Project: NEurodevelopmental Optimal-Predictors, Risk factors, and Intervention from a Systems approach to Maladjustment in Children

Acronym: Neo-PRISM-C

Mental health disorders pose a massive economic and societal burden. Emerging early in development and resulting in long-term disability, neurodevelopmental dysfunctions (NDD) compromise the quality of life of millions of Europeans, with implications for the sustainability of health systems and the likelihood of achieving the Europe 2020 strategy on economic growth. The indirect costs of mental dysfunctions, estimated by the European Brain Council (EBC) at ~800 billion euros per year, make up around 40% of the total costs, making the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental health problems a public health challenge. Most urgent are mental health problems that arise in early development since disability at this stage affects the entire lifespan and predicts later dysfunctions (see activities/projects/).

The Neo-PRISM-C, a four-year project funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 Program (H2020-MSCA-ITN-2018) under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (2019-2023) and led by the Center of Applied Neuroscience, University of Cyprus, aims to study neurodevelopmental dysfunctions (NDD). The purpose of the Neo-PRISM-C ITN is to train Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) from multiple disciplines (such as psychology, neuroscience, data science) in applying the Research Domain Criteria approach, a novel framework initiated by the USA National Institute of Mental Health1 for understanding psychopathology, to the study of the mechanisms of NDD, to inform and begin to test appropriate treatments.

Towards this goal, we have assembled a trans-sectoral European network with expertise in cognitive, social, educational, clinical, and emotion research and in training ESRs. Six research, training and management work packages (WPs) pursue these goals. WP1 comprises innovative projects, investigating risk and protective factors that span across NDD diagnostic categories (autism, learning, emotional difficulties) and linking to the healthcare industry and education. WP2 examines systems-level brain development to identify biological substrates of specific dysfunctions. WP3 applies this knowledge to develop new multi-modal interventions to address domains of impairment. The academic, industrial, and clinical partners collaborate across themes, offering ESRs project-specific secondments, supervision, workshops, summer school and courses on research, transferable and entrepreneurial skills. Neo-PRISM-C is expected to further understanding of NDD and improve the competitiveness of EU health professionals and scholars, providing the market with highly-skilled researchers and clinicians.

The Project Coordinator is Prof. Timothy Papadopoulos, and the Vice-Coordinator is Prof. Georgia Panayiotou. For more information about the project, visit the official project’s website and social media pages.

For more information about the project, visit the official project’s website and social media pages.

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1 Insel, T., Cuthbert, B., Garvey, M., Heinssen, R., Pine, D. S., Quinn, K. et al. (2010). Research Domain Criteria (RDoC): Toward a new classification for research on mental disorders. Am J Psychiat, 167, 748 -751.