Outstanding: ERC Advanced Grant for Board of Trustees Chair

Our Board of Trustees Chair Professor Christian Büchel has been awarded the Advanced Grant of the European Research Council (ERC) for the second time. Prof. Büchel is director of the Institute for Systemic Neurosciences at the UKE (University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf) and is exploring how acute pain develops into chronic suffering with his “PainPersist” research project. Over the next five years, the project will receive a total of 2.5 million euros under the EU’s “Horizon 2020” funding programme. 

Using modern neurobiological methods such as functional MRI and magnetic resonance spectroscopy, the research group working with the Hamburg pain researcher will investigate how psychological factors can influence the development of pain persistence and how this process can be counteracted. In addition, artificial intelligence methods shall be used to develop a procedure that allows pain patients to regain control of their pain. According to “Deutsche Schmerzgesellschaft, several million people are affected by chronic pain in Germany alone. The new research approaches could help them. 


For Prof. Büchel, this is already his second ERC Advanced Grant: he was also awarded it in 2011 for his placebo research. In the same year, he was also awarded the Ernst Jung Prize for Medicine, which is steeped in tradition. The Hamburg Jung Foundation thus honoured Prof. Büchel’s fundamental new findings in the understanding of complex processes of the brain such as learning, language, anxiety and pain. Prof. Büchel thus ranked himself among a number of award winners, who are among the top representatives of their field. Throughout their careers they have received other significant awards; two of them have even been awarded the Nobel Prize. 


Prof. Büchel returned to the Jung Foundation in 2015. This time, however, not as the prize winner, but as a member of the Board of Trustees, whose chairmanship he assumed in July 2019. Consisting of international medical researchers, it fulfils, among other things, the role of the scientific advisory body and, as such, is responsible for choosing future prize winners of the Jung Foundation.