The goal of this European Training Network (ETN) is to train a new generation of interdisciplinary scientists (1) to perform research into the etiology of ADHD and ASD and the overlap of these disorders, and (2) to apply such research towards improving patients’ lives through better diagnostics and more effective, individualized (pharmacological and non-pharmacological) treatment options.
To make progress in understanding disease etiopathogenesis, develop novel strategies to enhance diagnosis, predict prognosis and govern treatment it is crucial to understand the underlying mechanisms all the way from genetic/environmental risk factor to behavioural outcome. Different levels of investigation - from molecular through neurobiological and neural systems to cognitive and behavioural - need to be integrated. This means that researchers need to be knowledgeable across different disciplines. This interdisciplinary (rather than multidisciplinary) aspect of education is lacking in most academic curricula. (Neuro-)biologists, physicians, and psychologists are invariably educated separately on MSc levels with limited interaction between disciplines. Moreover, current academic education pays too little attention to the societal impact of research findings. In this ETN, we aim at ameliorating these shortcomings for researchers focussing on neurodevelopmental disorders. To stimulate progress in understanding the underpinnings of such complex neurodevelopmental disorders and their overlap researchers are required who are interdisciplinarily trained in the areas of neuropsychiatry and psychology, human genetics, bioinformatics, and the functional characterization of etiological pathways, as well as being at ease in working in international collaborations. Intersectoral training is an essential requirement for this new generation of scientists, which will enhance the translation of experimental findings from bench to bedside. In this context, we provide an innovative research programme that is subdivided in four scientific work packages (WPs).