The Helsinki Brain & Mind Researcher Workshop Summary

27.10.2020
The Helsinki Brain & Mind (HB&M) Researcher Workshop was organised on 8/10/2020 and attended by 26 PI-level researchers.

Researchers from the University of Helsinki, Aalto University and Helsinki University Hospital participated. As part of the 4Front-facilitated workshop, the attendees filled out a survey containing multiple choice and open-ended questions. This summary is based on answers from the survey and the discussions held during the workshop.

The workshop consisted of three parts

  • Goals and expectations of HB&M
  • Services of HB&M, and types of collaboration in the network
  • Position and relationship between regional (HB&M) and national (Neurocenter Finland) neuroscience networks

During the workshop, the topics were discussed in smaller groups, and together with all participants.

The most important goals of HB&M as selected by the researchers were

  1. Promotion of multidisciplinarity in neuroscience research
  2. Promotion of top research in neuroscience
  3. Strategic and systematic development of research infrastructures

These were followed by the promotion of research funding, impact, public awareness and innovations.

Some comments from the researchers regarding their expectations of HB&M

  • Fostering cross-disciplinary collaboration and discussions, channels for sharing ideas and getting advice on complementary techniques etc.
  • Provide accessible infrastructure to groups; and develop a reasonably sized body of talented students.
  • I expect concrete action by us researchers in research, education, innovation, dissemination and applications to medical practice.’

Researchers would be most interested in developing collaborative research projects (basic, translational & clinical) within the network, followed by collaborative projects with the industry. A few researchers would also be interested in pursuing applied research or product development within the network.

When asked about the types of services researchers would be interested in using, the answers were very variable. However, networking, seminars and matchmaking (between researchers as well as industry partners) were the most frequently selected options. In addition, services related to funding and business development could be found useful. Furthermore, the promotion of interdisciplinary graduate teaching in neuroscience would be important in order to increase multidisciplinarity at an early stage and attract highly talented students.

The development of both regional (HB&M) and national (Neurocenter Finland) neuroscience networks is considered important by the researchers. The national level is particularly advantageous to achieving goals related to societal impact and decision-making. However, the regional strengths, interests and needs should be taken into account when planning the national activities.