Like the title says, what are new and exciting research areas or applications in systems neuroscience? I know the question is a broad one, so let me narrow it down a bit:

I will get my master's degree in about year from now. Currently, I have published two papers related to fMRI data analysis. I'm also familiar with PET. So, I am actually looking for a topic for my PhD.

I have considered taking part in some existing research group at my university, but to be honest, I'm not really excited about what they are doing. It seems to me that they are reinventing things (which I think is also evident from their publications records - for example, my current advisor's publications have not received much citations expect from herself).

So, the problem is that I know the basic things in my field, but nothing that could be the next big thing.

I would like to have a PhD topic on something that is new, and has potential. Any suggestions?

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    $\begingroup$ The thing is, this has to be a very personal decision for you. I like that you've narrowed it down at least a bit, but this is sort of like asking "what are the good foods in New York City?" I think the only answer to this is read as much as you humanly can, and when something catches your eye, find a related article, and keep going from there. $\endgroup$ – Chuck Sherrington Jul 13 '13 at 17:17
  • $\begingroup$ A question like this would be more suitable on Academics.SE, when generalized (to any field) I believe. In case you are still looking for guidance with this I suggest you rephrase your question there. $\endgroup$ – Steven Jeuris Sep 11 '13 at 22:10

As Chuck says in his comment, read, read, read - as you do, consider the following factors for your potential PhD:

  • What topics are PhD projects in available at the universities that you are considering. Be sure to check not only the project availability, but also the research interests of academics.

  • A PhD is quite a commitment, which topic would light that 'fire' in you to the extent that it could become a lifelong vocation.

As you read, read, read - ask questions of the academics in that field, download their papers and have a look at what directions that particular research is taking.

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