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Information for Researchers No. 3 | 13 January 2016
Priority Programme „Resolving and Manipulating Neuronal Networks in the Mammalian Brain – from Correlative to Causal Analysis” (SPP 1665)

The Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has established in 2012 a Priority Programme entitled “Resolving and Manipulating Neuronal Networks in the Mammalian Brain – from Correlative to Causal Analysis” (SPP 1665). The programme is designed to run for six years. Applications are now invited for the second three-year period of this Priority Programme.

The mammalian brain accounts for complex sensory, motor, and cognitive abilities by processing environmental and internal information within neuronal networks. Their patterns of activity, such as oscillatory rhythms, create a precise temporal order within the brain by timing the neuronal firing. It is thought that the spatiotemporal orchestration of neuronal activity in neuronal networks is essential for generating defined behavioural outputs.

The Priority Programme aims at identifying causal relationships between the activity of single neurons within networks and behaviour by taking advantage of recently developed new recording and imaging techniques as well as neurotechnology and optogenetic tools. Emphasis will be laid on sensory-motor and cognitive processing. Investigations shall be performed at different levels of network complexity, ranging from single neurons and microcircuits to large-scale cortico-subcortical neuronal networks. Both adult and developmental aspects will be covered. Specifically, applications are invited for studies that monitor and manipulate behaviourally-relevant neuronal activity using new experimental and analysis tools, which will be developed and validated in collaborative efforts. As a general rule, projects should be of collaborative nature (“troika collaborations”) and include “experimenters”, i.e. groups resolving or manipulating neuronal activity, “toolmakers”, i.e. groups developing and validating the recording and manipulation methods, and “analysts”, i.e. groups analysing and modelling network dynamics or dissecting the functional readout. Justified exceptions may be granted (please contact the coordinator for advice).

The following areas are explicitly excluded: merely descriptive and correlative investigation, clinical studies without a basic research focus, neuroprosthetics, neuronal processing in peripheral nervous system, synapse and ion channel physiology, studies in non-mammalian species.

Applications for the second three-years funding period should be written in English. Deadline for proposal submission is 16 March 2016. Proposals must be submitted via the DFG’s electronic submission system “elan”, selecting “SPP 1665”. In addition to submitting your proposal to the DFG, please send an electronic version (pdf format) to the Priority Programme’s coordinator (see below).

All proposals should follow the guidelines in DFG forms 50.05 (Priority Programmes, Part B) and 54.01 (Project Proposals). If you are using the “elan” system for the first time, please note that you need to register yourself and your institutional addresses before being able to submit a proposal. Also, if you are planning to move to a different institution (e.g. with a Temporary Position for Principal Investigators) you need to register the new institutional address beforehand. Please make sure that all applicants of your project start their registration at the latest two weeks before the submission deadline. The registration requests are handled manually by DFG staff.

The envisaged start of the second funding period is September 2016.

Further information

Further information can be obtained at:

The DFG’s electronic portal “elan” can be found at:

Forms and guidelines can be downloaded at:

Contact person for questions related to the Priority Programme is the scientific coordinator:

Contact person for questions related to the application or review process:

Contact person for administrative matters: