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One of the perks of being an INDP student is that you get to be pretty involved in the life of the CNP. Besides courses, students play a very important role in organizing events and activities. Here are some examples.

PhD Student Seminar Series - monthly

The PhD Student Seminar Series is organized by the students for the students. The learning process continues and starting in the second year of the INDP, students have the opportunity to spend some time with the best international speakers. Selected outstanding researchers from all over the world are invited by students to present their work to the CNP community and visit the CNP labs and faculty. On the second day, the speaker teaches a ‘NanoCourse’ organized by a student host. During a full morning, students discuss the most interesting and significant questions in neuroscience, in a very informal atmosphere. So far, speakers like Noam Sobel, Gilles Laurent, Ed Boyden, Larry Abbot, Deborah Gordon, Paul Glimcher, Terrence Sejnowski and others were successfully part of this creative teaching environment of the CNP. Beyond the scientific conversations, students may organize lunch and/or dinner with the speakers.

CNP Journal Club & CNP Happy Hour - weekly

These two CNP events happen every Friday afternoon. We decide to leave for the weekend discussing interesting recent papers or general neuroscience topics, in a very informal atmosphere with snacks and drinks. All of the CNP community have the chance to present, and students, postdocs and PIs interact in a scientific and personal way.

CNP retreat - yearly

The CNP retreat is the annual venue for the whole of the CNP population, both those abroad and those within Portuguese walls. Once a year, under the torrid summer sun, we meet again and show each other what we’ve been up to during the previous year, communicate our latest results, discuss different experimental approaches and have fun as if there were no tomorrow, always promoting an open, inspiring and comfortable environment for all the members of the CNP to discuss their research among peers. We also host a small number of talks by the members of our Scientific Advisory Board, which additionally contributes to this exquisite scientific atmosphere!

Annual Meeting for Gulbenkian Students (AMeeGuS) - yearly

AMeeGuS  is a small internal annual meeting organized by and for PhD students of the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia (IGC) and the Champalimaud Neuroscience Program (CNP). The primary goal of this retreat is to create an open, inspiring and comfortable atmosphere for PhD students to discuss their research among peers. For the keynote lectures, every year the organizing committee invites eminent senior scientists who have shown how creativity and curiosity can be tremendous driving forces behind scientific progress.

Ar event series

Ar - Air in Portuguese is the first step taken in science communication, organized by a group of students from the CNP. Ar aims to create ‘A world moved by critical and creative thinking’. To achieve this, and drawing on the enthusiasm of the researchers and students of the CNP a series of science communication events combining world-renowned speakers, interactive multimedia and audience participation has been created. Ar events explore fundamental scientific themes by intertwining work from leading thinkers: local and international, scientific and cultural.

The inaugural event, ‘Engineering the Mind’, happened in October 2011 and since then, ten more events have taken place at the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown. Each event showcases speakers ranging from scientists, artists, chefs, group facilitators, cyborgs, alternative community leaders, storytellers, teachers and others. They engage the public to think, interact and debate their ideas. Presentations are entertaining and dynamic and include cutting edge interactive games and open discussion. The events already draw more than 4000 people to the CCU and have been enthusiastically received by the audience and media alike.

Music Club

The music club is an informal gathering of students who know how to play any musical instruments. It is still a work in progress, but the goal is to meet on a weekly basis and enjoy playing music in an informal atmosphere, outside CCU.

Theater Club

The theater club is an informal gathering of students who share the need of expressing themselves on stage, jumping into different characters, enjoying being crazy, freaking out without consequences, getting to know oneself a bit better, and anything more that one can think of. The goal is to meet regularly outside the CCU and work on body movement, breathing techniques, voice training, exposure of emotion and improvisation theater. A big dream would be to find the right play and motivated people to practice for a public performance of a play. Any interested person can join the group.


While classes are being set up at the new CNP gym, some CNP members have started different sports teams. Currently, a soccer tournament is held together with other Lisbon institutions (such as the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência), where students and postdocs play once a week. There is also a running team, practicing in a regular basis to achieve the best results in the upcoming Lisbon marathon.

Games, Interaction and Robotics (GIR)

The goal of the Games, Interaction and Robotics (GIR) club is to provide an informal, relaxed and cool forum to discuss everything about interactive systems, ranging from how to integrate interactive technology into experiments or simply how to design cool games, simulations and reactive displays. The members of the club also develop skills in the design and implementation of these kinds of systems while actively bringing to life their own creative technologies.

Student Task Force

CNP students elect every year a Student Task Force, formed by 3 students, to represent the interests of CNP students. This includes any general issue related to the CCU, research, labs, organizational activities or specific problem related with any student in particular. The committee meets once a month with all students, to listen to any suggestions/concerns/comments on CNP-related issues.


Students are the main force behind party organization at the CNP. These may include the Christmas party, the Symposium party and any other parties for meetings or special events (such as, for example at the Annual Retreat). The students can always count on help from the faculty and postdocs to set up an amazing space with drinks, snacks and music for a Portuguese-spirited evening party within the CNP’s international atmosphere.