Ouverture du Programme INT-NEURO-MED

11 avril 2012


This training program rests on

Interdisciplinary theoretical training.
Young scientists most often have a static view of each brain function. This is partly due to the graduate training programme in which basic knowledge is taught using schematic and classical views. By focusing onto a more dynamical approach of rather old fundamental questions, the three sets of research projects are designed to teach young researchers –while giving them the appropriate technical skills- that the brain is a highly dynamical “machine”. Thus, experimental answers mostly depend on the particular point in time at which the system is probed, which task is used and what is the neural context. This objective will be reached by providing the trainees at the INT with state-of-the-art recurrent courses and seminars in different fields of sensory-motor and cognitive neurosciences. The interdisciplinary theoretical training will be complemented by courses provided by foreign associated partners.

Strong technical/methodological background.
Modern integrative neuroscience involves more and more complex experimental tools and data analysis, techniques that require a strong theoretical and practical technical background. The later is acquired by elaborating and conducting experiments throughout the PhD training. Moreover, we will organize methodological courses on the main brain imaging techniques and modern computational approaches for signal processing and data analysis. The in-house training in informatics and mathematics will complement the rudimentary training that most students in biological sciences have received at the undergraduate levels.

Exchanges with clinicians.
The clinical perspective is one of the roots of the institute. A major reason that motivated CNRS and Aix-Marseille Université for launching the INT was the strong will to strengthen the interface between fundamental and clinical researches in Marseille. We will take advantage of the location of the INT on the medical school campus, the close proximity of the Timone university hospital and the involvement of 7 clinical units (belonging to the Neurology/Neurosurgery, Psychiatry and Physical Rehabilitation departments) in the INT to broaden students’ knowledge to clinical issues and research. As each INT team includes clinicians, the clinical dimension is present in everyday life (journal and data clubs, seminars...). In addition, (i) a course will be given on the regulatory framework for clinical research (how to submit a research project ? How to set the requirements for the recruitment of patients ?...) will be given and (ii) each student will spend a week in clinical units and attend to staff meetings/case studies and consultations.

Intersectoral background.
The goal is to provide the basic tools to enable students to interact with private companies and/or to undertake a translational research project after their PhD. Courses will deal with the management of the innovation process (innovations and strategies, exploitation of results, protection of innovation, project management, intellectual property and patents) and entrepreneurship (defining a business plan, understanding and mastering the basic tools of project management,...). The intersectoral approach is strengthened by the support of Eurobiomed whose involvement will consist in providing not only the above mentioned training courses but also opportunities for secondments in the companies belonging to the cluster.

International networking.
Building up a network of international contacts likely improves career prospects and employability. This international networking will rely mainly on an array of 2 research centers and universities located in Trieste (Italy) and Edinburgh (UK), respectively (see details below, section B.3.). Students will have to choose one of them to attend series of courses and perform collaborative experiments (secondments). Moreover, the graduate students of the PhD Programme will benefit from the strong network of international collaborations of each research team. To note, we are coordinators or partners of several training and/or research networks funded through different programmes such as ITN Marie-Curie (CODDE, FACETS-ITN), Integrated projects of IST/FET (BrainScales, BrainScales-Extended) and ERA-NET NEURON networks. These networks provide strong opportunities of exchanges, thematic workshops and additional interdisciplinary training that can be open to all students.

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