European University NeurotechEU looks back on the initial funding phase

The Board of Rectors meeting of the European University NeurotechEU took place i
The Board of Rectors meeting of the European University NeurotechEU took place in Stockholm. - Rector Michael Hoch (4th from left) with the rectors of the partner institutions. © Erik Flyg all images in original size .

Meeting of the delegations in Stockholm

"NeurotechEU - the European University of Brain and Technology" held its fifth Board of Rectors meeting at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. This semiannual meeting of university rectors, organized by an Alliance member institution, was for the first time attended by other staff members involved in the project.

The main purpose of the meeting was to take a look back at the first of the three funding phases, which primarily concerned the pilot and establishment phase of the European University. The discussion focused on the development of organizational and management structures and of the digital framework, as well as ways in which the Alliance has successfully resolved administrative and intercultural challenges. "NeurotechEU has developed into a leading international institution in the neurosciences during the short period of time since its formation," University of Bonn Rector Dr. h.c. Michael Hoch commented. "Alliances with partners of excellence around the world are at the heart of our strategic approach. The European University is exemplary as a collaboration promoting internationalization in research and in teaching among top-level institutions across Europe."

NeurotechEU will soon be moving into the second phase of project funding, in which the aim is to deconstruct barriers between organizational units and the partner universities. "The purpose of this alliance is two-fold: to manifest multidisciplinary education for students in the field of neurotechnology up to and including the doctoral level, and to promote lifelong learning across all areas of society," explains Birgit Ulrike Münch, University of Bonn Vice Rector for International Affairs. "NeurotechEU is thus promoting European integration and the competitiveness of European education, research and business on the international stage."

There are 44 European university alliances currently, under which 340 higher education institutions throughout Europe are organized. The NeurotechEU university alliance concerns the functioning of the brain as well as functional disorders which cause numerous disorders and disabilities. In Europe alone, neurological disorders - which include dementia, vision loss and depression - account for 25% of all health conditions. Transdisciplinary international cooperation in the field of neuroscience and related technological development is thus extremely important.

First place for a team of Bonn doctoral students at the Hackathon

In parallel to the meeting of NeurotechEU leaders, the university alliance conducted its first-ever Hackathon. The University of Bonn awarded five scholarships to winning students from the participating degree programs. Hackathon participants were tasked with coming up with the most creative solutions possible for dealing with a contemporary mental health issue. First place went to University of Bonn doctoral candidate Mohamad Hajo and his team, who presented a project titled "Xinder - be someone’s someone". The team developed a concept for a first-aid app for sufferers of panic attacks.

NeurotechEU represented at a high-profile conference

The annual Strategic Research Area Neuroscience (StratNeuro) conference was held in Stockholm (just ahead of the NeurotechEU Rectors meeting), devoted to discussing ways of integrating clinical research and basic research. Members of NeurotechEU were invited to the conference for the first time. Christian Henneberger of the NeurotechEU project management team was one of the three attendees from Bonn. Participation in this important conference by NeurotechEU enabled dialogue with other international researchers, which is crucial for the university alliance to broaden its network even further.