MoViR NENS Cluster 

Cluster Description

The MoViR NENS Cluster will be formed to design a virtual practical training on neuroanatomical tracing and electrophysiology. It will mainly be used to define the different stages of the practical work to be created in virtual reality, the feasibility (technical level and interface with humans) and utility.

The training in VR will initiate master and (early) PhD students to experimental approach. VR will rely on the particularities and assets of this experimental approach, e.g. active learning, trial and error learning, student autonomy, in learning processes. This training will be achieved without having to deal with ethical constraints with regards to animal experimentation. The cluster will serve to eventually develop virtual practical training that could be delivered as an e-learning resource on the Moodle platform of the EMN-online master and other graduate programs.

Cluster Partners

The MoVir consortium comprises 3 partner institutions in collaboration with 2 SMEs.

a. The Bordeaux Neurocampus Department manages training programs in Neuroscience at the master and PhD levels at the University of Bordeaux. The EMN-Online master is an e-learning program that is already developing, in collaboration with Practeex (a start-up in Bordeaux), a stress/anxiety behavioural practical training to be played on a computer, coded with the Unity language.

b. The Universitat Jaume I Master’s Degree in Brain and Behaviour Research trains researchers in behavioural neuroscience. The program allows the theoretical and methodological grounds of this discipline to be acquired, along with the competences needed to undertake basic and clinical research. An essential part of training is carried out in the laboratory.

c. The Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology is to excel in basic scientific research. It is associated to the Warsaw PhD School in Natural and BioMedical Sciences that offers interdisciplinary education in 4 scientific disciplines: biology, chemistry, physics, medicine. Their role in the cluster will be to bring in their expertise in computational neuroscience. They will be supported by Elmiko, a company specialized in designing and developing medical electronics and IT solutions.

Cluster Outcome

The MoViR NENS Cluster was formed to design a virtual practical training on stereotaxis and lesion or neuroanatomical tracing. Many students start their PhD without much practical experience. The practical training in virtual reality will allow those students to gain this experience, without ethical constraints regarding animal handling etc. The NENS cluster grant was mainly used to define the different stages of the practical work to be created in virtual reality, the feasibility (technical level and interface with humans) and utility. This resulted in a detailed story board displaying the various sequences to be created. Meetings between partners also allowed to define the pedagogical objectives and the learning strategy to be implemented within the virtual practical. Data were also collected from selected bibliographic references to feed the algorithms that will be further developed to code the simulation and the interactions with the learners. The virtual practical training will then be put at the service of the EMN-Online (Univ. Bordeaux) and Brain and Behaviour Research (Univ Jaume I) master programs. The project initiated through the NENS cluster grant will be further developed with the appropriate funds for implementation at other interested graduate programs in Europe.

Cluster Deliverables


This cluster is funded by the FENS Committee of Higher Education and Training (CHET).