Connecting European Neuroscience

Winter 2011 Issue

Message from the FENS President  

Sten Grillner - FENS President 2010-2012
Sten Grillner,
FENS President

Our brains are us!!
Our brains determine who we are - genes in interaction with experience and the local environment, determine how we respond to challenges, our personality and temper! Moreover, in the entire animal kingdom the different nervous systems determine the behavioural repertoire of any species from jelly-fish to primates.

Does brain research get the public support that would seem reasonable?? One limited way to consider this could be to estimate the societal costs for diseases of the brain. In fact, Jes Olesen and colleagues (2005) of the European Brain Council estimated that in Europe, Japan and North America the costs were 33 – 35% of the entire costs for health care in any given country. The chronic nature of many psychiatric and neurological diseases makes patients and families suffer for a long time, and as a consequence the costs for health care become very high. With this as a background one could argue that it would be logical for organisations like Medical Research Councils to allot a similar proportion of their grants to research related to brain disease mechanisms, prevention, therapy and of course basic aspects required to understand the mode of operation of the nervous systems from the gene to the behavioural level. The support of neuroscience in most countries is currently far from that level. If one could find a magic bullet for prevention or treatment of any of these diseases this would be important for patients, families and not least for the healthcare budget. This may seem overly optimistic, but consider diseases like polio that up to my childhood was considered enigmatic and surrounded by a variety of myths. In a few years after the discovery of the virus, a vaccine was developed, and soon the disease was practically eradicated.

The brain is important for many aspects of life outside the medical field! Most of us are puzzled by the many outstanding qualities of the brain, take the remarkable ability of the toddler to pick up word after word, put them together to strings of words, sentences and create rules for the sequence of words in a given language, or how the many different creatures on the earth communicate, or how birds are able to migrate over the entire globe and return to the same spot that they came from originally.

Brains intersect at every aspect of life in each species and deserve being studied. A focus on model organisms like mice, zebrafish, fruitfly and C. elegans may be motivated, but one must at the same time remember that there are other species that may be more advantageous to answer specific questions, like at one time the squid giant axon!! All these aspects of enigmatic and interesting brain functions need to be supported by funding agencies/divisions not primarily concerned with the medical scene, but rather with life sciences, education and applications into information or bio-inspired technologies or even robotics. The possibility of support for research will never be endless – but it is depressing to note that European funding levels (mostly well below 1% of GNP) are far behind countries like South Korea and Singapore. One could argue that it is upon us all to contribute to an understanding of the importance of neuroscience in many perspectives, and thereby also the needs.



Editorial from the chairman Communication and Publication Committee  

Jacques Epelbaum
Jacques Epelbaum

Dear FENS members,
The President’s editorial might appear pessimistic on the present funding of neuroscience research in Europe and this would not be surprising given the general state of the European economy. However, it is not meant to be depressing. On the contrary, it argues better for the funding of neurosciences. In this respect, a note of hope comes from Oscar Marin’s summary of his experience within the European Research Council.

In this issue, we are beginning a series of descriptions of important European institutions. We begin with the 111 year-old Cajal Institute in Madrid and the less than 1 year-old Brain and Spine Institute in Paris, a new type of organization (at least for France) concerning neuroscience research. Jean-Marc Fritschy and Martin Sarter, the editors in Chief of the journal provide some insight on the impact of EJN on the European neuroscience community and they announce the EJN Best Publication Award. You will also find some general information about the FENS Schools programme 2011 and about the FENS position on the new European directive on animals in research as well as a call from Lucio Annunziato inviting you to participate in the 8th International Brain Organization (IBRO) meeting, which will be held in Florence, 14-18 July 2011. Finally, do not hesitate to propose symposia for the next FENS FORUM in Barcelona until the end of February 2011.

Enjoy your reading and do not hesitate to communicate with us.



The ERC experience: Neuroscience funding in the champions league  

Oscar Marin
Oscar Marin

The European Research Council (ERC) was established in 2007 with the objectives of reinforcing excellence, dynamism and creativity in European research and of improving the attractiveness of Europe for researchers from all over the world. To this end, ERC provides competitive research funding at the frontiers of knowledge without predefined thematic priorities and using excellence as the sole criterion for evaluation.

For the time being, two schemes, Starting Grants and Advanced Grants, have been designed. Both types of grants target individual researchers at different stages of their career: Starting Grants are directed at excellent scientists who are either establishing or consolidating their first independent research group; Advance Grants aim to identify senior scientists that are at the forefront of their fields. Within either of these schemes, researchers propose research projects in any field of research with the emphasis on high risk, interdisciplinary research. Projects are evaluated by panels that cover all fields of science, engineering and scholarship assigned to three research domains: Social Sciences and Humanities (6 Panels, SH1–SH6), Physical Sciences and Engineering (10 Panels, PE1–PE10), Life Sciences (9 Panels, LS1–LS9). Neuroscience is one of the panels within the Life Science domain, LS5.

So far, three ERC Starting Grant calls and two Advanced Grant calls have been finalized (a third Advance Grant call is almost finished and a fourth Starting Grant call is already under evaluation). Considering only the first five calls, ERC has received approximately 20,000 proposals for funding, of which approximately 1,500 projects have been seselected for funding. This clearly shows that the ERC grant schemes are addressing a real demand from the European research community. Obviously, this demand has also led to relatively low success rates (as low as 3% in the first call), which are beginning to stabilize between 10-15% with the increased budget that the ERC receives every year.

Outcome of the first calls
As expected from a highly competitive program, the distribution of ERC grants has not been even across the Member States and Associated countries. A careful examination of the data reveals that the share of the total number of grants to institutions in the UK, Switzerland, Netherlands, Israel and Spain is relatively high in comparison to those countries' share of Europe's total research expenditure. The share of the total number of grants to institutions in Germany is relatively low in comparison to Germany's very significant share of Europe's total research expenditure, although this might be explained by a relative delayed interest by the German scientific community in the ERC programs.

It is interesting to note that the ERC has already an important effect on benchmarking research centers in Europe. The results so far show that some top institutions in some countries are able to attract talented and competitive researchers better that others. The majority of the selected European nationals choose a host institution in their home country, but some countries are much better in attracting talent from foreign nationals than others. This is the case for Swiss and UK research institutions, which are able to attract a high number of researchers from other European countries and overseas. Another interesting observation is related to specialization: some institutions are very prominent in Life Sciences, but not in Social Sciences, for example.
One of the most powerful potential impacts of the ERC is to stimulate structural change in the European research system by demonstrating where the system is or is not currently excellent. There is already evidence that the benchmark provided by the ERC has played an important role in national policy developments. For example, it is noticeable that countries and institutions have started to react by implementing incentive systems for applicants, and also by providing support to nationals who have successfully passed the ERC competition but were not funded due to the limited budget of the ERC.

The ERC and the Neurosciences

Grants awarded by the Neuroscience panel represent roughly 10-15% of the entire Life Science domain, which is a sizable portion. Consistent with other panels, analysis of the distribution of Neuroscience grant holders from first five calls of the ERC reveal a rather heterogeneous distribution. The most successful institutions in the field of Neuroscience concentrate in UK, Germany, France and Switzerland, with University College London being the institution that holds more grantees. Interestingly, detailed analysis of the career paths followed by successful applicants reveal common patterns: more than 80% of grant holders in the Neuroscience panel have received their PhD in Europe, and almost 70% of them have significant postdoctoral experience in the USA. Thus, Europe is very competitive in educating scientists in the field of Neuroscience, but the most competitive researchers carry out postdoctoral training outside of Europe. Strengthening funding at the highest level within Europe may contribute to reversing this trend, making our research more competitive.

Oscar Marín Founding member of the Scientific Council of the ERC (2005-2010)

Present and future perspectives for oldest Neuroscience Institute in Spain: the “Instituto Cajal” (CSIC)  

Cajal Institute, Madrid
Cajal Institute, Madrid

Research in Neuroscience has a longstanding and productive tradition in Spain – mainly inspired by the Nobel Prize winner Santiago Ramón y Cajal and his disciples, for whom the “Instituto Cajal” (IC) was initially conceived. In 1939, the Spanish Government created the National Research Council under the name of Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC) and the IC became one of the first centers of this new institution. Today, the CSIC is a nationwide organization with well over a hundred research centers located around the country, twenty three of which belong to the areas of Biology and Biomedicine. The IC is one of two CSIC centers fully devoted to research in Neuroscience.

Following the steps of its founder, research at the IC initially focused in Neurohistology and Histopathology. In 1985, the Institute was restructured through the recruitment of scientists from other fields of Neuroscience and incorporated research in Electrophysiology, Cell and Molecular Biology, Genetics, Neural Development, Neuropharmacology and Behavior. The Institute moved to its present location in downtown Madrid, a building of 4,500 square meters, where space is now quite tight owing to the increase in staff during these last twenty years. Currently, the IC houses over 30 independent research teams and around 200 researchers, with an operating cost of close to 9 million EUR per year that is mainly gathered from public funds .

From its inception, the Cajal Institute has decisively contributed to the advance of Neuroscience and has hosted and shaped many of the neuroscientists that now populate the different Spanish (and non-Spanish) research centers. During almost one century of life, the Institute has become a center of worldwide reputation, building on the important contributions of its founder to the present day. Current Institute staffs are selected by a tightly competitive system according to the high standards of the CSIC. The Institute is equipped to perform competitive research in different areas. Its active scientific life is reflected in many national and international collaborations and the mean impact factor of its publications (5.2, ISI factor) compares well with institutes of similar size worldwide.

Currently, the institute is organized in two main departments: Functional and Systems Neurobiology, and Cellular, Molecular and Developmental Neurobiology, which intend to agglutinate research in all major areas of neuroscience. The focus of the IC research can be described in five major lines:

  • Mechanisms of neural specification: the cellular and molecular basis of neural development and their impact on diseases of the adult.
  • The neuro-vascular unit: comprising of neuron-glia-endothelial interactions; specifically functional analysis of the glia-neuron dyad, blood-brain-barrier physiology, and related pathology.
  • Processing of neural signals: encompassing neural circuits and behavior together with analysis of neuronal signaling and synchrony. Brain-machine interface is also an important aspect of this line of research.
  • Neuroprotection and regeneration: with particular focus on neurogenesis, cell therapy, and exploitation of endogenous neuroprotective loops.
  • Systemic modulators of brain function: directing efforts to the understanding of the intense cross-talk between the periphery and the brain and its consequence in brain diseases.

Aware of its permanent commitment to excellence, the IC is preparing to cope with current challenges of modern neuroscience research. For this reason it is planned that the Institute will move to a new location at the Alcala University Campus in the outskirts of Madrid. The new facilities will provide state-of-the-art support and much needed space to allow a highly ambitious expansion of the Institute. It is intended that the new centre in Alcala will constitute a major hub of neuroscience research in the CSIC. Therefore, new staff will be recruited following the highest standards of selection. Taking advantage of its new location in the proximity of a university hospital and its permanent commitment to societal demands, the new IC will build a stronger link with clinical neuroscience, developing focused research programs in neuro-repair and cognitive neuroscience. This development will require renovated efforts in the implementation of disease modeling, neuro-prosthetics and novel therapies.

On October 26, 2010, the Parliament declared 2012 as the “Year of Neuroscience” in Spain when, coincidentally, the city of Barcelona will host the 8th FENS Forum. Taking advantage of these events, the entire IC staff is actively working to offer its renovated look to the international neuroscience society.

Ignacio Torres-Aleman and Paola Bovolenta

Ignacio Torres-Aleman is Full Professor and Director of the IC, CSIC.

Paola Bovolenta is Full Professor at the IC and Coordinator of the Biology and Biomedicine Area of the CSIC.




The Brain and Spine Institute (“Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle”: ICM) is a state-approved private-non-profit neuroscience research foundation that began operating at the end of 2010. It is an innovative pilot project, located within the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital complex in Paris, the largest hospital in France, and one of the world’s foremost centers for the management of patients with diseases of the nervous system. The ICM provides state-of-the-art facilities for more than 600 researchers and technicians from all over the world. The aim is to provide both the best knowledge within the field of basic science and to find new treatments so as to relieve, cure, prevent, and repair disorders of the brain and spinal cord.

The first characteristic of ICM is scientific excellence. The researchers recruited to date have been selected according to highly rigorous requirements. Nineteen research teams from INSERM and CNRS have been selected by the National Evaluation Agency. Moreover, five independent new research teams have been selected by a completely independent international jury of experts.

Research laboratories for about 600 researchers, technicians and other personal occupy 22,500 m2 in a superb building that was conceived by the architect Jean Michel Wilmotte. The building has the shape of an “H”, reminiscent of a brain with its two “hemispheres” and is linked by a central “corpus callosum” to ensure the traffic between the two halves of the building. The eight floors (2,500 m2 each) are organized into four laboratories on each floor (each at the extremities of the “H”). The central linking section of the building will house core facilities so that most of the experiments will be undertaken in modern mutualized platforms: neuroimaging (one 11.7 Tesla NMR for animals; four NMR for humans, including three 3 Tesla NMR and one 7 Tesla NMR), cell culture, cellular imaging, histology, vectorology, genotyping etc…).

Another characteristic of ICM is its location within the Salpêtrière hospital, one of the biggest hospitals in Europe, where 85,000 patients with diseases of the nervous system are attended each year (neurology, psychiatry, neurosurgery, rehabilitation). The aim is to eliminate barriers between clinicians and scientists and to reinforce research from bedside to bench and from bench to bedside. The main idea is to provide ideal conditions for translational research and clinical trials. For this purpose, one floor of the building hosts a Clinical Research Center, comprising of 14 beds so that the investigators will have access to the patients, but also to biological data, brain tissues and DNA bank resources. On one hand, the goal is to find out a more symptomatic treatment to alleviate symptoms such as depression, epilepsy, movement disorders, … but the real challenge for the future is to contribute to the discovery of curative and preventive treatments, in particular in the field of neurodegenerative disorders. This is not an easy task due to the extreme complexity of the structure of the human brain. Nevertheless, we hope to find new ways to restore brain function using new technologies such as a grafting and gene therapy, hoping to restore some functions inpatient with brain and spinal cords injuries.

The research is conceived as a “bottom-up” scientific approach allowing the different research teams to be financially and scientifically independent. However, as a result of the critical mass of investigators concentrated on the same site, a strong scientific strategy has been developed around five main axes of research:
1. Degenerative diseases and ageing: genetics and environmental bases; mechanisms of cell dysfunction and cell loss; how to identify patients at an early stage of the disease?

2. Developmental disorders, glial pathology, and repair: how glial cells are generated, and then differentiated within the nervous system? Mechanisms of the dysfunction of myelin; new therapeutic strategies to repair damaged cells in patients with demyelinating disorders.

3. Neuronal excitability, nerve transmission, and related diseases including epilepsy: molecular mechanisms responsible for the progression of electric signals within neuronal networks; mode of action of neurotransmitters on receptors; cellular consequences of mutations leading to epilepsy.

4. Cognition, emotion, action: mechanisms underlying mental functions; how intellectual and emotions result in motor behavior in human beings? What are the neuronal bases of motor, cognitive and emotional disturbances in patients?

5. Brain and spinal cords traumas, neuroplasticity: how to reestablish the normal function of a sectioned spinal cord? Regeneration of nerve cells? How to reduce the fibrous scar preventing neuronal sprouting?

In addition, one floor of the ICM is devoted to industrial partners. This incubator is able to host biotechs at an early stage of development. Satellites of large enterprises such as Big Pharmas are also welcome. The aim is to carry out research programmes under co-patent and co-licensing agreements with all guarantees of strict confidentiality to preserve intellectual property rights.

The ICM is a state-approved-private-non-profit-research foundation, with mixed public and private funding, very similar to what has been developed in the past at the Pasteur and Curie Institutes. The idea is to add an entrepreneurial spirit to the strength of academic research. This project, considered to be a pilot experiment in France, has been made possible thanks to sponsors and partners from the public and private sectors. The initial financial investment was 67 million Euros, the operating costs being estimated at 55 million Euros per year. Apart from the main aim of ICM, which is to make major discoveries in the field of neurosciences, the most important characteristic of the ICM is very likely its capacity to interact with society at large. In other words, the ICM should be a center of intellectual activity, with a constant stream of seminars and lectures held by international leading scientists for researchers, whether in-house or coming from other fields, but also industrial partners, patients’ associations etc… We would like the investigators of ICM to be proud of working in the Institute and at the same time to attract citizens from outside the Institute (university students and school pupils; philosophers and mathematicians; etc…) to participate in variety of programs such as seminars, regular conferences, workshops, colloquia, exhibitions and concerts.

Prof. Agid

EJN: An international neuroscience journal supporting the European neuroscience community  


EJN is an international journal, with submissions from >40 countries on the five continents, with the largest number of submissions from the USA, followed by the UK, Germany, Japan, and Canada.

EJN ensures efficient and informative reviewing. A first round of reviewing on average is completed within five weeks after submission of original papers and three weeks for revised manuscripts. It is our goal to provide you with detailed, informative and fair comments. EJN presently accepts about 25% of submissions for publication.

EJN is unique among its peers for its explicit standards concerning the description of statistical results (see EJN Author Guidelines). Along with clear guidelines on ethics, animal care and use, documentation of antibodies and immunohistochemical methods, and image manipulation, EJN strives to raise the standards of “good publication practice”, in order to ensure the quality of evidence published in original research articles.

In recent years, we have taken several measures to enhance the visibility and impact of EJN and to bring EJN closer to its readers, specifically the European neuroscience community. For example, the recent FENS Forum featured several EJN-sponsored activities, including a Special Event (“The Ever-Changing Brain”) that took place just prior to the opening reception. We also featured EJN/FENS awardees in a separate symposium. We expect similar events to take place at the next FENS Forum in Barcelona in 2012.

EJN is important for the European neuroscience community. For example, through FENS, EJN supports major educational events such as the Summer Schools Programme. When you publish in EJN, you support efforts designed to grow the quality and impact of European neuroscience. Given the impressive size of the Neuroscience communities in several European countries, EJN wishes to receive more and higher-quality submissions from these countries. It is in your interest to publish in EJN. Our efforts to enhance the quality of EJN have resulted in an increase in the impact factoring 2009. We expect the 2010 impact factor to rise further (for an important discussion of the impact factor see ).

Looking forward
In 2011, EJN will publish several special issues on current and emerging themes in neuros-cience. Make sure that you did not miss the Special Issues published in 2010: Multisensory Processes (vol. 31/issue 10), Special Issue on the Occasion of the 7th FENS Forum (31/12), Glutamatergic Synapses (32/2), Deep Brain Stimulation (32/7), and Plasticity of Neu-roendocrine Systems (32/12).

In Memoriam: Angela Cole
We mourn the untimely death of Angela Cole who passed away on January 2, 2011. Angela was a long-time member of the EJN Editorial Office. Angela tirelessly, and with good dose of classic British humor, orchestrated the complex dance between editors, reviewers and authors. We dearly miss her and express our condolences to her family and friends.

Jean-Marc Fritschy
Martin Sarter

FENS-IBRO European Neuroscience Schools Programme 2011  

The FENS-IBRO European Neuroscience School Programme is a collaboration between FENS and IBRO, aimed at training students and young investigators throughout Europe. The programme provides funds to support high-quality schools and courses on a wide range of important topics in the Neurosciences. Particular attention will be given to proposals that encourage an active involvement of students and teachers during the entire event. You will find the overall goals here .

Schools to be held in 2011

Summer School, Zoltan Molnar and Pasko Rakic, Development and plasticity of cortical representation , June 5 - 10, Bertinoro, Italy,

Partially Supported School, Manfred Zimmermann, European Pain School 2011: Bridging molecules and mind , June 12 – 19, Siena, Italy

Society for Neuroscience School, György Buzsaki and Michael Häusser, Causal Neuroscience: Interacting with neural circuits , June 19 – 24, Bertinoro, Italy

Partially Supported School, Patrick Weydt, Metabolic aspects of chronic brain diseases , July 20 – 26, Reisensburg, Germany

Training Centre, Peter Latham, Advanced course in Computational neuroscience , August 1 – 26, Bedlewo, Poland

Training Centre, Sonia Bolea, Lausanne and Geneva Training Centre: Imaging brain function in animals and humans , August 28 – September 16, Lausanne/Geneva, Switzerland

Training Centre, Christophe Mulle, European synapse summer school , September 4 – 23, Bordeaux, France

Call for proposal for FENS-IBRO Schools to be held in 2012 The call for organizers of FENS-IBRO Schools to be held in 2012 will open on March 1st, 2011. The FENS-IBRO European Neuroscience Schools Programme will provide full or partial support for several educational activities across Europe. Proposals must be submitted online by June 1, 2011. Proposals from young scientists are especially appreciated. Please find a list of former schools here .

We are inviting proposals for the following types of schools:
FENS-IBRO Open Format School
FENS-IBRO Partially Supported School
FENS-IBRO Partnership Programme
FENS-IBRO-Society for Neuroscience School
FENS-IBRO Summer School
FENS-IBRO Training Centre
You are very welcome to contact the Application Advisory Team with questions regarding your proposal. Please consider the general rules for all FENS-IBRO Schools.

Richard Przewlocki Email:
Michal Novak Email: top


FENS commends the EU in updating the EU directive on the use of animals in scientific research, which had been in place since 1986. A new directive was needed to bring EU regulations up-to-date with recent developments and to advance the harmonization of regulations and standards of animal research across Europe.

FENS also supports the EU’s intention to make the 3Rs-principle the ethical cornerstone of the directive.

European scientists have worked throughout the process with the EU, members of the European Parliament, and national governments to provide scientific information and advice on how to ensure the highest standards in animal welfare without hampering scientific progress and the benefit that this brings to society. The resulting document has implemented some of this scientific advice and is a substantial improvement on early drafts. This may give the impression that the scientific community considers the directive well suited to ensure the best science and the best animal welfare. This is not the case: the new directive is a political document that reflects compromises created in the complex web of EU politics. These compromises are not the result of a reasoned discussion where the best arguments ultimately win. Instead, parts of the directive suffer from serious problems that reflect the balance of power, parties and lobbying groups in Brussels where the voice of science and reason is often drowned out by other, louder statements.

Some of the most serious issues are:

  • The directive violates the Lisbon Treaty (the 'EU constitution') in that it restricts the freedom of science guaranteed in the Charter of the Fundamental Rights of the European Union without providing any justification for the restrictions by weighing them against presumed benefits.
  • A particular animal experiment should only be allowed when no alternatives exist and in a manner causing the least suffering. Instead of applying this simple principle the directive is full of special cases, bans and restrictions that are arbitrarily imposed without any apparent ethical principle.
  • The directive distinguishes between basic and applied research, implying that the former is less ethically acceptable. Not only is such a division not possible in practice, it also ignores the fact that applied research depends on basic research. Similar divisions are drawn arbitrarily between species of animals, motivated by stronger emotional links to some species than to others.

FENS urges the EU Member States to exercise great care when transposing this EU directive into national law. The States should provide the scientific community with ample opportunity to provide information on how modern animal research can achieve the best science and the best animal welfare and how poorly conceived legislation can hamper both.

FENS also encourages the scientific community to engage the public and politicians by explaining the benefits of research on animals where no alternative exists and when best practice is used.

The FENS CARE Committee

Chair Roberto Caminiti Email:
Sign Caminiti

8th IBRO World Congress in Florence, Italy  

Prof. Annunziato
Prof. Annunziato
President of the Italian
Neuroscience Society

The 8th International Brain Organization (IBRO) meeting will be held in Florence, 14-18 July 2011. IBRO is a global neuroscience organization that comprises of 84 member societies in 61 countries around the globe with a membership of over 75,000 neuroscientists. Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2011, IBRO and the Italian Society of Neuroscience (SINS) kindly invite the world’s neuroscientists to Florence, Italy for the IBRO World Congress in July 2011.

The conference has been organized with the precious help of Prof. Domenico Pellegrini and Prof. Flavio Moroni from Florence, under the chairmanship of Prof. Gaetano Di Chiara, and Prof. Fabio Benfenati, as President of the International Programme Committee.

An international scientific committee consisting of more than twenty eminent neuroscientists from all over the world selected 60 symposia and workshops to be held during the course of the meeting. 9 Plenary Lectures and 4 poster sessions are also scheduled. The meeting will most likely attract 7,000 researchers coming from all over the world.

The congress and the venue also hold a strong touristic attraction. The meeting will be held in a Medicean Fortress (Fortezza da Basso) located in downtown Florence. I would also like to emphasise that Florence is one of the most attractive, historic and beautiful cities in the world. People will enjoy the beautiful skyline outlined by the domes of the many Florentine churches on the way to the congress centre whilst strolling along the same streets that Michelangelo and Dante walked along once upon a time. The gardens and palaces together with the Uffizi’s paintings provide an ideal context for this meeting. For those who love Italian fashion and food, shops and restaurants the town centre will satisfy even the most sophisticated taste. For those who will decide to spend their holidays in Italy, easy connections are available from Florence to any other Italian region.

Moreover, this event has great relevance for Italy, given that brain research is a very active field of research, which raises more and more new cultural and scientific challenges. The target participants are neuroscientists of every age and level from all countries in the world. In particular, the conference aims to give the opportunity to scientists and students from countries with limited resources to present their scientific achievements, to meet several experts and senior colleagues, as well as to establish collaborations and to plan exchange visits. Therefore, a large programme for young investigators has been launched in order to encourage young people (up to 500) to use this opportunity and spend one month in a European Laboratory around the time of the meeting.

Registration and submission of abstracts is now open. I would, therefore, like invite all of you to participate in the IBRO Congress.

You will find the preliminary program of the meeting here: .


Prof. Annunziato


Call for Symposia: 8th FENS Forum of Neuroscience in Barcelona  


The 8th FENS Forum of European Neuroscience is taking place from July 14 – 18, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain.

It is organized by the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and hosted by the Sociedad Española de Neurociencia.

The FENS Forum is a must in Europe for neuroscientists all over the world!

Submission for proposals: February 1 – 28, 2011

The FENS Programme Committee will establish the scientific programme of the FENS Forum 2012 on the basis of proposals from scientists from all over the world and all areas of neuroscience research.

Instructions and the application form for symposia and technical workshops proposals are available at .


EJN Best Publication Award 2011  

EJN Award 2011

In collaboration with FENS and Wiley Blackwell, EJN is launching the Best Publication Award 2011, awarding the best research article published in EJN 2009 or 2010. This personal award of 3,000 £ will be bestowed to the first author(s) of the selected article.

The application consists of the following documents, bundled together into a single PDF file:

  • One page summary addressing the significance of the work
  • PDF of the article
  • Short biosketch (2 pages) of the first author (or first authors in case of equal first co-authorship)
  • A signed statement by all authors of the article confirming their support for the nomination and that they agree with the selection of the nominee and, in case of multiple first authors, the selection of the speaker for the Ljubljana meeting.

Applications will be evaluated by a Committee consisting of five Associate Editors and the Editors-in-Chief of EJN and should be submitted in form of a single PDF attachment to the EJN Editorial Office: Submission deadline: February 28, 2011


FENS Travel Stipends  

8th IBRO World Congress in Florence, Italy

FENS is offering stipends for the participation in the 8th IBRO World Congress of Neuroscience (July 14 - 18, 2011) in Florence, Italy. The stipend money amounts to 500 Euro .

Deadline for the submission of applications: February 28, 2011 .

For electronic stipend-application please visit the FENS website at:

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2011, the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO) – along with the Italian Society of Neuroscience (SINS) – invites the world’s neuroscientists to Florence, Italy, for the 8th IBRO World Congress , taking place July 14-18, 2011.

FENS Featured Regional Meeting in Ljubljana, Slovenia

Stipends for young qualified researchers offered by FENS and FENS member societies will be available to attend this meeting. The stipend amount will be up to a maximum of 500 Euros , based on actual travel expenses.

For electronic stipend application please visit the FENS website at:

Deadline for application: March 28, 2011 .

For further information on the meeting please visit:


Terje Sagvolden (1945-2011) in memoriam  


Professor Terje Sagvolden, one of the Founding fathers of FENS, suddenly died on January 12th.

Earlier in the day, he had enjoyed a ski trip, and in the evening he experienced chest pains. He has been the FENS representative of Norway since FENS was founded, and has contributed importantly to the development of FENS throughout this period. He took, as always, a very active part in the FENS council meeting in December.

Terje Sagvolden was born in 1945, and experienced a very successful career in neuroscience, as a leader in the area of Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). His discovery in the late 70ies of the SHR rat as an animal model of ADHD has been of great importance for this entire field. He pursued his research both experimentally and in the clinical setting.

The Norwegian neuroscience community has lost a devoted scientist and FENS too shares in this loss.

Copyright remains with the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies.