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Looking back

The Bernstein Network Computational Neuroscience is based on a unique, large-scale funding initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). It was founded in 2004 with the aim of establishing central structures to join regional capacities in the field of computational neuroscience, interconnecting and further developing them in a sustainable manner.

Funding line with foresight

At the beginning of the 21st century, research into fundamental neuronal processes had made great progress and was steadily gaining momentum. The question of how the human brain works governed the neurosciences; this topic gained importance in a scientific and social context, in particular with regard to medical diagnostics and therapy. In order to remain internationally competitive as a research location and to be able to shape the scientific discourses of the future, the Bernstein Network funding initiative was created.

Projects and collaborations funded in the course of this initiative were therefore set up across disciplines. Traditionally, Bernstein research always linked experimental and theoretical research groups. Over the course of a decade, a nationwide research network was established in Germany under the name “National Bernstein Network Computational Neuroscience” (NNCN).

Bernstein Centers

Bernstein Centers still constitute the core of the network. They unite different scientific expertise at one location each and are shaping international cutting-edge research in Computational Neuroscience. Beside the centers, other Bernstein funding lines, which specifically addressed young scientists or specifically promoted a scientific focus, helped the network to expand not only in terms of locations, but even more so in terms of research methods and topics (see historical map from 2015).

Bernstein Conference

One of the most sustainable developments of Bernstein funding is the Bernstein Conference. Launched in 2005 as the ‘Bernstein Symposium’, the annual scientific meeting grew in size and audience and has become the international Bernstein Conference. Today, it is one of most reputable international conferences in this field worldwide.

Growing further

Since the end of BMBF funding, many centers and research groups have been institutionalized. Computational Neuroscience is now firmly anchored in the German research landscape – with numerous chairs, with collaborations in Germany and abroad, and with a broad range of Master’s and PhD programs.

The Bernstein Network has also gained members internationally. Since 2016, it is a kind of scientific society open to scientists of all career stages who conduct research in the field of computational neuroscience or in related disciplines.

Moving on

From Bernstein Prize to independent lab

The Bernstein Award provided young scientists with the financial means to establish an independent junior research group and expanded their research profile. Today, they are important players in computational neuroscience.


Core Facilities

Three central facilities of the Bernstein Network continue to support the members of the network in terms of scientific infrastructure, of organisation and with regard to communication.


The German Neuroinformatics Node (G-Node) develops tools and infrastructure, which support data access, data analysis and data exchange to foster reproducible research, collaboration, data sharing and publication. G-Node works closely with the secretariat of the International Neuroinformatics Node (INCF) and other INCF nodes. All tools developed within the G-Node are open source and freely available to the national and international community. More about G-Node.

SimLab Neuroscience

The SimLab Neuroscience serves as a bridge between neuroscience and high-performance computing (HPC) by providing high-level, community-oriented support for neuroscientists. This includes in-house and collaborative research and development of data analytics and simulation technologies, leveraging the power of HPC. More about SimLab Neuroscience.

Bernstein Coordination Site (BCOS)

The Bernstein Coordination Site (BCOS) is the central contact for any information and questions about the Bernstein Network.
As a central institution, it supports the scientists of the Bernstein Network in their joint activities and serves as a link between the network partners. In addition, scientific coordinators and communicators are responsible for creating platforms for scientific exchange and shaping the network’s public outreach at various levels.