Brussels, 20 Jan 2004
The European Commission has pledged almost €2 million to fund a super centre in Germany for post-graduate research in neurosciences.
The new PhD training centre – within the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Biophysical Chemistry – will link up a host of other institutes in Germany's Göttingen region specialising in research and science.
The plan is to attract between ten and 15 of the world's best PhD students to take part in a multidisciplinary research programme, ranging from molecular biology to applied neurobiology.
As part of its commitment to improving research fundamentals in Europe, the EU's executive branch, the European Commission, has set aside €1.7 million to fund the new training centre called 'Neurest' – Neuroscience Early Stage Training.
Once in full swing later this year, the centre will employ around 40 staff under the direction of Reinhard Jahn, head of MPI's Department of Neurobiology. Their ambition is to create a truly world-class neuroscience centre in the heart of Europe, boosting the formidable reputation of other learning centres in the area, such as MPI for Experimental Medicine, the European Neuroscience Institute and the Primate Research Centre.
Marie Curie scholars
Erwin Neher, Nobel Prize laureate in physiology or medicine and director of the Membrane Biophysics Departments at MPI, thinks the project will bring scores of fresh ideas to the institutions in and around the central German city. "[The] students will be able to benefit from [the] unusual breadth and quality of research that is being done at Göttingen," he is quoted as saying.
Understanding how the brain works is a major scientific challenge and the chief reason why neurosciences are a rapidly growing area of research, according to the Research Directorate-General. By investing in such projects, the EU recognises the valuable role that post-grad training plays in medical breakthroughs and eventual treatments and products.
The Commission's Marie Curie scholarships for PhD students doing research at Neurest should also encourage greater mobility amongst young scientists, while encouraging critical research on brain diseases, such as dementia and Alzheimer's, which is especially important as Europe's population ages.