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JST Press Release

September 30, 2014
Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST)
5-3, Yonbancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-8666

JST to fund Four New Japan-Germany Research Exchange Projects
within “FY2014 Strategic International Research Cooperative Program (SICP)”

On 30th September 2014, Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)*1 and Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)*2 announced that they would commence support for 4 jointly selected projects on "Computational Neuroscience" within the framework of the FY2013 Strategic International Research Cooperative Program (SICP)*3 Japanese-German Research Cooperative Program*4. The selected projects are as follows:

1. “Testing computational models of learning from social, real, and fictive feedback in human and nonhuman primates” to be conducted by Masaki Isoda, Associate Professor, School of Medicine, Kansai Medical University in Japan, Markus Ullsperger, professor, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Otto-von-Guericke Universität Magdeburg in Germany.

This collaborative research project aims to understand neural mechanisms underlying learning from real, fictive, and social feedback using combined behavioral, neuroimaging, electrophysiological, and computational modeling approaches.

2. “Decoding of in vivo two-photon imaging data in mouse motor cortex” to be conducted by Yukiyasu Kamitani, Head, Computational Neuroscience Laboratories, Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International in Japan, Takashi Sato, Junior group leader, Center for Integrative Neuroscience, University of Tübingen in Germany.

This project aims to understand the computational principle of local neural circuits that prepare and generate motor behavior by analyzing two-photon calcium imaging data with machine learning-based methods.

3. “The development of the functional organization in visual cortex” to be conducted by Kenichi Ohki, Professor, Department of Molecular Physiology, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University in Japan, Matthias Kaschube, Professor, Department of Computer Science and Mathematics, Goethe University in Germany.

This collaborative research project aims to perform two-photon calcium imaging of neurons to study how the functional organization changes during normal development. As a complementary effort, we will develop a computational circuit model, to identify candidate mechanisms of cortical reorganization.

4. “Autonomous learning of active depth perception: from neural models to humanoid robots” to be conducted by Jeong Sungmoon, Assistant Professor, School of Information Science, Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in Japan, Jochen Triesch, Professor, Neuroscience Department, Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies in Germany.

This collaborative research project aims to develop a neurally plausible model of the development of binocular depth perception, which utilizes movements of eyes, head, or body in human infants and other mammals, based on efficient coding theory.

There were 17 proposals submitted in response to the joint call for proposals conducted by JST, DFG and BMBF, closed in September, 2013. The three parties had the proposals evaluated by experts, and based on that evaluation with regard to quality of research plan and expected effectiveness of exchange plans, agreed on the four successful projects.

The period of support is to last for 3 years until March 2018.

*1Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG):
The DFG was founded in 1920 and is the self-governing organization for science and research in Germany. It serves all branches of science and the humanities.
URL of DFG's homepage: http://www.dfg.de/en/index.jsp

*2Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF):
BMBF is a governmental ministry which performs the function of state management of education and research, covering research funding for scientific institutions and enterprises, as well as for individual researchers via special funding institutions.
URL of BMBF's homepage: http://www.bmbf.de/en/index.php

*3 Strategic International Research Cooperative Program (SICP):
SICP is a "top-down type" program that provides support to international research projects with countries and regions, in fields of cooperation designated by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) on the basis of intergovernmental agreements.
URL of SICP's homepage: http://www.jst.go.jp/inter/english/project/purpose.html

*4 Based on an agreement made at the 20th Japan-Germany Joint Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation meeting in November 2009, the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) decided on “Life Science” as the fields of collaborative research between Japan and Germany. According to the decision, JST chose “Computational Neuroscience” as a priority area in which to launch the first concurrent call. This is the third selection of this cooperation.


1: “FY2014 Strategic International Research Cooperative Program (SICP)”
Japan-Germany Research Exchange Projects

2: Overview of JST-DFG-BMBF Research Cooperative Program and Evaluation


Kana SADAOKA (Ms.) and Hideo NAKAJIMA (Dr.)
Department of International Affairs, JST
K’s Gobancho, 7, Gobancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0076
Tel: +81-3-5214-7375 Fax: +81-3-5214-7379


JST, an integrated organization of science and technology in Japan, establishes an infrastructure for the entire process from the creation of knowledge to the return to the society. For more information, visit http://www.jst.go.jp/EN/