Nov 15

Building Bridges through Science

"The Science Bridge" initiative wants to promote international life science collaboration between Western and Middle Eastern neuroscience communities

The Ikerbasque Research Professor and Achucarro Group Leader Mazahir T. Hasan is the leading voice and the coordinator of "The Science Bridge" a new international initiative that strives to promote scientific collaboration as a way to get different cultures closer to each other.

In this paper, 122 authors from 82 research centers and 22 countries all over the world give an overview of successful intercultural science exchange during the ‘Golden Age' of the medieval Arab and Persian cultures. This historic model of tolerance and free exchange of ideas can serve as an inspirational model for efforts today in bridging cultures from the West and the Middle-East/South-Asia by scientific pursuits.

The authors also introduce a two-step plan for The Science Bridge: In the first step, the initiative will organize scientific conferences, research exchange programs and shared grants to enhance collaborations in the life sciences, especially brain research, with a focus on medical treatments and cures. In the second step, it aims to establish "Twin Institutes" which are complementary research facilities with one being located in a Western, the other one in a Middle-Eastern/South-Asian country and both being structured in a way to promote open dialog and exchange of ideas.

Nobel Laureate Professor Torsten Wiesel of the Rockefeller University in New York, USA says, "Researchers from different cultures and nations in the ‘Twin Institutes', an innovative concept proposed by The Science Bridge, could make important contributions both in science and in human relations."

Thomas Lissek, first author of the new publication and a medical student at Heidelberg University: "Our key motivation is to accelerate scientific progress by establishing new friendships and new collaborations around the world."

Thomas Lissek et al.
Building Bridges through Science
Neuron (2017) Volume 96, Issue 4, 15 Pages 730–735