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Elite study programme "Experimental and Clinical Neurosciences" (ECN) - a success story

January 1st, 2011

Prof. Dr. Kirch

Reviewer Prof. Dr. Dr. Kirch discussing the research project of ECN student Natalie Vélez Char.

The international elite study programme "Experimental and Clinical Neurosciences" (ECN) at the University of Regensburg proofed to be very successful. This was also confirmed by the evaluation of the ECN in summer 2010. Given the potential of the ECN, the reviewers recommended to further supplement the interdisciplinary teaching and research spectrum and to extend the teaching and research opportunities towards a PhD in neurosciences.


Prof. Dr. Nave

Reviewer Prof. Dr. Nave discussing the research project of ECN student Dominik Kraus.

The Elitenetwork of Bavaria (ENB) invited several internationally renowned neuroscientists from various disciplines to review the ECN programme. The reviewer board consisted of Prof. Dr. Claudia Grothe (Medizinische Hochschule Hannover), Prof. Dr. Regine Kahmann (Universität Göttingen), Prof. Dr. Dr. Wilhelm Kirch (Technische Universität Dresden) and Prof. Dr. Klaus-Armin Nave (Max-Planck Institut für Experimentelle Medizin, Göttingen). The evaluation included - besides an examination of written material - an on-site visit on June 21, 2010.

At the beginning of the on-site evaluation, the speaker of the ECN, Prof. Dr. Inga Neumann, reported about the successful course of this elite study programme. She explained that the number of applications from national and international students has continuously increased since the first implementation of the ECN programme in 2006. She further emphasized the strong international character of the programme. About half of the ECN students are from regions of several continents: Europe, North and South America, Asia, or Africa. Furthermore, the ECN cooperates with several national and international research institutions in Europe and North America. Prof. Neumann also illustrated the career perspectives of the ECN graduates. More than three quarters of the ECN graduates continue their scientific career for a PhD in renowned laboratories at the University of Regensburg or other national and international research institutions (e.g., Max-Planck-Institut). Finally, Prof. Neumann voted for a continuation of the ECN study programme and proposed that the interdisiplinary ECN research and teaching spectrum should be elaborated by an additonal professorship in electrophysiology.


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A) ECN students are from Germany or various regions of the world. B) Most ECN students continue their scientific career with a PhD in renowned laboratories.

Following the introductory words of Prof. Neumann, the previous ECN students Kewir Nyuyki, Julia Stindl, and Matthias Zunhammer presented results from their research projects conducted during their ECN studies. Ms. Nyuyki explained systemic aspects of the neurotransmitter Oxytocin on sexual behavior of animals. Ms. Stindl added findings on the cellular mechanisms in processing Oxytocin. The research findings of Mr. Zunhammer showed the neural mechanisms of pain perception that are relevant in a disorder called the irritable bowel syndrom. After a short lunch break, the current ECN students presented posters of their on-going research projects during the ECN. The reviewers appeared to be impressed by the high standards of research and the proficiency of the ECN students.

During the afternoon, the ECN students exchanged their experience and assessment of the ECN with the reviewers. Finally, the reviewers discussed with the members of the ECN consortium Prof. Dr. Neumann, Prof. Dr. Bogdahn, Prof. Dr. Greenlee, Prof. Dr. Hajak, and Prof. Dr. Schneuwly as well as other ECN members and the dean of the University Prof. Dr. Strothotte the current status of the ECN and possible future developments. The reviewers expressed their appreciation for the accomplishments and enthusiasm of the ECN students. Based on their positive impressions, they asked the ECN consortium, the ENB, and the University of Regensburg to continue this successful study programme. In addition, the board saw the potential to further broaden the interdisciplinary ECN schedule and to offer additional career opportunies for the students towards a PhD in neurosciences.


Prof. Dr. Neumann

Prof. Dr. Neumann (Speaker of the ECN) talking to reviewer Prof. Dr. Grothe during lunch break of the on-site evaluation.


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