DCC PhD scholarship: Affective computing in natural and artificial agents (€217K)
2017 LII BQ1 postdoc position
2017 STW Perspective grant Neuronal Stimulation for recovery of function (co-applicant)
2016 FAS research assistantship
2016 DCC PhD scholarship: Visual processing beyond retinal stimulation (€217K)
2016 NVidia grant
2016 LII utilisation grant: Aiding people with visual impairments or neurodegenerative disorders by real-time linguistic description of their surroundings
2015 NWO GO Vidi grant: Peering into the human mind: Decoding internal representations from brain activity (€800K)
2015 FAS research assistantship
2015 DCC research assistantship
2015 DCC feasibility grant (€20K)
2013 Open Competition NWO EW: Bayesian modeling of brain networks (€217K)
2013 DCC Postdoc position (€170K)
2012 DCC PhD scholarship: Connectivity-based prediction of cognitive and motor function (€217K)
2011 Open Competition NWO MAGW: Decoding the memory trace (€217K)
2010 Open Competition NWO EW: Sparse learning of deep models (€217K)

Symposium organisation

Co-organizer of NVP Symposium on Computational Cognitive Neuroscience 2015
Co-organizer of ICCM workshop on Computational Cognitive Neuroscience 2015
Co-organizer of Donders summer schools (2010, 2013, 2014, 2015)
Co-organizer of Pattern Recognition in Neuroimaging workshop 2014
Co-organizer symposium `connectivity and multivariate classification approaches’ at BioMag2010

Invited talks

2017 Cosyne, Salt Lake City. Title: ANN-based prediction of neural and behavioral responses in humans
2017 Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm. Title: Modeling human brain function with artificial neural networks
2016 UvA, Amsterdam. Title: What artificial neural networks tell us about human brain function
2016 Bernstein conference workshop, Berlin. Title: Recurrent neural networks as models of cognitive processing
2016 Charite, Berlin. Title: Modeling Human Brain Function with Artificial Neural Networks
2016 OHBA, Oxford. Title: Modeling Human Brain Function with Artificial Neural Networks
2016 IMPRS NeuroCom Summer School, Leipzig. Title: Modeling Human Brain Function with Artificial Neural Networks
2016 Human Brain Mapping, Geneva. Title: Population Receptive Field Modeling
2016 ABC Summerschool, Amsterdam. Title: Computational Cognitive Neuroscience
2016 Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, Amsterdam. Title: Probing Cortical Representations with Deep Neural Networks
2015 University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany. Title: Probing Cortical Representations with Deep Learning
2015 University of Amsterdam. Title: Probing Cortical Representations with Deep Learning
2014 Osnabrück University, Osnabrück, Germany. Title: Probing Cortical Representations with Deep Learning
2014 Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden. Title: Probing Cortical Representations with Deep Learning
2014 Symposium Real-world vision in the brain, UvA, Amsterdam. Title: Learning Representations that Drive Cortical Responses
2014 Machine learning summer school, DTU, Lyngby, Denmark. Title: Machine Learning for Neural Data Analysis
2014 HBM educational session on Pattern Recognition for Neuroimaging, Hamburg, Germany. Title: Decoding of Conceptual Representations
2014 PRNI tutorial, Tübingen, Germany. Title: Something Bayesian
2014 VSS Conference symposium, St. Petersburg, Florida, US. Title: Learning and Comparison of Visual Feature Representations
2013 ERCIM, University College London, London. Title: Bayesian Connectomics
2013 Centre for Mathematics and Computer Science, Amsterdam. Title: Decoding the Contents of Visual Experience
2013 University of Amsterdam. Title: Bayesian Connectomics
2013 Neurospin, Saclay, France. Title: Bayesian Connectomics
2012 Denmark Technical University, Copenhagen, Denmark. Title: Bayesian Structural Connectivity Analysis
2012 ERMITES summer school on Representations and Decisions in Cognitive Vision. Title: Percept Decoding with Sparse Latent Variable Models
2012 ICML Workshop on Statistics, Machine Learning and Neuroscience, Edinburgh, UK. Title: Decoding of Cognitive States: From Patterns to Mechanisms
2011 Machine Learning and Neuroimaging workshop, Marseille, France. Title: Percept Decoding with Sparse Latent Variable Models
2011 Konstanz University, Konstanz, Germany. Title: Multivariate Decoding of Cognitive States
2011 Neuroinformatica.NL symposium. Title: Machine Learning Meets Neuroscience
2010 Department of Artificial Intelligence, Facultad de Informatica, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid. Title: Neural Decoding
2009 Almende. Title: Brain-Computer Interfacing

Scholarships and Awards

2013 Nominee for the Hermesdorf International award
2013 Best poster award, Donders theme meeting
2009 Best poster award, BrainGain Conference
2009 Winner of the Pittsburgh Brain Connectivity Competition
2007 Johan Brouwer Fonds, research scholarship (€5K)

Presentations at international workshops and conferences

International Conference on Cognitive Modeling (ICCM)
Vision Science Society (VSS)
Pattern Recognition in Neuroimaging (PRNI)
International Conference on Artificial Neural Networks (ICANN)
Human Brain Mapping (HBM)
Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS)
Specialist Group on Artificial Intelligence (SGAI)
Probabilistic Graphical Models (PGM)
Intelligent Data Analysis in Medicine and Pharmacology (IDAMAP)
European Conference on Symbolic and Quantitative Approaches to Reasoning with Uncertainty (ECSQARU).


PLoS Biology, PNAS, Neuroimage, Human Brain Mapping, Machine Learning, Neural Information Processing Systems, CoSyne, Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, International Conference on Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence in Medicine, Journal of Neural Engineering, International Statistical Review, IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging, Journal of Neurophysiology.


Special issue editor for Neuroimage
Special issue editor for Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience
Review editor for Frontiers in Brain Imaging Methods
Review editor for Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience
Program committee member for ICANN 2014
Program committee member for BENELEARN 2013
Program committee member for the IJCNN 2013 special session on Unsupervised Model-Based Learning: Bayesian regularization and Sparsity
Program committee member for Pattern Recognition in Neuroimaging 2012, 2013
External reviewer for De Hersenstichting and Fondazione Bruno Kessler

Other activities

2016-present Coordinator of the AI Master track on Computation in Neural and Artificial Systems
2016 Coordinator of the RU Honours Programme on Wider Implications of Cognitive Neuroscience
2013-2015 Coordinator of the DCC computing cluster

Public understanding of science

Company presentations (Almende, ASML)
High-schools (beta summer-camp, code-yard project, 4VWO dag, Nijmeegse tweedaagse)
Dissemination to the general public (lustrum F.C. Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging, Lux Researcher’s Night, Alumni dag)
Editor of the Donders Institute Newsletter

Societal Impact

Media appearances

2016 Volkskrant, NRC, Tros Nieuwsshow
2013 Volkskrant, NRC, VPRO Tegenlicht, Radio 1 Met het oog op morgen, BBC World Radio, Wired

Company involvement

2016 Co-founder of CCNLab holding

Research bodies

2015 External advisor for the Human Brain Project