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"Research in Germany" at the 47th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience

DFG Leibniz Lecture with Frank Bradke and the Neuroscience in Germany XXIV Social

(11/27/17) Only a few cities in the US have the capacity to host a conference with more than 30,000 attendees. Washington, DC, is one of these cities and from November 11-15, 2017 neuroscientists from across the globe gathered in the US capital for the 47th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.

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"Neuroscience in Germany" representatives at the 47th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Washington, DC

As in previous years, presentations, symposiums and workshops set the tone of the conference. But the defining character of the SfN is best understood through the poster sessions in the large exhibition hall, where young investigators present their research with great enthusiasm. Over 13,000 posters were on display at the conference this year.

Aside from the many poster sessions the crowded exhibition hall also included the prominently displayed “Neuroscience in Germany”. Staff onsite included numerous representatives of institutions like the German Clusters of Excellence in Neuroscience, the German Graduate Schools for Neuroscience, the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Berlin, the Einstein Center for Neurosciences Berlin, the Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research (HIH), the Max-Planck-Society as well as the German Center for Research and Innovation (GCRI) in New York. Participants of the “Research in Germany” initiative included the American Friends of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Visitors at the booth

Visitors at the "Neuroscience in Germany" booth

The joint Neuroscience booth was established in 2014 and has proven to be extremely successful for all participants. The booth also has grown steadily over the years: initially existing only as a “German Row” of booths with the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Berlin and the German Graduate Schools for Neuroscience, the booth was expanded with the participation of the "Research in Germany" initiative and the NeuroClusters. In the last two years, the Einstein Center for Neurosciences Berlin (2016) as well as the Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research (HIH) and the Max Planck Society (2017) joined the booth as the newest members of the joint “Neuroscience in Germany” booth.

By joining forces, the booth became a one-stop-shop to Germany with a wide selection of offerings ranging from doctoral programs, short-term stays and funding opportunities for international cooperation to visiting professor positions, graduate programs and open job positions. All in all, the representatives at the booth met with almost 600 visitors in four days, a sign that interest in Germany remains high. One US researcher visiting the booth explained that “everyone from my lab has been to Germany and for the last five years it seems like Germany is the place to be, so now I am interested in going as well.”

The wide range of visitors to the booth included not only undergraduates but also American psychiatrist, physiologist, neuroscientist, behavioral biologist and biochemist Eric Kandel, who was awarded with the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.


Nobel laureate Eric Kandel at the

Nobel laureate Eric Kandel at the "Research in Germany"-booth

Informational material on funding opportunities, open positions and the many neuroscientific institutes in Germany was highly sought after: "I am going to Berlin in a few months for a research stay and I am so excited," proclaimed an excited participant. It was remarkable to see that after participating in the annual meeting for numerous years, real-life success stories thanks to the "Research in Germany" initiative are now hitting the booth as well: "I came to the Research in Germany booth six years ago and was at ASET then and decided to move to Germany and you are the reason why”.

Neuroscience in Germany XXIII Social

Prof. Dr. Frank Bradke from the University of Bonn during the Leibniz Lecture

Prof. Dr. Frank Bradke from the University of Bonn during the Leibniz Lecture

On Monday evening, DFG Leibniz Prize awardee Prof. Dr. Frank Bradke from the University of Bonn presented his lecture „Link auf PDF-DateiMechanisms of Axon Growth and Regeneration” to a packed audience. Following a brief introduction by Dr. Rainer Gruhlich, Director of the DFG North America Office, Prof. Bradke discussed his research on how neurons initially polarize to generate and extend their axon and demonstrated how his group exploits the underlying developmental mechanisms to elicit axon regeneration in the adult after a spinal cord injury. Among the numerous participants in the audience were Leibniz Prize winner Prof. Magdalena Götz, Prof. Benedikt Grothe, Prof. Eckhard Friauf, Prof. Rüdiger Klein, Prof. Albrecht Stroh and Prof. Marc Spehr.

The Leibniz Lecture was followed by the traditional German Social, this year jointly organized by the "Research in Germany" initiative and the Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research. A crowd of more than 200 guests gathered in the ballroom of the Washington Plaza Hotel and exchanged ideas and contacts among scientists interested in research cooperation with and career opportunities in Germany.

Monday evening’s guests, like the visitors to the booth and even other exhibitors, made mention of how wonderfully Germany was represented at the conference.

DFG North America Office

In 2002, the DFG opened its first North America office in Washington, D.C. A New York City office followed in 2007. The mission of both offices is to facilitate research cooperation between North America and Germany, and to support young German researchers on a DFG-fellowship during their stay.

International Research Marketing

With "International Research Marketing" - a joint project funded by the BMBF - the DFG together with AvH, DAAD and FhG promote Germany as a research locationto improve the international visibility of top-class research in Germany.