New Emmy Noether Group researches the analysis of brain activity

June 3, 2024, Nr. 20

Benedikt Ehinger, Junior Professor at the University of Stuttgart, has secured funding of 1.4 million euros for the further development of electroencephalography (EEG).
[Picture: Tabea Siegle/SimTech/Universität Stuttgart]

The Stuttgart Center for Simulation Science (SC SimTech) and the Institute for Visualization and Interactive Systems (VIS) at the University of Stuttgart announced that Junior Professor Benedikt Ehinger has successfully secured an Emmy Noether Junior Research Group grant from the German Research Foundation (DFG). The new research group will focus on the innovative project "EEG in motion: Analyzing brain activity during self and object movement" and will receive funding of approximately 1.4 million euros over the next six years.

Analysis of brain activity in dynamic environments opens up new areas of application

With his research project, Junior Professor Ehinger wants to enable the analysis of brain activity using electroencephalography (EEG) in dynamic environments. The EEG is a key method used in neuroscience that makes it possible to measure the electrical activity of the brain in real time. The technology is crucially important for research into cognitive processes such as perception, attention, and memory. In medical diagnostics, the EEG is used to monitor and diagnose neurological disorders such as epilepsy, sleep disorders and strokes. EEG is also used in research, for example in the development of brain-computer interfaces and for monitoring attention and fatigue when driving.

Traditionally, most EEG studies are carried out in static scenarios, but this limits the transferability of the results to realistic, dynamic situations. "Our aim is to develop new algorithms and methods to be able to precisely analyze EEG data even when subjects and objects are moving. This will not only deepen our fundamental understanding of the brain, but also advance practical applications in many different areas such as virtual reality, human-computer interaction, and mobile EEG technologies," says Benedikt Ehinger.

The researchers in the Emmy Noether Group aim to study brain activity under realistic conditions. To achieve this, they are combining EEG, eye tracking, and virtual reality (VR).

DFG experts acknowledge the robust research environment in Stuttgart

Benedikt Ehinger studied cognitive science in Osnabrück and also completed his doctorate there. From 2018, he was a PostDoc in the Predictive Brain Lab at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior in the Netherlands and received the Inpjin Bakker-Grundwald Prize for Excellent Young Scientists in 2019. In 2020, he took over the SimTech Tenure Track Professorship in Computational Cognitive Science at the University of Stuttgart.

Ehinger is based at the Institute for Visualization and Interactive Systems (VIS). VIS is a leading institute for visualization and human-computer interaction and offers an excellent infrastructure for interdisciplinary projects.

Ehinger brings his expertise in the field of visual perception and computer-aided cognitive sciences to the new Emmy Noether Group. The DFG experts were impressed by Professor Ehinger's exceptional qualifications and notable scientific achievements to date. In particular, his numerous publications in renowned journals and his experience in the development of innovative research tools and methods were emphasized. The experts also commended the seamless integration into Stuttgart's robust research environment, including the Cluster of Excellence in Data-Integrated Simulation Science (SimTech). SimTech researches novel modeling and computational methods from an engineering perspective and improves the accuracy, reliability and applicability of these by systematically integrating data.

Career opportunity for early-career researchers
The Emmy Noether Program of the German Research Foundation (DFG) provides exceptionally talented early-career researchers with the chance to qualify for a university professorship. This is achieved by allowing them to independently lead a junior research group for a period of six years. The funding not only offers Junior Professor Ehinger, but also gives his team of doctoral and postdoctoral students the opportunity to conduct groundbreaking research in a highly dynamic and interdisciplinary environment. The project offers two exciting vacancies for PhD students or postdocs.

Expert Contact:

Jun.-Prof. Dr. Benedikt Ehinger, University of Stuttgart, Institute for Visualization and Interactive Systems (VIS), Abteilung Computational Cognitive Science, Tel: +49 711 685 60140, email

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[Photo: SimTech/Max Kovalenko]

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