Sapiens is an innovative training programme that aims at creating a European network of excellence in developmental science.
It was made possible thanks to Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions research fellowship program, that provides funding opportunities for researches and support cooperation between industry and academia. It brings together many European Universities and technological companies, that work towards a common goal – getting to know how children develop socially.
What is Sapiens about?
Sapiens was created as an answer for a contemporary need to understand the role of early interactions for the brain development. Up until now, the developing brain was studied from the point of perception and other cognitive functions, but we focus on a different, novel approach.
Because of the importance of social interactions for the functioning of the society in the large scale, we investigate the mechanisms through which early social interactions tune critical brain functions in early childhood. Early contact between infants and caregivers shape the ways of communication that children carry throughout their life. Many micro-scale phenomena, such as ability to recognize faces or sharing mutual gaze with others need to be understood in order to revolutionise the understanding of macro-scale development of socially relevant functions like theory of mind, language, attention, and arousal and emotion regulation.
What’s more, it seems that social interactions are impaired in some neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorder. Uncovering how the social experiences shape the brain can help us understand the causes of autism and course of development of autistic brain.
Role of Harimata
Harimata, aside leading European research institutions and other companies is one of the nodes in the network. Each partner of Sapiens brings in an exceptional value, and Harimata, as a company that develops innovative screening and diagnostic tools, plays a key role in cooperation. So far we have created an accurate screening test, that can assess the risk of autism in children – Play.Care tablet app, that uses advanced machine learning algorithms to analyse movement patterns. Harimata actively researches Play.Care efficiency, continuously testing children across Europe.
Network of specialists
Thanks to cooperation with other industry partners, members of the network have access to novel brain imaging techniques, such as fNIRS, that is more portable, quiet and comfortable for children than traditionally used magnetic resonance scanners (Artinis). Another partner, Vicar Vision, develops modern behaviour monitoring tools. Together with 10 European universities Sapiens cooperates in order to advance our understanding of social brain development and develop research methods beyond the current state of art.
We believe, that just as brain development is shaped through social interaction, scientific progress is stimulated by collaboration. Together we hope to discover the ways that our brains are shaped by other people and our interactions with them.
Sapiens Programme University Partners
- Uniwersytet Warszawski, Poland – www.uw.edu.pl
- University of Cambridge, The UK – www.cam.ac.uk
- King’s College London, The UK – www.kcl.ac.uk
- Birkbeck University London, The UK – www.bbk.ac.uk
- Karolinska Instutitet, Sweden – https://ki.se/start
- Upssala Universitet, Sweden – https://www.uu.se/
- Stichting Katholieke Universiteit, The Netherlands – www.ru.nl
- Universiteit Ghent, Belgium – www.ugent.be
- Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands – www.uu.nl
- Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Italy – www.iss.it
– Harimata, Poland – https://harimata.pl/
– VicarVision, The Netherlands – http://www.vicarvision.nl/
– Mentis Cura, Norway – http://www.mentiscura.com/
– BabyBrains, The UK – http://www.baby-brains.com/
– PatternVision, Iceland – http://patternvision.com/
– Artinis, The Netherlands – https://www.artinis.com/