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JST Press Release

8th April 2013

Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST)
5-3, Yonbancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-8666
URL http://www.jst.go.jp/EN

JST to fund Four New Japan-Germany Research Exchange Projects
within "FY2013 Strategic International Research Cooperative Program (SICP)"

On 8th April 2013, Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)*1and 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. "Impedance regulation during energy transfer motor tasks: from human experiments to computational modeling and robotics" to be conducted by Ganesh Gowrishankar, researcher of Advanced ICT research Institute, National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) in Japan, Patrick van der Smagt, professor for Faculty of Informatics, Technische Universitat Munchen (TUM) in Germany.

This collaborative research project aims to understand impact/hitting task control by humans through behavioral experiments, computational modeling and robot applications, and develop new sports equipment for improved performance of players.

2. "Heterogeneity of the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus: Quantification, Simulation, and Functional Analysis" to be conducted by Toru Takumi, team leader of Mental Biology Laboratory at Brain Science Institute, RIKEN in Japan, Grigory Bordyugov, researcher of Charite University.

This collaborative research project aims to find an integrative mathematical explanation of the adaptation phenomena in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) based on experimentally observed heterogeneity of the tissue.

3. "Neural circuit mechanisms of reinforcement learning" to be conducted by Kenji Morita, lecturer of Graduate School of Education, The University of Tokyo in Japan, Abigail Morrison, professor of Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-6), Jülich Research Centre, in Germany.

This collaborative research project aims to elucidate how the value prediction error-like dopamine response arises and what roles it plays in the learning processes through computational modeling of the cortical and basal ganglia neural circuits based on anatomical and physiological data.

4. "The influence of feature salience over microsaccades in normal and blindsight humans and monkeys: an experimental and theoretical investigation" to be conducted by Masatoshi Yoshida, assistant professor of Department of Developmental Physiology, National Institute for Physiological Sciences in Japan, Ziad M. Hafed, junior research group leader of Physiology of Active Vision Laboratory, Werner Reichardt Centre for Integrative Neuroscience in Germany.

This collaborative research project aims to understand the mechanism of microsaccades, which is a kind of fixational eye movements, by a computational model of visual attention.

There were 13 proposals submitted in response to the joint call for proposals conducted by JST, DFG and BMBF, closed in August, 2012. 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.

JST will start supporting the research exchange projects in April 2013. The support will continue for three years.

*1 Deutsche 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

*2 Bundesministerium 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 Japanese-German Research Cooperative Program:
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 second selection of this cooperation.


Attachment 1: "FY2013 Strategic International Research Cooperative Program (SICP) " Japan-Germany Research Exchange Projects

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


Japan Science and Technology Agency, Department of International Affairs
K’s Gobancho, 7, Gobancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0076
Hideo NAKAJIMA (Dr.), Chiho INAMURA (Ms.)
Fax: +81-3-5214-7379 Tel: +81-3-5214-7375


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/