Network for Transcutaneous Vagus Nerve Stimulation Research
The proposed research network will set out to reach the following key objectives within the first five years:
1) Consolidate and extend research collaboration. The financial support provided by this funding opportunity will allow us to organize annual meetings focused on fundamental tVNS research. These meetings will allow researchers to intensively discuss and brainstorm research questions, results, and proposals. Additionally, these meetings will allow researchers in the network to lay the groundworks for further collaborations between groups outside of the meetings. Concerted action will facilitate and create opportunities for submitting national and international (European) grant proposals and for postdoctoral careers.
2) Facilitate interdisciplinary and international research opportunities. Despite the multidisciplinary composition of our research network, there have been very few interdisciplinary tVNS research projects. We aim to increase communication and mobility between members in the network, both within and between research disciplines. Members in the network will be encouraged to visit other labs to acquire new expertise and competences.
3) Establish formal guidelines on how to conduct and report tVNS research. In order to improve the overall quality and reproducibility of tVNS research, the network will work towards a series of guideline papers. These manuscripts will focus on topics of particular importance for tVNS research, including stimulation parameters, use of control groups, and reporting guidelines. The guideline papers will be prepared during small-group expert meetings (max. 15 participants) and will subsequently be presented and discussed during annual network meetings prior to publication.
4) Facilitate multi-lab projects focusing on fundamental research questions. One of the lacunas in current tVNS research is the lack of large-scale randomized controlled trials. One of the goals of the network will be to facilitate collaborative efforts to set up multicenter projects, allowing researchers to answer research questions while sharing the costs of testing large sample sizes. These multicenter projects will result in multiple high impact projects. The network will strongly encourage researchers to integrate open science practices in all projects, including the use of preregistrations, code and data sharing, and the use of registered reports.