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The CRM participates in the MSCA-COFUND TOUCH Project

  • The MSCA-COFUND TOUCH project, spearheaded by the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), has been funded under the prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) and the Horizon Europe program. The CRM will participate as an implementing partner.
  • Among the PhDs projects being offered to potential students, three will be supervised or co-supervised by Klaus Wimmer and Alexandre Hyafil, principal investigators of the Neuroscience research group.
  • The COFUND program stimulates regional, national, or international programs through co-financing mechanisms. It promotes the training, mobility, and career development of researchers.

The MSCA-COFUND TOUCH (Towards the next generation of excellent young doctoral researchers on mental health by developing an intersectoral & transdisciplinary approach) aims to advance mental health research by integrating various disciplines and sectors. The project’s primary goal is to recruit and train 24 doctoral candidates over three years. These candidates will explore the complexities of mental health and well-being through a rigorous and holistic training program that includes international collaborations and research stays at various partner institutions.

The project will investigate mental health across different life stages, examine a wide range of factors—including biological, psychological, and social determinants—develop and test new methods for assessing and addressing mental health issues, and explore the policies and frameworks governing mental health services and their implementation. In total, 7 implementing partners and 26 associated partners will collaborate under the coordination of UAB.

With a highly multidisciplinary and transversal vision, the TOUCH project includes participation from various affiliated institutions: Centre for Demographic Studies, Centre de Recerca Matemàtica, Computer Vision Center, Health and Ageing Foundation, Parc Taulí Research and Innovation Institute, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau Research Institute, and Vall d’Hebron Research Institute. Additionally, the project is supported by the CORE network in mental health and other national and international institutions. Of the 24 predoctoral positions, 12 will be for UAB researchers, and 12 will be distributed among consortium institutions.

Contributors from the CRM Neuroscience Group

The Centre de Recerca Matemàtica (CRM) is an implementing partner in the TOUCH project. Of the PhD projects being offered to potential candidates, three will be supervised or co-supervised by Klaus Wimmer and Alexandre Hyafil, principal investigators of the Neuroscience research group.

The research project supervised by Klaus Wimmer will investigate how ageing affects brain networks related to working memory using computational modelling and experimental data analysis. Despite evidence showing cognitive decline with age, particularly in working memory, a cohesive theoretical framework explaining the interaction of age-related neuronal changes is lacking. The project aims to develop a neural network model to understand these changes, using data from 40 rhesus monkeys to explore how ageing impacts neuronal communication and working memory circuits.

Alexandre Hyafil is a co-supervisor in two projects offered to potential candidates. The first identifies computational markers for belief propagation in perception and their dysregulation in psychosis, using tasks and EEG/MEG data to model participant behaviour and correlate markers with psychosis traits. The second investigates the Sense of Agency (SoA) in psychosis, developing motor tasks and computational models, and using mobile-based studies to understand psychosis mechanisms and create new diagnostic tools. Both projects will be co-supervised with Neus Vidal, from the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology at UAB.

The MSCA-COFUND TOUCH project represents a substantial collaborative effort to make contributions to our understanding and treatment of mental health disorders, establishing a long-term partnership within the Research Network in Mental Health, part of the CORE (Communities Oriented to Strategic Challenges) initiative by the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Through innovative research and comprehensive training of young researchers, TOUCH aims to pave the way for new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies, ultimately improving the lives of individuals affected by mental health issues.

The call for candidates to join the TOUCH project is currently open, applications will close on June 30th. For more information about the TOUCH project and its various components, you can visit the TOUCH project page.

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CRM Comm

Pau Varela & Mariona Fucho

CRMComm@crm.cat

 

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