Since its establishment in 2007, the Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme (CNP) has grown from a handful of individuals into an expansive and dynamic research team of nearly 250 scientists. The programme’s growth was not in numbers only, but also in the scope of its scientific and academic activities. These include the introduction of new fields of research represented by individual labs, new tools, techniques and the organisation of scientific meetings, courses and workshops. CNP researchers also regularly host international collaborators and travel to leading research institutions and conferences worldwide. At the same time, CNP researchers have been receiving significant support for their work from multiple funding agencies and institutions.
The success of the CNP stems not only from its high standard for scientific research, but also from its strong scientific culture. It focuses on encouraging collaboration and cooperation across individual research groups with the goal of advancing research as a whole while supporting the progress of individual scientists. As specified in the Mission Statement – “The aspiration of the CNP as an organisation is to help (its) scientists to reach their full creative potential and to promote collective achievements beyond those reachable by individual scientists or laboratory groups.”
Since the beginning, the CNP has regarded educating future neuroscientists as one of its main objectives. To this end, the CNP has been dedicating considerable efforts to the development and implementation of outstanding educational programmes, advanced courses and workshops.
Following the vision of its Founder, in 2014 Champalimaud Foundation established a sister programme for CNP on the Biology of Systems and Metastasis (BSM). This new program focuses on a systems organismic approach to investigating the biology of cancer. Its ultimate goal is to understand and prevent cancer—especially metastasis. Understanding how cancer cells initiate, escape the organism’s defense mechanisms, grow, and metastasize, will depend on more than just understanding the biology of cancer cells; it will also depend on understanding how cancer cells interact with the various systems of the organism, including the vascular, immune, lymphatic, and endocrine systems, and how these interactions change over time.
The two programmes together form Champalimaud Research, an overarching research programme with an integrated Direction Team that will include members of all research fields.
Champalimaud Research is based at the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, an institute where clinical and research activities run side by side. In this setting, supported by the scientific culture of the CNP, the two programmes are ideally situated to develop cross-field collaborations by sharing tools, approaches and ideas, thus facilitating progress within these two great realms of the Unknown.