Unraveling the Effects of Music on Sleep through Musicology, Neuroscience, Psychology and Computer Science

Doctoral Network funded by Horizon Europe (HORIZON) Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions 


Music exerts strong effects on the human brain, as evidenced by both subjective emotional reactions and overt changes in neurophysiology: lullabies are known in all cultures and times as an effective sleep aid for children and adults. However, musicology focuses mostly on musical structures, cultural practice or historical contexts, without interaction with empirical neuroscience. The Lullabyte project will for the first time bring leading researchers from musicology, sleep research, neuroscience and computer science together to fill this gap. Within the project, ten Doctoral Candidates will be trained in a radically interdisciplinary research field, and acquire profound skills relevant for industry and the cultural sector. Leveraging state-of-the-art neuroscience laboratories, big sleep datasets gathered with wearable technology, and data science strategies, the Doctoral Candidates will investigate the effects of music on the brain’s transition from wakefulness to sleep, from neurophysiological details of auditory processing in the thalamico-cortical system over changes in sleep structure induced by different kinds of music, to psychological and musicological analyses. Moreover, machine learning strategies will help to algorithmically generate novel, neuroscience-deduced music with particularly strong somnogenic effects. Beyond hands-on training in these research projects with multiple secondments between the ten consortium partners, summer schools and satellite events with active participation of trainers from innovative industry partners and artists will teach Doctoral Candidates complementary skills in technology transfer, entrepreneurship, medical device regulation and public outreach. As a whole, Lullabyte will train a new generation of interdisciplinary researchers, and thus provide the fast growing market of personalized, algorithmically generated music with both a firm scientific basis and the personnel to strengthen Europe’s position in such technologies. 

Doctoral researcher positions will be available, application starts in November 2022.

Topic: Effects of interactive EEG based sonification and music generation, on sleep induction and sleep quality

The PhD student will (i) examine the potential effects of sonic stimulation on the electrical patterns of brainwave activity when sleeping and (ii) explore sonic biofeedback and interactive EEG based sonification, for facilitating relaxation, falling asleep, and for providing better sleep quality.

This project includes secondments at Paris Brain Institute (ICM, Paris) and at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH, Stockholm).

Requirements: M.Sc in Neuroscience, Cognitive Science, Biomedical Engineering, Psychology, or Computer Science;  experience in electronic music production; experience in computer programming (ideally Python); experience in statistics and data processing; proof of English proficiency (e.g. TOEFL or similar test, not for native speakers). Desirable, but not required, are: experience with human-subject experimentation, machine learning, and audio programming (e.g. Pd, Max/MSP)

Secondments: This project includes secondments with Thomas Andrillon (Paris Brain Institute, France) for EEG data measurements and neurophysiological analyses of sleep and with Sandra Pauletto (Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden) for sonification strategies.


Start date (planned): 1st September 2023

Application deadline: 25th April 2023

For application or further information, contact

Prof. Sergi Jordà

Music Technology Group, Department of Information and Communication Technologies (DTIC)
Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona.