Neurodecision: supporting medical students in making informed decisions for their neurosurgery residency pathways

Neurodecision is a 2-year Cooperation Partnership project  funded by Erasmus+, that Humanitas University is leading in collaboration with:

  • International Neuroscience Institute – Hannover, Germany
  • Univerzitet u Beogradu – Beograd, Serbia
  • Lusiadas Hospital Porto – Porto, Portugal

The project started on October 2022 and will end by the end of September 2024. Its objective is to design an innovative training course for medical students at the 5th/6th years.

Project Overview

The proposal is a joint collaboration of academic and research partners in the area of medical teaching with a strong focus on responding to a common problem and challenge: high rate of dropouts at the 1st year of the residency programme in neurosurgery. Being aware of this issue, the partners’ motivation is associated with the fact that the current collaboration could be extended to the design of a common solution (for a common problem) that can prepare better the medical students to embrace their post-graduate residencies and to facilitate their decision-making process.

To reach these objectives, an innovative international training course will be co-designed with user’s representatives and tested in a pilot action where the partners will jointly promote and deliver (Promoting inter-connected higher education systems) the course to 5th/6th-year medical students across Europe.

The ultimate goal of this course is to promote, during the medical studies, specific training to 5th/6th-year students in Neurosurgery and neuroanatomy so they can choose a post-graduate education more thoughtfully. Students will be exposed to the most advanced technology training tools outside and inside the operating theatre, and they will have the opportunity to see from the spot what is the real workload of a neurosurgeon, which skills are required, what tools are used, etc.


The objectives of the project are to:

  • Generate awareness of 5th/6th-year medical students for the importance and complexity of medical residencies in Neurosurgery
  • Design an innovative training programme for 5th/6th-year medical students
  • Increase the level of knowledge and readiness of future medical professionals to embrace with no doubt’s residencies on Neurosurgery
  • Reduce the current drop-out rates of medical graduates at Neurosurgery medical residencies
  • Improve the teaching and digital skills of higher education teachers and tutors
  • Boost the attractiveness of the educational offers in medical studies.

The main features of the course (Addressing digital transformation and Stimulating innovative learning and teaching practices) are:

  • Blended learning course making use of the advantages of traditional face-to-face teaching and, distance learning, simulation lab, cadaver lab, clinical wards and operating theatres teaching, complemented with students mobilities.
  • A well-defined programme, including neuroanatomy, neurophysiological, clinical neurosurgery, surgical approaches, clinical follow-up and a list of clinical priorities and training in surgical reconversion in case of resilience.
  • Innovative learning methods will be used, including neuroanatomy applied to surgical approaches, surgical simulation laboratories with dedicated simulators for brain and spine approaches, surgical training laboratories with the possibility of performing sutures and training in microsurgery with the availability of microscopes, etc.
  • The use of electronic neuronavigational systems which can couple neuroradiological images and functional brain and spine activity, will be demonstrated during the training course.


The training package is organized in face-to-face/synchronous sessions and E-Learning activities.

120-140 students will be involved in the pilot phase structured in 25h of face-to-face/synchronous sessions and E-Learning materials for 50h of autonomous work.

16 students will have a mobility experience of 2 weeks abroad in one of the partners’ institutions.

In order to maximize the dissemination of the pilot edition, a guidebook for trainers and teachers is going to be developed, as well as a students’ guidebook in order to face the E-Learning activities.

University Partners

University of Belgrade     is the oldest university in Serbia and the largest in this part of Europe. It comprises 31 faculties, 11 research institutes, 11 University centers, Computer Center, and the University Library with more than 3.500.000 volumes. It provides education in sciences and mathematics, technology and engineering, medical sciences, social sciences, and humanities.

Currently, close to 100.000 students are enrolled in 375 study programs at the University, many of which are in English. UB has become a very prominent member of the international academic community and participates in numerous international programs and projects (Erasmus+ Program, AUF projects, Horizon2020, Interreg, Ceepus, etc.).

Since 2019 UB has been a member of the prominent European Universities alliance Circle U. It is a research-oriented university and one of the globally best-ranked universities in SEE and the Mediterranean region.

During the two centuries of its existence, the University of Belgrade has served its people, and its former students and teachers have contributed significantly to the development of our country’s cultural, scientific, educational, political, and economic life.

The University of Belgrade is prepared to maintain and enhance its position as the leading institution of higher education in the region by adapting to the challenges of modern times and preserving what’s worth in its tradition. This is precisely what makes it recognized as a genuine national brand.

The Faculty of Medicine is the oldest and largest medical school in the Balkans. It is a part of the University of Belgrade, which was founded in 1808. Faculty of Medicine participates in many international research and educational projects (EU Framework programs, Horizon 2020, Tempus, Erasmus, NIH, etc.). The Faculty employs 850 professors, assistants, and researchers.

The Faculty has some of the country’s best academic and research staff. Their inspirational teaching and supervision, paired with a well-structured and diverse curriculum, will ensure that students get the most out of their studies.

Education and research are closely linked at UBFM. The teachers often conduct research in parallel with teaching, which means that the students have direct contact with leading researchers in the country and the region.

The Faculty also has an active student association that offers educational activities and social events. The students’ association regularly holds various student events, allowing students to attend special lectures and seminars given by guest speakers, take an active part in research, participate in students’ exchange or sports competitions, express their musical talent, and much more.

The spacious campus is situated just minutes away from the center of Belgrade. There are libraries, study rooms, a students’ restaurant, IT facilities, parks and green spaces for recreation and reflection, cafes and entertainment venues, and even an indoor sports hall.

The Faculty has been attracting and welcoming students from around the world for over twenty years.

International Neuroscience Institute – Hannover
     is a world-famous neurosurgical institute with internationally renowned neurosurgeons and highly specialized modern equipment for diagnostics and therapy. Due to its expertise, the INI-Hannover is a reference center of the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies for the training of neurosurgeons from all over the world.

The INI’s patients come from the Hannover region, Germany and 50% from abroad. Therefore, the institute is internationally oriented in every respect. The architecturally extraordinary building of the INI in the shape of a brain has a capacity of 96 normal inpatient beds on 4 wards for the accommodation of patients. There are additionally 14 beds in the intensive care unit. The institute has a total of 6 operating theaters with cutting edge technology for all types of neurosurgical interventions. This also includes 2 hybrid operating rooms with intraoperative MRI (Brainsuite®), as well as with intraoperative CT (Airo®) and a biplane angiography system.

The operating theaters provide the most modern surgical microscopes, endoscopes, navigation systems and neuromonitoring units. Following the interdisciplinary philosophy of the institute, all relevant specialist areas are anchored in the institute in addition to neurosurgery, e.g. neurology, anesthesia, orthopedics, internal medicine, oncology, ENT and ophthalmology. This enables diagnostics and therapy from “one hand” for the benefit of the patient.

The institute is certified as a center for skull base surgery according to the GSB guidelines. The International Neuroscience Institute – Hannover also offers the possibility of modern computer and robot-assisted neurorehabilitation in combination with neuromodulation (TMS and electrical). The INI is located in the heart of the Medical Park in Hanover and thus has a direct clinical, scientific and infrastructural connection to the institutions represented here.

Since its foundation in the year 2000 INI Hannover has been a center for teaching fellows and students from Hannover, Germany and from all over the world. The activity of INI focuses not only on the daily surgical activity as center of exellence for neurosurgical procedures but also on education programs. To reach this goal, innovative training technology and teaching methodology are used.

The INI is a multi-professional training facility and provides training for doctors, medical residents and other healthcare professionals through a variety of courses. Under the supervision of international experts, surgical skills and surgical approaches can be trained. Training scenarios are offered in form of a Cadaver dissection lab and virtual reality simulation which are facilitated by a faculty of experienced staff. Both methods provide the closest situation to reality for healthcare professionals to rehearse both routine and, less common, life-threatening events. The program is designed and delivered by skillful and experienced faculty.

Hospital Lusìadas Porto    is one of the major healthcare providers in Portugal and belongs to UnitedHealth Group, the largest healthcare group in the world. Lusíadas Saúde distinguishes itself through its innovative and prestigious services.

With nearly 20 years of experience, the company goal is to provide the best available resources and means to our clients, counting over 6.000 healthcare professionals that assisted with top of the range technology to provide exceptional conditions in all Lusíadas Saúde facilities, translating the group mission and compromise to better serve our clients and improve continuously. Currently, Lusíadas Saúde has 13 hospitals and clinics that stand out for the quality and innovation of their services.

Its fundamental role is to Make Health Care Work for Everyone. The healthcare environment must be engaged in constant change, yet embody a positive dynamic – it must change progressively. In turn, Lusíadas Saúde must be thoughtful advocates of such change. It must value and be proficient at adapting to change as we pursue a course of continuous, positive and practical innovation as a core competency within our enterprise. With proven ability to grow, develop and introduce innovative projects and technology into the clinical activity.

Lusíadas Saúde aims to contribute to clinical differentiation, better outcomes and high levels of customer experience. Lusíadas Porto Hospital, Lusíadas Saúde Group: Lusíadas Saúde is one of the 3 largest private healthcare providers in Portugal. It comprises 6 hospitals and 5 clinics across the country. Lusíadas Saúde was the first private healthcare group in Portugal to be accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI).

With over 20 years of experience, the group is renowned in the healthcare sector and has six Joint Commission International accreditations. Regarding technology, the group has 3 hospitals validated with Himss level (one of the only 4 hospitals in Europe with level 7, and 2 with level 6). This distinction from JCI is an efficient management and hospital health and safety assessment tool, it reinforces the innovation and differentiation of Lusíadas Hospitals and Clinics, pertaining to the safety of the processes and procedures, which involve patients, its internal operations and the care of the service provided.

The surgeons and doctors are committed to the highest standards of medical care and the hospital pride itself on the expertise of our consultants and nurses. Many doctors are internationally renowned within their areas of speciality. What are the activities and experience of the organisation in the areas relevant for this project? What are the skills and/or expertise of key persons involved in this project? The hospital is equipped with the most modern equipment and the operating room is supported by specialized professionals, operating in compliance with the strictest safety rules, which makes it possible to carry out complex surgical procedures.

Also, Lusíadas Porto Hospital through the Lusíadas Knowledge Center manages health education, research, and clinical innovation. Has been assuming the mission of assuring access to training, education, research, and innovation, supporting the acquisition of new knowledge and skills to health professionals, as well as transferring knowledge to the community at large, helping our customers and their families to make more informed decisions about their health.

Lusíadas Porto Hospital collaborates with major Academic Institutions, namely Universities receiving students during their studies and also for residency programmes, and collaborates in projects. It already has several activities carried out, namely 17 innovation projects, 12 clinical trials, 17 observational studies, 80 investigator-initiated studies, more than 120 training and education events.


Humanitas is a highly specialized Hospital, Research and Teaching Center. Built around centers for the prevention and treatment of cancer, cardiovascular, neurological and orthopedic disease – together with an Ophthalmic Center and a Fertility Center – Humanitas also operates a highly specialised Emergency Department.