New Global Partnership for the CSNE

Achievement date: 

The network of the U.S. neural-engineering community has been extended through a partnership between a German “Cluster of Excellence” and the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE), an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) based at the University of Washington.

CSNE is now a strategic partner of BrainLinks-BrainTools (BL-BT), a German research center that is similar to an ERC in the United States.


The affiliation has given CSNE new partners in promoting neural inspired technologies that assist people with neural disorders, technological advances inspired by neural system function, and related commercialization and business start-ups. It also increases diversity in related research and development, student and faculty collaboration, and the sharing of common testbeds.

BL-BT partnerships within Germany include the Bernstein Foci Neurotechnology in Berlin, Gottingen and Frankfurt, and the Cluster of Excellence at the University of Tubingen. The BL-BT has partnerships with other U.S. researchers at the Wadsworth Center and the University of Michigan, as well as a number of other international partners.


: In July 2011, Dr. Wolfram Burgard of the University of Freiburg approached the nascent CNSE to ask if it would be willing to partner in their proposal for a Cluster of Excellence. Clusters of Excellence are funded by German federal and state governments in a fashion similar to the ERCs. These programs have educational, industry, research and community missions that far exceed those funded by more traditional sources. They build international infrastructure to help advance knowledge and expertise in engineering systems. Their mission and vision are quite similar to those of the CSNE and other ERCs.

CSNE leaders participated in the preparation of the BL-BT proposal (via text and a short movie) and also had Dr. Burgard present his research at the CSNE in Seattle. During his visit to the CSNE, Dr. Burgard met with collaborators and students and worked with CSNE to develop the framework for student and faculty exchanges.