Knowledge utilization in the Research Master of Neurosciences
12 mei 2017


Contactgegevens

Naam en voorletters:   Klaus Linkenkaer Hansen
Functie:   UHD/team leader
Afdeling, Faculteit:   Neuroscience, FBW
Email   k.linkenkaerhansen@vu.nl
SKO / LOL:   SKO-project
Project opgezet voor:   Faculteit der Bètawetenschappen

 

Onderwerp

Knowledge utilization in the Research Master of Neurosciences

Background: Why knowledge utilization in the Research Master of Neurosciences?
Whether academic research should be steered by immediate societal demands or personal curiosity remains a matter of debate. That revolutionary technologies can emanate from seemingly “useless” fundamental research is well documented in the history of science. Still, political winds in the Netherlands and EU have initiated waves of application-oriented funding initiatives highlighting the need for academic researchers to strengthen economic competitiveness, job creation and public health. Often it is a prerequisite of participation in a call for funding to involve private partners. With 35% of EU health budgets allocated to the treatment of brain disorders and an estimated 50% of people with a brain disorder currently living undiagnosed (Wittchen et al., 2011), the prospects for cutting healthcare costs and improving public wellbeing with greater innovation in the neurosciences is enormous. Add to this societal value also the rapidly growing market of cognitive enhancers, preventive brain-training programs and cognitive computing technologies inspired by progress in our understanding of the brain.

Nonetheless, at the Research Master of Neurosciences at the VU University Amsterdam there is limited—if any—training in the business opportunities in our field. Nor do courses connect their curriculum to the activities in the commercial sector. Albeit the primary goal of the Research Masters is to train our future PhD students, I believe these are more likely to become entrepreneurs (also after their PhD) if they are stimulated to think of this career option at an early stage. For my SKO project, I therefore wanted to position commercial applications and opportunities in the neurosciences more visibly within our educational program and build bridges between the commercial neuro-tech sector, principal investigators (teachers) and past and present students.

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