International Cooperation

The CIN’s connections extend far beyond local and regional organisations. Close partnerships have been established with the National Institute of Physiological Sciences (NIPS) in Okasaki, Japan, and with the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel. The CIN is also part of the international Matariki Network of Universities, which counts the University of Tübingen among its international founding members.

 

The National Institute for Physiological Sciences (NIPS; SEIRIKEN in Japanese) of the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) is a unique organisation, called Inter-University Research Institute, that fosters collaborations among universities in research and education into fundamental human physiology. The institute adheres to the principles of the dictum announced when it was established, to "Promote research in physiology on the molecular, cellular, organ, and individual levels, with the purpose of ultimately comprehensively elucidating the functions of the human body".

Humans can be viewed as "thinking reeds" (Blaise Pascal) due to their well-developed brains. The human brain issues commands and makes adjustments to organs and tissues throughout the body, as well as tying together their bidirectional interrelationships and maintaining homeostasis. Therefore, basic research on the roles of the brain and nervous system in the human body and in homeostasis has a vital position in physiology. Because of this, the National Institute for Physiological Sciences currently focuses its research on the brain, nervous system, and homeostasis. The NIPS intends to move this research forward, with a focus on promoting integrative studies based on general physiological (molecular and cell physiology plus biophysics) research at the molecular and cellular levels, and their significance within the human body.

Ever since the CIN and NIPS first held a joint symposium in Okasaki in February 2012, there had been a keen interest in deepening and extending collaborative ties between the two institutions. This bore fruit when a second joint NIPS/CIN symposium was held in Tübingen in November 2012. On this occasion, the chiefs of both institutions signed a Memorandum of Understanding. This has since become the basis for far-reaching intercontinental exchange on the common fundament of the pursuit of neuroscientific insight. Annual joint symposia and mutual visits have led to several cooperatively developed research projects, which provide great opportunities to established and junior researchers alike.

Find out more about the NIPS on their website.

 

The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, is one of the world’s leading multidisciplinary research institutions. Its scientists pioneered cancer research in Israel, and they designed and built the first electronic computer in the country – one of the first in the world. They were the first in Israel to establish a nuclear physics department, which led to the construction of a particle accelerator; and they were the first to create an academically linked office for technology transfer and to initiate the creation of a science-based industrial park, built near the Institute. The Institute also played a pioneering role in the development of brain research, nanotechnology and solar energy research.

The Institute has five faculties – Mathematics and Computer Science, Physics, Chemistry, Biochemistry and Biology – and the faculties in turn are divided into 17 scientific departments. In addition, the Feinberg Graduate School, the Institute’s university arm, trains research students pursuing graduate degrees.

The Weizmann Institute serves as a meeting place for scientists from different disciplines, setting the stage for multidisciplinary collaborations and the emergence of new research fields. To encourage this creative activity, the Institute has created some 50 multidisciplinary research institutes and centers, most of which provide an intellectual rather than physical framework for joint projects. These institutes and centers stimulate activity in a multiplicity of fields, including brain research, cancer research, nanotechnology, renewable energy sources, experimental physics, biological physics, environmental studies, the study of autoimmune diseases, plant sciences, photosynthesis, genetics and others.

Ever since a first joint symposium intended to establish possible paths of cooperation in November 2011, scientists of the CIN have been in close collaboration with their colleagues in Israel. A first round of joint project between scientists from the Weizmann Institute and CIN Members A. Sirota, I. Ehrlich, U. Ilg and T. Münch has attracted additional external funds. The cooperation has resulted in much-appreciated opportunities for established and junior researchers alike at both institutions.

Find out more about the Weizmann Institute of Science on their website.

 

The Matariki Network of Universities (MNU) is an international group of leading, like-minded universities, each amongst the most historic in its own country, and recognised as being:

  • A premier place of advanced learning, nationally and internationally
  • Research-intensive across a broad subject base
  • Focused on providing a high-quality student experience
  • Flexible, modern, innovative, comprehensive and globally-orientated.

MNU member institutions promote excellence in research-led education, in which students receive education from researchers at the cutting edge of their field.  Each member institution conducts transformative research across a broad subject base in the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities.  Each promotes a combination of academic learning and personal growth through extracurricular activities in diverse scholarly communities so as to develop rounded citizens of the world and leaders of the future.  The MNU seeks to build upon the collective strengths of its member institutions to develop and promote international excellence in research and education.

The network creates new opportunities for multilateral international collaboration in research and education. It enables members to enrich their work by sharing ideas and best practice with trusted peers and to collaborate in areas where collectively we can contribute more than we can individually. It provides a forum in which members can discuss and reflect on issues of common concern and identify mutually beneficial linkages. It encourages members to facilitate access to resources and opportunities at their respective institutions for colleagues from across the network.

The Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen is one of the founding members of the Matariki Network. The CIN stands to benefit most of (and be of benefit to) one the Network's seven research areas, namely, 'Brain and Mind (Integrative Neuroscience)', which fits the CIN naturally.

The Matariki Network's own words say it best: "As a major theme of research within the Matariki network, we aim to generate new understanding of how the neural circuits of the brain work to control mental functions such as attention, sensory perception, motor control and memory, as well as physiological processes such as hormone secretion, which also exerts significant influence on cognition and behaviour.  Research into the cellular and molecular mechanisms of these functions will provide detailed information on how these biological processes contribute to our various psychological abilities.  Knowledge of how these mechanisms are affected by and contribute to disease processes is critical for developing tests for identifying neurological diseases in their early stages, and new therapies to treat them."

Find out more about the Matariki Network on their website.

Possibly even more important than these institutional associations, however, are the myriad cooperations and networks that exist on an individual basis: CIN scientists are as well-connected globally as they are in-house. The individual researchers’ readiness to engage in fruitful collaborations has brought about a profusion of cross-institutional papers, talks, and events over the years.

If you would like to work with us, be it with the CIN as a whole or with individual scientists whose work has caught your eye, do not hesitate to contact us!