Employment & Training

Employment Opportunities


For current openings at UW-Madison, search online for position vacancy listings. If you are interested in opportunities with "Center for Investigating Healthy Minds," please add this phrase to your search terms (within the UW-Madison HR portal).

Graduate Training

If you are interested in applying to graduate school and working in Dr. Davidson’s lab, here are some things you should know. We appreciate the interest and hope that more students get seriously involved in this kind of work since there are so many wonderful outstanding questions remaining to be studied and understood. 

Our lab relies on sophisticated neuroimaging and other related biological methods to make inferences about processes in the brain and body during emotion, in psychopathology and in response to interventions designed to change emotion and cognition, including meditation. These methods require a strong technical background to master. Among the most important skills that are required are programming and statistical and quantitative skills. Relevant programming languages used in neuroscience vary greatly depending on the focus of the research but common examples include Python, R, and Matlab. In addition, familiarity with the command line in Unix or Mac OS is essential. Knowing any programming language is better than none, and will make learning other languages easier.

In addition, significant course work in computer science, biology (neuroscience) and physics are important and highly recommended. It is not necessary that incoming students be Psychology majors. In fact, some of our most successful students have been Physics, Computer Science and Neuroscience majors as undergraduates.

It is helpful to have significant research experience before applying to graduate school. This typically means spending several years post-college in a laboratory as a research assistant. Dr. Davidson almost never accepts a student directly from college. Virtually every one of the students in our lab has spent some time (often a lot of time) following college working in a laboratory setting.

If you wish to be considered for a position in our lab, it is imperative that you have the kind of hard science, quantitative and programming background described above. Our lab is highly selective and will accept very few students over the coming years and to be considered for a graduate student position, you must be formally invited from our laboratory to apply. If you believe you meet these requirements, please send an email to training@investigatinghealthyminds.org with a copy of your CV, along with a statement of your research interests and technical skills. While we are glad to review your material to see if you are a good fit, we do not have the resources to engage in individual communications regarding how to best prepare for acceptance into our lab or other career development inquiries.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

We have many ongoing research projects in the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds and the Waisman Lab for Brain Imaging and Behavior, providing ample opportunities for UW undergraduate students to gain valuable research experience. UW students have the opportunity to interact with staff, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, other undergraduate students and to perform a variety of duties as needed for each project.

Requirements: UW students must be willing to commit to register for a minimum of two semesters (Fall & Spring) of research credit in the laboratory or have Federal Work-Study funding financial aid. Current positions may have additional requirements. We very rarely accept non-UW students.

How to: Please complete this application and email it to the supervisor listed for the position you are interested in, or the student hiring coordinator, admin@bi.wisc.edu.

Academic year 2014-2015 Undergraduate Research Opportunities

UW Students:

We only consider exceptional UW-Madison undergraduate students able to work in the labs who can commit to at least 2 semesters of research credit activities or Federal Work Study work during Spring and Fall semesters. A GPA of 3.0 or higher is required. If interested, please submit a completed application and unofficial transcript (which you can get through MyUW) to admin@bi.wisc.edu. Please note that it can take several weeks or longer for our scientists to review your application and respond to you.

Experience with any of the following is a plus:

  • Computer programming
  • Statistics
  • Working with children
  • Working in a research lab

Non-UW Students:

We very rarely accept non-UW students. We receive many inquiries from non-UW students who are interested in volunteering with us over the summer or for a single semester. Sadly, we must turn down almost every single inquiry. Due to current employment rules, we cannot accept non-UW-Madison student volunteers except under very specific and limited circumstances. If you are a non-UW-Madison student and wish to participate in the Davidson labs for 2 or more contiguous semesters, please send your CV, transcript & a cover letter explaining why you wish to work in the lab to admin@bi.wisc.edu. Please be sure to detail any prior research experience or special skills you may have.

Project Coordinators interested in bringing on research credit or work-study students for the 2014-2015 academic year:

How to: Please complete this application and email it to the supervisor listed for the position you are interested in, or the student hiring coordinator, admin@bi.wisc.edu.

Volunteer Opportunities

Thanks for your interest in volunteering. While do not have an official volunteer position opening at this time, we encourage you to sign up for e-mail updates and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter to keep apprised of new opportunities to get involved with the Center.

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