Blindness is the most feared handicap leading to the greatest exclusion from society by reducing patient autonomy and mobility.
There are still an estimated 39 million blind people worldwide. Clinical trials have demonstrated the possibility to regain some useful vision with retinal prostheses in patients having lost photoreceptors. New approaches are entering into clinical trials such as photovoltaic implants, optogenetic therapy and even cortical prostheses for patients having lost eye to brain connection. In the present ENTRAIN-Vision project, the Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) will work on these innovative technologies for restoring vision in blind patients. Their training in academic institutes or industry will be completed by several secondments, including one at an industry partner. In addition, several winter/summer schools will address scientific subjects on vision restoration and transferable skills in technology transfer, clinical trials, start-up creation, communication to media. Lectures will be followed by practice e.g. innovative technologies for assessing brain function.
ENTRAIN VISION will create a unique European network of researchers, clinicians and industrials on visual restoration. This network will provide a comprehensive training across multiple disciplines including neuroscience, vision, psychophysics, genetic, electronic, bio-engineering and computational modelling. It will therefore prepare a new generation of leaders able to carry the new therapeutic strategies from bench to patients. ESRs will encounter founders of start-up and industrial partners enlarging thereby job opportunities to 1) remain in the career path of research & innovation, 2) contribute to clinical trials and/or develop the rehabilitation programs or 3) get involved in product manufacture, distribution and marketing throughout Europe. This project will generate great social and economic benefits in Europe by improving patient autonomy and daily life.