Marian Joëls (representing FENS) and Sten Grillner (representing IBRO) sign the documents formalizing the new
Cajal Neuroscience Training Programme in Europe. This centre-of-excellence program will establish two
high-level, coordinated and dedicated training facilities for neuroscience within Europe.




On July 3, 2014, in Milan, the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) and IBRO formalized the agreement creating the Cajal Advanced Neuroscience Training Programme, high-level neuroscience training courses that will take place at two state-of-the-art training centers in Europe. FENS President Marian Joëls and IBRO Secretary-General Sten Grillner signed the official document launching the collaboration.

The two training centers chosen for this prestigious program are the University of Bordeaux (France) and the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown (Lisbon, Portugal).

Since the initiation of the FENS-IBRO European Neuroscience Schools Programme in 2006, more than 1000 neuroscience students from throughout the European continent have received training through two-week neuroscience schools. However, despite the recognized position of European neuroscience and brain research as leading in multiple fields of neuroscience, a high-level, coordinated and dedicated training facility for neuroscience has not yet existed in Europe, similar to Cold Spring Harbor or Woods Hole in the United States.

Therefore FENS, with IBRO as a full partner, decided to replace their Schools Programme with a Centre of Excellence Programme to draw participants from throughout Europe. The plan is to provide approximately six training activities per year, with courses spanning five years.

“The establishment of a prominent site for state-of-the-art European neuroscience training courses is important for the sustained development of the next generation of neuroscientists,” said Professor Joëls.

The course program will start in 2015, with two courses in Bordeaux and one in Champalimaud. After next year, the program will scale up to a steady rate of at least four advanced training courses in Bordeaux per year, starting in 2016, with two other courses at the Champalimaud campus.

“Due to the high complementarity between the Bordeaux and Champalimaud venues, the absolute range of courses that may be offered through such a dual model will be quite remarkable with respect to topics, disciplines and technical infrastructure,” said Professor Grillner. “IBRO’s commitment will ensure that the trainings held at the Centres of Excellence will also be open for students from outside of Europe.”

The University of Bordeaux
With its new Neurocampus facility – 15 000 m² dedicated to neuroscience research –  to be completed by the end of 2014, Bordeaux has become one of the most attractive sites across Europe for neuroscience research. More than 50 research groups are organized in institutes and research units affiliated to the University of Bordeaux, the CNRS, the INSERM and the INRA. Bordeaux has a history of organizing attractive courses within the FENS /IBRO schools programme.

The new advanced courses organized in Bordeaux will greatly benefit from technical facilities equipped with the best up-to-date equipment in Molecular and Cellular imaging, functional imaging in vivo, functional genomics , animal behavior, human behavior and psychopharmacology, and a movement analysis platform. The Bordeaux Neuroscience Training Centre for the Cajal Programme will be headed by Christophe Mulle, an executive director at the Bordeaux Neurocampus federation who has chaired a FENS/IBRO Bordeaux training site (the European Synapse Summer School) since 2006.

The Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown 
The Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown – a state-of-the-art biomedical research facility with an impressive new set of buildings located directly on the Atlantic coast of Lisbon, Portugal – houses the Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme (CNP), which hosts around 150 scientists and staff is lead by 15 independent investigators.

CNP laboratories apply advanced molecular, physiological and imaging techniques to elucidate the function of neural circuits and systems in animal models that include Drosophila, mouse, rat and zebrafish. Zachary F. Mainen, director of the Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme, will also serve as the director of the Champalimaud Neuroscience Training Centre for the Cajal Programme.

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