1.5 million for Sino-Dutch research in brain and cognition

11 November 2016

In the CAS-NWO Programme – Joint Research Projects: The Future of Brain and Cognition, four projects have been selected for funding. The Sino-Dutch research teams are led by two excellent researchers from both countries and will perform innovative research about the relationship between the brain and cognition. A total of 1.5 million euro is available in this programme.


This programme of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) aims at stimulating sustainable research collaboration between researchers in China and The Netherlands by funding joint research projects. Every year a theme is chosen that is timely and relevant for both countries. The call ‘The Future of Brain and Cognition’ was executed by the National Initiative Brain and Cognition (NIHC), part of NWO.

More information on the CAS-NWO Programme and the call is available on the funding page.

Selected projects

The following projects are selected for funding, in alphabetical order of the Dutch researcher.

BRAINTRAJECT: Individualised developmental trajectories in brain connectivity - applications in health and disease
Prof. dr. C.F. (Christian) Beckmann (m), Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen – Donders Instituut
Prof. dr. X.N. (Xi-Nian) Zuo (m), CAS Institute of Psychology

This research team will chart developmental trajectories of the brain’s functional organisation and develop tools and techniques that are sensitive to subtle organisational changes in order to allow making decisions about altered development in individual participants. We will validate these techniques across large datasets available in the Netherlands and China.

The cerebro-cerebellar communication in working memory: insights into the brain-wide neuronal computation
Dr. Z. (Zhenyu) Gao (m), Erasmus MC
Dr. C. (Chengyu) Li (m), CAS Institute of Neuroscience

Working memory, the ability to maintain and manipulate information for guiding ongoing behavior, requires co-activation of large-scale neural networks. In this project, the researchers will study the communication among various brain regions in a working memory task. By doing so the researchers hope to achieve a better understanding of brain-wide communication in working memory.

Mechanistic understanding of long-range connections in auditory perception: from molecule to circuitry
Dr. N. (Nael) Nadif Kasri (m), Radboudumc - Cognitive Neuroscience, Donders Instituut
Dr. N.I. (Ning-Iong) Xu (m), CAS Institute of Neuroscience

Neurodevelopmental disorders, like autism, are affected by changes in sensory perception. The researchers will use state-of-the art techniques to investigate which brain regions and long-range neuronal connections are underlying auditory perception and how this is altered in autism. This research will generate more knowledge on the pathophysiology of the disorder.

Combining bottom-up and top-down information flows in our stream of consciousness.
Dr. T.H.J. (Tomas) Knapen (m), VU – Cognitieve Psychologie
Dr. P. (Peng) Zhang (m), CAS Institute of Biophysics

This research team will use illusions in which consciousness changes but the incoming information stays the same. They will combine these with state-of-the-art brain imaging techniques to investigate how bottom-up sensory information is combined with cognitive information to create our stream of consciousness.

Source: NWO