1Institutul Român de Știință și Tehnologie
Research in the neurosciences, especially in systems neuroscience, is still in its infancy in Romania, with relatively few active groups compared to Western countries or even neighboring Hungary. This unfortunate situation is in clear contrast with the strong emphasis that both Europe and US put on brain research, with massive funding being pumped in through the Human Brain Project and the BRAIN Initiative. Nevertheless, this field of science started to gain momentum in the past decade in Romania. Here I discuss the recent developments, with a focus on the Romanian Institute of Science and Technology (RIST), a private, not for profit research institution in Cluj-Napoca. RIST was built on the backbone of the Center for Cognitive and Neural Studies (Coneural), founded more than 12 years ago. Its aim is to contribute to development of Romanian science, and neuroscience in particular, by offering support to several research groups which perform both experimental and theoretical studies and by organizing one of the most visible summer schools worldwide – the Transylvanian Experimental Neuroscience Summer School (TENSS), recently featured in National Geographic and Nature. I argue that, in spite of these individual efforts, neuroscience research can develop on a long term in Romania if and only if funding for science will become significant and predictable, a desiderate that is currently largely ignored by the political establishment.
Brain research, Electrophysiology, Optogenetics, Computational neuroscience, TENSS summer school
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