Call for venues 2015-2019: European Training Site for Courses in Neuroscience

11 July 2013


11 July, 2013 in FENS News



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. 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 does currently not exist in Europe. 

In partnership with IBRO and FENS, universities or research organisations are herewith invited to collaborate, to provide such an ambitious multiannual infrastructure for the benefit of neuroscience in Europe and beyond. As a full partner and based on the proposed structure for a European advanced training site in neuroscience developed by IBRO and FENS, the collaborating host organization, university or research institution will be involved in finalizing the conditions and logistics for the training site. The partnership as a host institute for a training site will be for a period of at least 5 years (2015-2019) and consist of providing high level housing, logistic support, equipment and research facilities to support 4-6 advanced training courses per year. 

The focus and ambition of the advanced training site includes offering the highest possible level of advanced neuroscience training in a recognizable and attractive European training facility. The name of the training site, which will be selected among the partners once a venue has been identified, should ideally reflect these values. The name will thus not be linked in any way to the partnering organizations, nor to the facility that hosts the training site but rather reflect excellence and European traditions within the field of neuroscience. 

Criteria for partnership

The proposing organization, university or research institution is requested to formally submit an expression of interest with due consideration of the following central criteria:

  • Detailed outline of available, dedicated facilities for training courses and housing (see appendix A). The Expression of Interest (EoI) should specifically provide information on the following:
    • Laboratory facilities, lecture halls, IT and imaging resources, facilities for behavioural neuroscience research that may be dedicated full or part-time to the advanced training courses
    • Animal housing facilities, including expression of agreement from the hosting institutions to legally and practically support the advanced training courses
    • Nearby or in-house housing for students and faculty
    • Office facilities and extent of dedicated staff recourses for the advanced training site
  • Presence of a supporting and well connected community of leading neuroscience researchers from diverse disciplinary backgrounds
  • Documented previous experience in organizing high-level international training courses in neuroscience
  • Documentation for financial support to the initiative from municipal, regional and/or national sources. Please include relevant supporting documents and provide a clear overview (budget) of the size and type of the committed support (start-up, multiannual, infrastructure etc.)
  • Commitment of resources from the partnering host organisation, university, or research institute
  • Experienced local neuroscientist(s) directly involved as in-house supervisor for the training site and courses
  • Location and attractiveness of venue as a permanent training site. Connection to/from the site (nearby international airport etc.) as well as local attractions for students and faculty in the area is of importance

The hosting organisation, university, or research institute will not be responsible for the content and organization of the courses; teaching faculty will consist of renowned experts from Europe and beyond, and determined on a course-by-course basis.

Submission of EoI and request for more information

FENS Executive Director Lars Kristiansen ( will be available for further inquiries. 

Format of EoI:

The expression of interest, submitted on behalf of the university or research institution, should address all of the above criteria as well as any other particular aspects that may be of relevance to the proposed venue. While the particular format for the EoI is unrestricted, interested organizations are invited to not exceed a limit of 6 pages (not including appendices such as supporting letters, etc.) 

Please submit the full EoI, including all relevant supporting documentation and support letters to Lars Kristiansen respecting the deadline of September 30, 2013

Timeline and selection process

The timeline for the selection of a host institution and the development of a full programme for advanced training courses in neuroscience will include the following: 

September 30, 2013 Deadline for submission of the expression of interest
Oct/Nov 2013 Follow-up and site visits by representatives of FENS and IBRO. Prioritizing of venues
End of November Approval by the governing councils of FENS and IBRO for finalizing the process to establish the European training site.
Early spring 2014 Finalizing agreement between the partnering organisations
2015 Start of advanced training courses under the new programme


Appendix A:

Requirements to physical space

The requirements for a permanent location for the advanced training site must at least include the following basic infrastructure (see also the proposed call for permanent training site for the full list of requirements):

  • Lecture halls. A theoretical framework forms an essential part of all courses. As a minimum one plenary auditorium sufficiently large to comfortably hold 30 participants and with all modern AV facilities should be available as well as 2-4 smaller breakout rooms dedicated to specialized / individualized lectures and group work.
  • Dedicated, laboratory facilities. The breadth of topics is such that dedicated laboratory facilities for the courses have to be basic, yet flexible. The maintenance of such space should ideally be under the responsibility of the hosting institution (see below):
    • Wet lab space: Laboratory space for the wet lab activities should be permanently available for the courses. The lab space for wet lab research should be furnished such as to provide safe-working conditions for areas covered by the related advanced training site courses, including molecular biology, proteomics, and neurophysiology.
    • Additional flexible space: Ideally, additional space should be available in immediate connection to the general laboratory space for the convenient and safe set up of specialized equipment. It is expected that in particular for courses in neurophysiology and molecular biology equipment will be supplied (by vendors) for the use in particular courses.
    • IT facilities: courses in computational neuroscience and systems biology will require dedicated and modern teaching facilities that include the use of appropriate IT infrastructure and set up.
    • Imaging facilities: infrastructure for structural and functional imaging (PET, fMRI, and other brain imaging techniques) in at least human and preferably also animal experimentation should be available in the close environment of the selected institution; the number of scan slots is subject to negotiation. It is of high interest for this particular domain that the immediately connected scientific environment hosts top neuroscience research teams that may be linked as scientific staff for the courses.
    • Behavioral lab space: There is a specific need for some of the subjects to have access to modern facilities for behavioral studies in a variety of animal species, in the close environment of the selected site. While some or most equipment may be supplied for each specific course in animal behavioral studies, other equipment and infrastructures should be available at the institution. Local regulations should allow external parties like FENS to carry out experiments with animals for educational purposes.
  • Facilities for guest accommodation – a modern, cost-efficient and central place should be available for all participants (and instructors) during the entire duration of the course, within easy reach of the lecture halls and laboratories, and available throughout the year.
  • Facilities for catering – provision of breakfast, lunch and dinner at, or in close proximity to the training site is a key feature of the courses. This is where participants and instructors have ample possibilities for interaction and as such it is a central part of the concept for the courses.