Radoslaw Martin Cichy Awarded Second European Research Council Grant

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Radoslaw Martin Cichy, two-time recipient of an ERC Consolidator Grant Image Cre
Radoslaw Martin Cichy, two-time recipient of an ERC Consolidator Grant Image Credit: Personal collection

ERC Consolidator Grant worth 2.3 million euros awarded to neuroscientist at Freie Universität Berlin

The European Research Council (ERC) will be providing funding in the form of an ERC Consolidator Grant for a new research project led by neuroscientist Professor Radoslaw Martin Cichy of Freie Universität Berlin. Cichy will receive approximately 2.3 million euros for his five-year project "A Theory and Model of the Neural Transformations Mediating Human Object Perception" (TRANSFORM). The project aims to unravel how the human brain processes visual information and helps us make sense of the world around us. This will be the second time that Cichy has received funding from the ERC, following his receipt of an ERC Starting Grant in 2018.

In just the blink of an eye our brain transforms the photons hitting our retinas into a detailed image. By perceiving the objects around us, be they tables, chairs, or cups, we understand the meaning of the visual world. However, despite intense research on the topic, scientists are still unsure of what exactly happens in our brains that enables this perception of objects. "The overall goal of TRANSFORM is to provide a better explanatory theory of how visual information is processed in the brain and turned into what we ’see’," says Cichy. The project further aims to unravel the link between these neural transformations and object-related behavior. "We are excited to investigate how visual object perception develops from infancy into adulthood. This type of research has only become possible in recent years," says Cichy. To reach these goals, Cichy and his research team will use an interdisciplinary strategy that combines psychology, neuroscience, and computer science.

Radoslaw Martin Cichy has been a professor of neurocognitive and experimental psychology at Freie Universität Berlin since 2020. He is the managing director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience Berlin, also based at Freie Universität Berlin. Cichy’s academic career began at Osnabrück University with an undergraduate degree in cognitive science. He then took part in an exchange abroad at the University of Oxford before studying medical neuroscience at Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. He went on to complete his PhD in psychology at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Berlin. This was followed by a research stay at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), after which he returned to Berlin.

The Latin words veritas, justitia, and libertas, which frame the seal of Freie Universität Berlin, stand for the values that have defined the academic ethos of Freie Universität since its founding in December 1948.