FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

 General

  What is Computational Neuroscience?

Computational neuroscience is a rapidly expanding subject focused on understanding and modeling the brain, while helping to design and interpret future experiments. This school aims to promote computational neuroscience in Africa by bringing together international and local students under the tutelage of world-leading experts in the field.

  What is Imbizo?

Imbizo is a Xhosa word meaning “a gathering to share knowledge”. The IBRO-Simons Computational Neuroscience Imbizo, or isiCNI is exactly that: an opportunity for African and international students to learn about cutting edge research techniques in computational neuroscience

  How long has Imbizo been running?

The first Imbizo was held in January 2017 in Muizenberg, Cape Town. 2023 will be the 6th Imbizo, as the 2021 Imbizo was postponed during the COVID19 global shutdown.

  Who should apply?

The school is aimed at students who are completing their masters or beginning their doctoral studies, though well motivated and advanced undergraduates or postdoctoral students should also apply. Students should have a good quantitative background: e.g. 2nd year university level experience in physics, engineering, statistics or computer science, etc. Experimental neuroscientists with some quantitative/coding experience who think the imbizo will strengthen these skills should also apply. All students should have some experience writing code.

  What level of students can apply?

MSc Physics student: Has a bachelors in physical sciences (e.g. physics / statistics / mathematics / computer science). Has taken 1st-year level courses in biology / electives in psychology, etc.

PhD Neuroscience candidate: Has a bachelors in biological science, has completed 2nd-year level courses in statistics / applied mathematics / bioinformatics. Now in Masters/PhD. Has some experience writing code.

Post-doctoral researcher in Machine Learning: This school will be most beneficial for postgraduate students and postdocs who want to fast track their education in the quantitative aspects of neuroscience.

 Dates, Location and Schedule

  When is Imbizo 2023?

Arrival day: Wednesday 12 April

Imbizo dates: Thursday 13 April to Saturday 6 May

Departure day: Sunday 7 May

  Where does Imbizo take place?

At “The Team House’ in Noordhoek, Cape Town, South Africa. Noordhoek lies on the Atlantic seaboard, below Chapman’s Peak on the west coast of the Peninsula, some 35 kilometres from the City Centre. The Team House is a 13 bedroom guesthouse that acts as ‘Imbizo headquarters’ where students stay, lectures take place and most meals are eaten.

  How busy is the schedule?

The Imbizo is a full-on, totally immersive experience with a FULL schedule. You will be required to be onsite at Imbizo for the duration and no personal off-campus activities are permitted. We do appreciate that everyone has their own ’social energy’ quota and as such understand that some personal time is very important too. Whether on the beach or in your shared room, there will be moments for reflection. We do expect, however, for you to engage in the planned social activities which occur 3-4 times per week. By applying, you commit to twenty-five subsequent days of intense science, socialising, and fun.

  I have friends in Cape Town and want to see them on the off days. Can I do this?

Students are required to attend and actively participate in the entire course, including all scientific sessions and excursions/off days. Please do not make any personal plans for the time of your stay. If you have an emergency or need to leave the Imbizo please do come and speak to the Organisers.

Costs and Scholarships

  How much is the course fee?

Course fee for 2023 is € 1200. The actual cost of a single course fee amounts to around €5000 per person

  What does the course fee include?

All accommodation, meals, social activities and ground transport in Cape Town

  What does the course fee exclude?

You will be responsible for covering the cost of your travel to and from Cape Town

All visa costs and related admin to apply(see below for more information)

All travel vaccinations costs (if required)

Travel & medical insurance

  Are there any scholarships?

Yes! Thanks to our generous sponsors, significant financial assistance is available to reduce and waive fees for students, as well as to provide some travel bursaries. If you need financial assistance to attend the Imbizo, please state so clearly in the relevant section of your application. Scholarships are distributed on the basis of merit and need.

  What types of scholarships are there?

  1. Full Scholarship includes a waived course fee (€ 1200) and your economy class travel to Cape Town, which will be booked by the Imbizo
  2. Partial Scholarship includes a waived course fee and a set financial contribution towards your travel costs. The amount will vary on a case by case basis.
  3. Course Scholarship include a waived course fee but you will be responsible to book and pay for your own travel costs to Cape Town

Travel

  Who books my flight to Cape Town?

Flights for students who are awarded a full scholarship will be booked and paid for by the Imbizo. All other students are required to book, manage and pay for their own travel expenses. For students booking their own travel we suggest booking flights early as availability to Cape Town can be limited. Students booking their own travel will be required to send a copy of their e-ticket to the Imbizo Committee no less than 8 weeks prior to arrival in Cape Town

  What about visas?

The Imbizo acknowledges that the visa application process can be a tricky one and we will provide supporting documents to make the process easier where we can. The documents we can provide are only:

  • Invitation letter (incl. scholarship award if applicable)
  • Proof of accommodation
  • Flight itinerary (not a purchased flight - flight only booked upon visa confirmation)

Be aware that a visa can take a few months to apply for and receive - apply as soon as you are accepted

The Imbizo is not a visa or travel agency and does not have connections with SA Embassies in the various countries. Responsibility remains on the student to find out their individual visa requirements by contacting the SA Embassy in the country they live in. Students must keep the Imbizo Committee up to date of the status of their visa application at all times.

The Imbizo is aware that some countries are part of the new e-visa program rolled out by the SA Dept Home Affairs. Unfortunately this system does not work, and we must request that all students apply in person at the SA Embassy in the country they live in. If you have any questions please contact us directly to discuss.

Accommodation, food and venue

  Where do lectures take place?

At The Team House

  What kind of food will we eat?

Delicious and nutritious breakfast, lunch and dinner will be served each day, starting with dinner on 12 April. Meals will either be at The Team House or at nearby restaurants. We are able to provide for vegetarian dietary requirements only. Should you have any food allergies please let us know and we will provide suitable alternatives where applicable

  What is the accommodation set up?

In the spirit of Imbizo and togetherness, accommodation is in shared dorm rooms where you may be sharing with up to 3 other people of the same gender. Most of the bedrooms are en suite but two rooms make use of a general shared bathroom in the corridor. Bedding and towels are provided by the venue. Sleeping in dorm style accommodation can take some getting used to and you may find your sleep patterns will need some tweaking. Some students have benefitted from bringing ear plugs with them

  What facilities are available at/close to the venue?

The Team House is a large basic guesthouse with fast internet, multiple outdoor areas including a sea facing terrace and garden and quiet lounge areas where you can relax. Noordhoek is a quiet suburb with no shops within walking distance. The Imbizo provides a regular shuttle service (2-3 times per week) to the nearby shopping mall so you will be able to buy or replace anything you run out of or forgot to bring. The mall has a pharmacy/drugstore, a huge grocery store, clothing shops, cellular network shops, ATMs etc. A complimentary laundry service will be provided for all students and TAs once a week.