At the end of June one of the big highlights of BrainLinks-BrainTools’ five year funding period took place: A three-day gathering of neurotechnologists from all over the world at the Forum Merzhausen near Freiburg – organized by the cluster of excellence in collaboration with the International Conference for Advanced Neurotechnology (ICAN), an initiative from the University of Michigan in Arbor.
The conference was packed with quality speakers from both home and abroad and saw 260 scientists take part. Cooperating with US partners turned out to be a sure-shot formula: „We are very pleased that over 80 non-locals came here, which cannot be taken for granted at a conference of this size in Freiburg.“, sums up cluster-speaker Prof. Dr. Wolfram Burgard. Guests were not only attracted from other German universites, but also arrived from England, the USA and even South Korea.
A good deal of this success can be attributed to the top-class program coming up with keynote lectures by John Donoghue, György Buzsáki, Patrick Tresco and Florentin Wörgötter. They vividly reported on their ongoing research and did not avoid presenting the Freiburg audience their newest and still unpublished research data. „This is a great honor for us and gives us even more pleasure because it shows that BrainLinks-BrainTools is being recognized in the front line of neurotechnological research.“, Professor Burgard reports not without pride. A panel discussion revealed fruitful approaches to the longevity problem which has yet not been solved in neurotechnology. The poster sessions with a total of 62 posters sparked intense exchange on the development of future-proof neurotechnological systems. Eventually, the posters shifted the focus on the junior scientists who mainly came from the University of Freiburg and the ICAN partners. The pretty scenery and a laid-back, familiar atmosphere guaranteed that PhD students could as well get in touch with the protagonists: „The chance to meet the big shot experts was just awesome! Talking to John Donoghue during the coffee break has been a one-time opportunity.“, a participant rhapsodizes. A joint dinner with some good wine underlines the collective and amicable character of the event.