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Inaugural Workshop of the INCF National Node Neuroinformatics of the Netherlands Jaap van Pelt Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research (CNCR) VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands. History.

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Inaugural Workshop of the

INCF National Node Neuroinformatics of the Netherlands

Jaap van Pelt

Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research (CNCR)

VU University

Amsterdam, the Netherlands


January 1996 – OECD Megascience Forum initiates Working Group on Biological Informatics with 3 Subgroups: Biodiversity – Neuroinformatics - Intellectual Property Rights

December 1998 – Report Working Group on Biological Informatics

March 1999 - Start Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF)

June 2002 – Global Science Forum - Report Working Group on Neuroinformatics

June 2003 – Proposal to Establish the International Coordinating Facility

January 2004 – OECD Ministerial Meeting endorsing Recommendations

August 2005 – Launch of the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility (INCF)

March 21, 2007 - NWO signs the agreement with INCF - the Netherlands becomes the 12th member of INCF


The Neurosciences have developed up to a state where the lack of techniques to manage and exchange data, and the lack of tools to handle and model the complexity and organization of the brain slows down further scientific progress


Tools to manage, analyse and share large amounts of data and information

Tools to handle complexity, organization and dynamics of the brain (theories, computational models)

Tools for scaling up collaborative investigations

OECD-Global Science Forum

Working Group Neuroinformatics


Arrange fundamentals for the establishment and promotion of Neuroinformatics

Global Neuroinformatics Program

International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility


Secr. host

Program in



Professional organisations,

Scientists, Scientific Journals

National Research Bodies

National Neuroinformatics Nodes

Actions towards a Program in Neuroinformatics in the Netherlands in the past 4 years

  • Installing a neuroinformatics steering group

  • Working on a neuroinformatics community in the Netherlands

  • Organizing workshops (twice a year)

  • Working on awareness of neuroinformatics among governmental and industrial organizations

  • Launching a website (

  • Writing a Masterplan Neuroinformatics with recommendations to the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO)

Neuroinformatics Steering Committee Netherlands in the past 4 years

Dr. Gerrit van Ark - Science and Strategy – Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) / Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)

Prof. Stan Gielen - Medical Physics and Biophysics - University of Nijmegen

Drs. Jos Lely (observer) - Research and Science Policy – Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (MinOCW)

Prof. Harry Uylings - Representing Dutch Neurofederation – VU Medical Center - University of Maastricht

Prof. Arno Siebes - Institute of Information and Computing Systems -

University Utrecht

Dr. Arjen van Ooyen – Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research (CNCR) / VU University Amsterdam

Prof. Wytse Wadman - Institute for Neurobiology - University of Amsterdam

Dr. Jaap van Pelt – CNCR / VU - (NIN - KNAW)

Neuroinformatics Meetings in NL Netherlands in the past 4 years

  • 1. Policy Workshop, January 30, 2004, Den Haag

    • Neuroinformatics in the Netherlands and the International Perspectives

    • 2. Satellite Workshop at 3rd ENP Meeting, June 4, 2004, Doorwerth

    • Computational Neuroscience - New Developments in Neuroinformatics

    • 3. Science Workshop, November 26, 2004, Den Haag

    • Neuroinformatics: Challenges for the Netherlands

    • 4. Satellite Workshop at 4th ENP Meeting, May/June, 2005, Doorwerth

    • Neuroinformatics - Dutch challenges within a global program

    • 5. Science workshop, December 9, 2005, Den Haag

    • Informatics in Neuroscience

    • 6. Session at 5th ENP Meeting, June 6-9, 2006, Doorwerth

    • Role of excitation and inhibition in neuronal network dynamics: Model studies

    • 7. Session at 6th ENP Meeting, June 5-8, 2007, Doorwerth

    • Synaptic connectivity and critical network dynamics

    • 8. Science Workshop, December 7, 2007, Den Haag

    • Inaugural Meeting of the INCF National Node Neuroinformatics of the Netherlands

    • 9. Session at 7th ENP Meeting, June 4-6, 2008, Doorwerth

    • Modeling neuronal morphology and synaptic connectivity

  • At the 21th of March 2007 Netherlands in the past 4 years

  • NWO signed the agreement with INCF making the Netherlands the 12th member of INCF

  • Decision was made through the joint financial support of the

  • NWO departments for

    • Health R&D (ZonMw),

    • Earth and Life Sciences (ALW),

    • Social Sciences (MaGW) and

    • Physical Sciences (EW)

    • and written support from

    • Ministry of Education, Culture and Science

  • Neurofederation

  • Philips Research

National Nodes in Neuroinformatics Netherlands in the past 4 years

national coordination and interfacing with INCF

  • Active participation in formulation and implementation of the INCF Work Programs

  • Coordination and facilitation of neuroinformatics research at national level

  • Promotion of the sharing of neuroinformatics data under common standards,

  • consistent with INCF

  • Promotion of neuroinformatics in support of INCF

  • Development of a description of an accepted standard of metadata of the contents

  • and quality of data bases, analytical tools and computational models

  • Advice on policy of Intellectual Property Rights and protection of experimental subjects

  • Coordination of the management by data bases administrators

Proposed actions of the National Node Netherlands in the past 4 years

  • Website

  • Basic functions

    • community building (matchmaking (who is who), relational visualization, diary of events, structured list of courses, vacancies, etc.)

  • Advanced functions

    • directory of db’s and portals or references to these

    • forum for promoting discussions and information exchange

    • data exchange – resources and references – data, analytical tools, computational models, instrumentations

    • web-based tools for community exchange (Python, Xoonips, etc)

  • professional website/portal builder needed – who?

Proposed actions of the National Node – cont. Netherlands in the past 4 years

  • National collaborative projects on

  • databasing / datasharing (at varying scales of granularity - e.g. data basing in the lab)

  • analytical / visualization tools development

  • computational modeling

  • implementing the advantages of neuroinformatics approaches (including standards and interoperability)

  • how to form such collaborative neuroinformatics projects?

  • An example of emerging collaborations (between Russia and NL) is proposal BRAIN (Nijmegen, Amsterdam and Russian groups)

  • Funding

  • Opportunities from existing mechanisms – national – international

  • NWO - STW programs

  • are these appropriate for neuroinformatics projects? (INCF-PIN?)

  • if not, which actions should be taken?

Proposed actions of the National Node – cont. Netherlands in the past 4 years

  • Structure National Node

  • Selection of topics and topics representatives (TORs) to assist coordinator in its activities (e.g. organization of workshops, contacts with research groups). Topical list could include databasing, grid and E-science – imaging – data analysis, exploration and visualization – modeling – BMI -education and training)

  • procedure towards such a list of topics and TOR candidates?

  • Communication

  • Channel between NL neuroinformaticians, INCF and other national nodes

  • Relay national opinions to INCF secretariat (e.g. on workshop recommendations)

    • mechanisms – website?

  • Education and training

  • Coordination within NL

  • Modular structured courses

  • Linkages with European activities (EC opportunities?)

  • INCF will organize special workshop on education and training curriculi for neuroinformatics

    • what are the practical problems? and how to organize?

  • Proposed actions of the National Node – cont. Netherlands in the past 4 years

    • Scientific meetings

    • Continue organizing regular workshops – 9th neuroinformatics workshop in preparation for the 2008 ENP meeting

      • continue with this scheme? – other formats?

  • Promotion

  • Inviting neuroinformaticians in existing seminar series

  • other promotional activities?

  • Grid / e-Science

  • Big Grid – articulation committee

  • International GRID projects (CARMEN (UK) for electrophysiology)

  • grid infrastructure for neuroinformatics applications?

  • Other (inter)national activities

  • National Initiative Brain & Cognition

    • how to articulate neuroinformatics activities in this initiative?

  • Bob Hertzberger, Computer Architecture and Parallel Systems Group,

    Department of Computer Science, Un. Amsterdam, [email protected]

    NetherLight Group,

    Advanced node (SARA,Amsterdam) for connecting optical networks (transmission over many wavelengths (lambda’s) within a optical fibre). Optimal testbed for high speed network services. NetherLight is an initiative of SURFnet within the GigaPort-project.

    Inauguration of the Group,

    INCF National Node Neuroinformatics

    of the Netherlands