Sabine Spijker lands 3.3 M€ grant for Marie Curie consortium

22 April 2013

Prof. Sabine Spijker successfully applied for an Innovative Doctorate Programme, funded by the EU Marie Curie agency. The consortium she will coordinate runs under the title "CognitionNet". A total of 14 doctorate students will be guided towards their graduation in the coming years.

New in this program, as compared with previous versions of Marie Curie ITNs, is that all doctorate students are appointed in the “home-department”. In this case, the Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research (CNCR).

This grant-success coincides perfectly with the inauguration of dr. Sabine Spijker on April 19th. On this day, she officially accepted the Fenna Diemer-Lindeboom position of research professor in “Molecular Mechanisms of Cognition, with a focus on Neuropsychiatric Diseases”.

CognitionNet – Executive Summary

Cognitive abilities change with development and age. Cognitive development during childhood and adolescence depends on an intellectually challenging environment, but is robustly affected in various forms of mental retardation. Adult cognitive abilities are strongly correlated with a person’s success in life. Finally, cognitive decline is an important problem during aging and is accelerated in neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. Lifetime cognitive wellbeing is of the utmost importance in a society where life expectancy and individual demand for socio-economic participation are increasing, and where the financial burden on health care needs to be contained. CognitionNet investigates brain mechanisms of cognition at the molecular, cellular, neural network and behavioural level, both from a basic and a clinical perspective and aims to integrate the results to develop novel treatment options for various forms of cognitive impairment.

The key objective of CognitionNet is to train students to become independent neuroscientists with conceptual and practical skills to solve complex problems in contemporary multilevel brain network analyses. The host institute (the Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research; CNCR) provides an excellent and cross-disciplinary research environment, both in terms of facilities and scientific expertise, with a strong track record as partner/coordinator of large EU collaborative projects (e.g. Eurospin, SynSys, Neurocypres, BrainTrain, Neuromics). In addition, expert-associated partnerships, academic, clinical and private sector, guarantee additional training in related research areas that are gaining importance in modern neuroscience, including computational biology, drug development and IP/patenting issues. Together, CognitionNet is capable of delivering a new generation of cognitive neuroscientists that is fit to face and solve major health problems in the coming decades.