Periodic Report Summary 1 - COGNITIVEFOCUS (Four World Nodes for Brain Networks of Attention and Awareness)
A Group of cognitive neuroscience institutes join forces to enhance scientific advances on cognition through a series of collaborative actions centred on knowledge and information sharing and transfer through sustained cooperation. The project aims at realizing a high-level researchers’ exchange and networking activities in cognitive neuroscience in health and disease. The research group has four Nodes: Cambridge (UK), Dublin (Ireland), Brisbane (Australia) and Melbourne (Australia). The topic to jointly investigate is the exploration of the mechanisms of human attention in healthy people and in those with disorders or brain injury. Attention is crucial in coordinating cognitive functions, and its relationship with consciousness and awareness, scarcely studied, will benefit of combined efforts from the Nodes looking at the manner this function of the brain works in normal participants and patients with brain disorders. The staff exchange will provide a very efficient opportunity to promote joint publications and to exploit the complementary expertise. The participants in the Network will exchange knowledge and get trained by using Workshops (to evaluate progress of the Network and set up new research lines), Seminars (training on specific topics), Visits (to exchange concrete methods and analysis techniques) and Experiments (research trips for collaborative experiments that would integrate expertise of several Nodes) as common coins for the integration of different areas of expertise in one common shared network. The project is embedded in and linked with several international research projects and coordinated by scientists that have been collaborating intermittently for 20 years. We plan dissemination events with policy makers both in Europe and Australia which will provide the respective communities with essential material for informed decisions on disorders of attention such as ADHD, Alzheimer, traumatic brain injury, and hypoxic/anoxic brain injury.
The project is now at the mid-way point. To initiate the work between the Nodes, the coordinator, TB, travelled to Australia to visit both non EU nodes from the first months of the project. In these first few months (January – May 2014) TB started the projects’ set up with both Australian nodes. The outcome of this first half of the project is very positive as per the evaluation in June 2015 between the PIs. The projects are well ahead of schedule although the trips are slightly under the target, which means that we have managed to do more with less and we will be able to surpass the original aims of the project, and moreover, to attain the new objectives we have set during the development of the project.
In the first two years the following progress has been made in the various areas of the project:
Working Package1 Knowledge Exchange Workshops: The first Cognitive Focus workshop happened in August 2014 and it was instrumental in the advance of the other WPs. The second Cognitive Focus workshop has been delayed to October 2015 since the communication was fluent between the members of the nodes and there was no need for a wide meeting.
Working Package 2 and Working Package 3 Experimental Developments and Interchange Visits: The experiments planned between several participants from the Nodes have been successful in most cases and led to knowledge and technical exchange. They constitute the core of the experimental, hands-on, series of collaborations that have evolved during this first half of the project. Outcomes in terms of basic science are in midway, with some tasks with preliminary results and some in data analyses stages as expected. The exchange of skills between the Nodes has surpassed the expectations, leading to techniques now being applied ahead of schedule.
Working Package 4 Seminars: The seminars that facilitate knowledge transfer between the participating research groups have been successful as they have been most of the visits paired with the WP2 and WP3. Formal training has been as important as informal exchange of technical and theoretical knowledge, leading to further exchange between the Nodes in this first half of the project.
Working Package 5 Project Management and dissemination: A good advance in people’s logistics and management has taken place, improving the organisation of exchange visits, some delays in the website and very successful implementation of the data transfer and scripts web software sharing between nodes. The coordination of this grant transferred from the Medical Research Council to the University of Cambridge when the lead scientist transferred his employment, effective 1st April 2015. The Medical Research Council therefore left the project effective 31st March 2015.
In short, the project has benefited hugely from the continuous communication at various levels (PIs, posdoc, PhD-master) enabling the transfer of knowledge and expertise in a successful manner. Most subprojects are in progress and some have already finished and getting written or already submitted. CognitiveFocus is on target and in shape for the second half of the Project.
Schaeffer, Renata (Eurpoean Policy Manager)
Tel.: +44 1223 333543
Tel.: +44 1223 333543
Record Number: 182514 / Last updated on: 2016-05-19
Information source: SESAM