from May 20, 2024 to May 31, 2024
Published on May 21, 2024 Updated on May 22, 2024

Babeș-Bolyai University launches the INSPIRE Platform

From  20 to 25 May the Babeș-Bolyai University organised an "INSPIRE Week" consisting in a series of hogh-profile conferences, key notes, presentations, visits  and debates around the inaiguration of he INSPIRE Platform, an integrated research infrastructure of the three flagship institutes of the Babeș-Bolyai University, strategic in itself and as a support for the UBBMed-School of Health. Coordinated by UBB Science Vice-rector, Dr. Adrian Petrușel, the event took place at Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

Babeș-Bolyai University (UBB) inaugurated during the  INSPIRE Week its most ambitious academic endeavour to date: the "Infrastructure for High Field Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy and Imaging—INSPIRE". 

The INSPIRE platform is a landmark initiative to establish a cutting-edge international research infrastructure through a strategic partnership between the National Magnetic Resonance Imaging Centre (Faculty of Physics of UBB) and the Skyra Platform (International Institute for the Advanced Study of Psychotherapy and Applied Mental Health, Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy of UBB). This collaboration integrates the expertise of two top-ranked faculties, with the Cluj School of Psychology consistently ranked in the top 500 globally in cognitive and clinical sciences and the Cluj School of Physics also achieving significant international recognition.

Coordinated by Professor Simion Simon, the INSPIRE project assembles a multidisciplinary team comprising physicists, psychologists, biologists, doctors, biochemists, and engineers. This project builds on the solid foundation laid by the RICI (Réseau Integrate de Recherches Interdisciplinaires) project in 2010, previously UBB's largest academic initiative.

UBB's existing infrastructure already includes a competitive setup in clinical cognitive neuroscience via the Skyra Platform, which features a 3 Tesla clinical MRI used in numerous international studies and benefiting over 1,000 patients and participants. The National Magnetic Resonance Centre has advanced facilities, including 9.4 Tesla and 14.1 Tesla NMR spectrometers and a 7 Tesla preclinical MRI, crucial for preclinical medical physics research. The INSPIRE project will significantly enhance these capabilities, introducing new facilities such as a 7 Tesla MRI for clinical research and an 11.6 Tesla MRI for preclinical studies. 

These improvements are housed in the "BrainQ" building, further solidifying UBB's position as a national leader and an emerging international magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) authority.

This project also marks a strategic collaboration at the national level with the Romanian Academy, particularly with the National Centre for Brain Research and the Institute of Philosophy and Psychology "Constantin Rădulescu-Motru." Together, they aim to establish a national framework for cognitive neuroscience, creating a network of academic and social units, including clinics and medical companies, dedicated to brain research.

INSPIRE is poised to align with the EUTOPIA_HEALTH initiative, launched in January 2024. EUTOPIA_HEALTH aims to foster integrative academic management of health-related scientific areas across Europe, mainly focusing on Widening countries like Romania, Slovenia, and Portugal. The initiative addresses the critical need for comprehensive and collaborative health research and aims to bridge the gap in funding and publication disparities within these regions.

EUTOPIA_HEALTH will create an innovation ecosystem through integrative, transdisciplinary approaches, connecting research communities with society, business partners, and policymakers. The project will translate research into social innovations and tailored solutions by mainstreaming practices such as Open/Citizen/Inclusive/Collaborative Science. These efforts are expected to enhance research excellence, international visibility, and the funding absorption rate of the participating institutions, including those within the EUTOPIA Alliance.

This initiative represents a monumental leap for UBB, driving forward interdisciplinary research and setting new health sciences and biomedical research standards while synergizing with broader European efforts to transform health research and innovation landscapes.