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Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 39 | 6. Juli 2012
German-Japan Collaboration in Computational Neuroscience

The Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) have announced the second call for joint funding of German-Japanese cooperative research.

The neurosciences have the potential to develop innovations aimed at solving important and pressing social challenges. Modern neuroscience can make significant contributions to meeting challenges such as ageing societies, the rise of neurodegenerative diseases, and the increasing demand for innovative solutions and approaches for technological applications. They can help identify basic processes and principles relating to brain function and use the insights gained to develop medical and technological applications. In order to make far-reaching progress in our understanding of advanced brain function, the most modern research approaches need to be applied.

Computational Neuroscience is a discipline that provides a theoretical foundation and a number of technical approaches for understanding the principles and dynamics of the nervous system. Building on the theory, methods, and findings of computer science, neuroscience, biology, the mathematical and physical sciences, the social and behavioural sciences, engineering, and other fields, Computational Neuroscience employs a broad spectrum of approaches to study structure, function, organisation and computation across all levels of the nervous system. Thanks to its interdisciplinary approach, computational neuroscience can also significantly accelerate research in the neurosciences and extend its methodology.

International collaboration is an important instrument to further the advances made so far. Collaborative research enables close interaction, brings together diverse research perspectives and expands the range of research partnerships. In Japan and in Germany, considerable efforts have been made in recent years to strengthen the field of Computational Neuroscience and, as a result, strong national communities have been built in both countries. The previous ad hoc collaboration between Japanese and German research groups should now be transferred to a coordinated level.

This initiative focusses on the funding of collaborative research projects that bring together scientists and engineers with complementary experience and training in the experimental and theoretical neurosciences. Proposals for research projects should describe collaborations that bring together the complementary expertise needed to achieve significant advances on challenging interdisciplinary problems. They should include collaborations among computational and/or modelling experts, theorists, and experimental neuroscientists or engineers. Computational research supported under this initiative must relate to biological processes and should lead to hypotheses that are testable in biological studies.

Project descriptions should comply with the structure to be found in the joint guidelines (see below under “Further information”).

In particular the coordination plan should lay out the anticipated exchange of students and scientists including duration, termination, logistics of the stay as well as the tasks of the respective project staff. The maximal number of pages for the different parts includes images and other visual material. Acceptable characters are Courier and Palatino Linotype type size at least 10 pixels as well as Arial and Times New Roman type size at least 11 pixels.

Proposals for the first funding period should be submitted on paper (2 copies) and on CD-ROM no later than 31 August 2012.

Further Information

The joint guidelines for implementation are available at:

Contact person at the DFG:

  • Dr. Jan Kunze,
    Life Sciences 2, Neuroscience,
    German Research Foundation,
    phone: +49 228 885-2297,
    Fax: +49 228 885-2777,
    Jan.Kunze@dfg.de

Contact person at the DFG Office Japan:

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