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Inter-institutional Cooperation to Support Brain Research

Inter-institutional Cooperation to Support Brain Research

Reserch projects supported in the program

CInAPCe is an abbreviation for the Portuguese expression Cooperação Interinstitucional de Apoio a Pesquisas sobre o Cérebro - Inter-institutional Cooperation to Support Brain Research. The development of neuroscience research has implications that extend far beyond the physical evaluation of a subject. The motor, sensory, cognitive and emotional functions that emerge from complex neuronal organizations underlie what makes us humans. To this end, magnetic resonance imaging has revolutionized research in medicine, neuroscience and psychology in the last decade. Epilepsy is a complex condition and the quest for its cure needs approaches through different angles. Investigation of patients with epilepsy offers a unique window of opportunity to probe brain function in vivo. Indeed, knowledge of human brain function was largely derived from studies of patients with epilepsy who underwent surgical treatment. With this in mind, a large group of researchers, together with the Coordination of Biological Sciences from FAPESP, began discussing a large neuroscience program at the state level. Thus emerged the Cinapce program, after a series of discussion panels over a period of 4 years and an initial review by a group of external reviewers.

2. Basic and Clinical Research

In its first phase, the program is aimed at establishing multi-modal research, centered on high field magnetic resonance imaging in epilepsy. The program has several foci, but is organized around one central theme – epilepsy – and one central methodology – magnetic resonance imaging. In this first phase it will focus the training in high field brain imaging and its integration with other methodologies around one theme. Ultimately this will allow the inclusion of additional methodologies and will establish a methodological platform that can be exploited for other areas of neuroscience research. The program is to be developed as a network involving basic and clinic research in order to optimize the access and benefits from the state-of-the-art infrastructure. The Cinapce network will represent a case test for FAPESP to evaluate the research network model of funding neuroscience in Sao Paulo state.

3. General Program Organization

The program will be overseen by a five-member committee (the Scientific Advisory Committee, SAC) composed of two international experts on high field magnetic resonance imaging and three scientists from the state of Sao Paulo. The SAC will be nominated by FAPESP by November, 2004.

The program will have 3 Main Research Centers (MRC). Two of these centers will house 3 Tesla scanners aimed for research on human subjects. Another center is expected to build and host a magnetic resonance imaging system for use with laboratory animals.

The 3 Main Research Centers will be selected based on proposals (see bellow). The desired profile for these 3 centers involve the capacity to form multidisciplinary teams with complementary areas of expertise, all of which central to epilepsy and magnetic resonance imaging research. The MRC are expected not only to conduct high quality research but to develop new methods with which to process and analyze magnetic resonance imaging. Groups applying for one of the 2 MRC´s dedicated to human research are expected to have an ongoing and well development clinical epilepsy program. The ability to provide instrumentation will be an important factor in defining the center selected for the housing the laboratory animal system. The MRC will also have a key role in defining and promoting programs for the inter-institutional training of students and scientists. Applicant laboratories must have previous experience and current expertise in epilepy and magnetic resonance imaging, to be selected as MRC.

Associated Laboratories (AL) will be incorporated into the network. These laboratories will be initially selected by the international review committee, togheter with the selected by the SAC based on the applications received (see bellow).

4. Conditions to participate in the Network

Belonging to the network requires that laboratories participate in at least one of the main projects to be developed as a collaborative effort. The network is expected to:

  • foster conditions for internal collaboration among the participating groups and enhance the current scientific interchange of these groups with institutions abroad and generate new ones.
  • contribute to the development and application of new technologies to biomedical research, with the potential for development, at mid term, of new methods and instrumentation, thus creating possibilities for interaction with the business sector.

To establish a program of advanced epilepsy research in several levels, from basic to clinical applications, thus providing the government and the public with appropriate instruments to find better ways to deal with this problem within the Brazilian context.

Less experienced laboratories and research groups will not have to prove their expertise in epilepsy or magnetic resonance imaging (in order) to be incorporated as an AL, but will be strongly encouraged to submit an additional clear proposal for their intended future use of this technology in other research areas.

5. How to Submit an Application

If you are interested in applying for MRC or AL you should submit an electronic letter of intent. Groups applying to become an MRC should also submit specific and detailed research proposals. Selection of groups and projects will be made by an international external reviewing committee at FAPESP. Questions regarding the application can be sent by e-mail ( Only electronic applications submitted by November 2nd, 2004 will be considered for the selection of the MRC. Proposals for AL, will also benefit from this expedite initial reviewing process and from the expected benefits from and early participation in the network. However, proposals for AL could be submitted at later points and will not be restricted to this deadline.

6. Forms for proposals to MRC

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7. Forms for proposals to AL

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8. Edital

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9. Timetable

October 4th, 2004 Opening of the submission period
November 2nd, 2004 Deadline for MRC applications
November 17th, 2004 Selection of the MRC and initial AL completed
November, 2005 Evaluation of progress

General Network meetings will be organized every 6 months.