19 August 2020
The first grants have been awarded. In every newsletter we would like to introduce a research project to you. In this newsletter we would like to introduce the first one:

Big sleep data: establishing a comprehensive processing pipeline for the Healthy Brain sleep recordings

Team:
  • Martin Dresler, Radboudumc, Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Lisa Genzel, Radboud University, Science Faculty, Neuroinformatics
  • Peter Desain, Radboud University, Social Sciences Faculty, Artificial Intelligence
  • Madelon van Hooff, Radboud University, Social Sciences Faculty, Work and Organizational Psychology
  • Merel Boon, Radboud University, Social Sciences Faculty, Work and Organizational Psychology

In this project the team will develop a comprehensive preprocessing and automatic sleep classification solution for the recorded sleep raw data that will allow Healthy Brain researchers to use the sleep data of each participants in the form of classical sleep stages.

Interview with Martin Dresler:

How did you find your new collaborators?
Interest in sleep research has been constantly growing on campus in recent years. After a very successful summer school on the neuroscience of sleep last year, we had gathered researchers from about a dozen research groups on campus with an interest in sleep for a more structured Radboud Sleep Network, however the in-person kick-off meeting in March fell prey to the lockdown. Nevertheless, we were in contact with many colleagues active in both animal and human sleep research when we stumbled across the Healthy Brain pre-seed call.

How did you communicate while generating this research ideas?
We had some in-person meetings to chat more generally on collaborations on sleep topics already before learning about the call. For this specific project, communication was restricted mostly to email due to the Covid crisis. This was not too much of a problem, given that the necessities of the sleep wearable analyses involved in the Healthy Brain project were quite straightforward, and thus we didn't have to brainstorm too extensively to find a joint research topic.

What was easy in setting-up this new collaboration?
Even though the team has not worked in this specific constellation before, the involved researchers had already contact in various smaller constellations, either within previous two-person collaborations, or at least in previous meetings to explore mutual research interests.

What was difficult in setting-up this new collaboration?
Not much, at least beyond the general Covid-related meeting restrictions.

What is your advice to researchers on campus to set-up new collaborations across faculties?
A funding call - for smaller scale seed funding or larger consortia - is a good opportunity to look for potential collaborators on campus (and beyond). However, even more promising is to connect with colleagues with similar research topics in advance, without a specific goal. This way, it is much easier and faster, both practically and in terms of finding topics of joint interest, to build a fruitful collaborative team as soon as a funding opportunity comes up.