INNNI Newsletter, November 2012

Dear colleagues,
    This is the third newsletter to all member institutions of the Indian National Node for NeuroInformatics, INNNI. Past newsletters are archived at http://innni.ncbs.res.in/newsletters

In this newsletter I report on the recently concluded INCF/INNNI workshop at Chennai, welcome new members, and solicit proposals for upcoming editions of the INNNI workshop and the INNNI summer course for 2013.

Topics.
1. INCF/INNNI workshop in Chennai
2. New members
3. Request for proposals for 2013 INNNI Summer Course and INNNI workshop.
4. Strengthening INNNI outreach and activities.
 


1. INCF/INNNI workshop in Chennai: Nov 5-7 + INNNI members meeting on Nov 8.
This workshop was organized by Drs. Sitabhra Sinha and Srinivasa Chakravarthy of the Institute for Mathematical Sciences, and IIT Madras, respectively. The workshop had the theme "Neuroinformatics of sensory-motor integration: modeling and imaging from the worm to the human nervous system". It ran from 5-7 November 2012. There was an excellent panel of speakers, both from India and internationally. Among these was Prof. Sten Grillner of the Karolinska Insitute, who is the Chair of the INCF. There were many useful discussions in the workshop, and the outcome will be collated soon and a report will be sent to the INCF and circulated among INNNI members. One of the innovations of the workshop was the presentation of student posters. This led to very lively discussions and is among the recommendations for future INNNI workshops.

During the workshop we also conducted a preliminary meeting of the scientific members of the Initiative for Neuroinformatics and Computational Neuroscience Education. We hope to officially commence operations soon, and preliminary applications may be uploaded to http://innni.ncbs.res.in/incne

Following the workshop we conducted the INNNI node meeting on November 8. Relatively few members (7) were represented, and we have recommendations for how to plan the node meeting in future workshops to make it more integrated with the workshop and increase attendance. We also considered how to improve the visibility of neuroinformatics nationally and to involve more young researchers and students. Members present were P.K. Roy (NBRC Manesar), G. Rangarajan (IISc Bangalore), S. Sinha (IMSc Chennai), S. Chakravarthy (IIT Madras), P. Goel (IISER Pune),K. Majumdar (ISI Bangalore) and U.S. Bhalla (NCBS Bangalore).
 


2. New members of INNNI
We welcome the joining of the Centre for Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences, University of Allahabad, represented by Dr. Narayanan Srinivasan.
 


3. Request for proposals for 2013 INNNI Summer Course and INNNI workshop.
We solicit requests for proposals for the flagship events of the INNNI, the summer course in June/July and the Workshop in November 2013. Applications should be mailed to bhalla@ncbs.res.in and pkroy@nbrc.ac.in Please send these proposals in before Dec 15, so that the preparation and publicity can begin in a timely manner.

The application should contain the name of the institution(s) and organizers(s) of the event, as well as a brief paragraph enumerating the strengths of the proposed host institution in neuroinformatics and related disciplines. There should be an outline of the course structure for the Summer Course, and of the proposed themes and how these align with the goals of the INCF for the Workshop.

We are preparing guidelines for conducting the Summer Course and Workshop. Draft guidelines will be hosted on the INNNI web page. In general, there
should be high academic standards in a Neuroinformatics theme and good outreach to students and researchers nationally.


4. Strengthening INNNI outreach and activities.
The major theme of the INNNI node meeting on the 8th of November was to consider how best to strengthen Neuroinformatics and allied activities nationwide. Here the Indian national node can play a useful role through institutional links and coordination. Some of the ideas considered include:

a. Multi-institutional research programmes
Ambitious and cutting edge research programmes frequently require coordinated research in many areas. INNNI encourages node members to plan such initiatives and will help by suggesting funding avenues, as well as by writing in support of such initiatives. While these activities will of course be member-initiated, INNNI can also help to bring interested parties together (matchmaking) as described below. Specific strengths of the Indian research context include patient and population pools, and also the strong IT and engineering base.

b. Matchmaking programmes: Research interests and matchup.
INNNI invites each of its member institutions to provide a list of researchers and specific research interests where they would like to collaborate. These will be hosted on the INNNI page and provide a quick reference for people to find interested research partners.

c. Funding avenues.
Through input from members, INNNI is assembling a Funding page that will help members identify avenues for funding in this highly interdisciplinary area. Members are encouraged to contact us with suggestions of such agencies. INNNI will also request members who serve on such committees to promote the importance of multidisciplinary work of the kind exemplified by INNNI members.

d. Educational resources
INNNI will set up a web page with a list and brief critique of a range of textbooks and other educational material in the field. Additionally, all  Summer Course material from recent courses will be made available online. The INCF Neuroinformatics courses also host all their material online, including lectures.

e. Outreach
We have constituted an outreach committee including Drs. Chakaravarthy, Roy, and Majumdar. The goal of this committee is to consider ways to broaden the knowledge of INNNI activities. One avenue is to contact related organizations such as the Indian IEEE chapters in Neural Networks and in Biomedical Engineering. Another important avenue is to work on publicity among students and science and engineering colleges.