European School for Interdisciplinary Tinnitus Research (ESIT)

ESIT Project Network Manager Axel Schiller recently was fortunate to attend the 2019 Summer School on Intellectual Property (IP) hosted by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Geneva, in cooperation with the University of Geneva (UNIGE). This was an international training event of two weeks, comprising lectures by leading experts in the field as well as policy makers, enabling a group of 60 participants from over 20 countries access to insightful learning and exceptional networking activities, creating new, enriching, interdisciplinary contacts between continents - mirroring exactly the intention of ESIT.

Due to his training and experience, Axel was already aware of the importance of IP rights such as patents, utility models, trademarks, designs, plant protection, and many others, not only for the protection of creative ideas, but also for being a driving force behind innovation and scientific progress. There is a notable balance between the legal exclusivity granted to IP right holders, while at the very same time allowing societies access to cutting-edge, transformative new developments through the publication of technological knowledge in the form of IP publication documents. In fact, in certain areas of science and technology, the majority of knowledge is contained within patent literature even nowadays!

Without doubt, IP is especially relevant for the medical sector and research in this area, with new forms of investigation and international collaboration emerging, frequently raising questions of ownership of data, data protection, ethical and cultural concerns, and even the protection of traditional knowledge.

The Summer School, which was divided into two parts, the first at the WIPO headquarter (itself a sub-organisation of the UN) and the second at UNIGE, dealt with recent developments and emerging trends in international and regional (e.g. EU) IP law, comprising also the health-relevant areas of technology transfer from universities to the private sector and resulting cooperations, patentability of medical inventions and genetic findings, sustainable development goals, artificial intelligence, big data and health, research and confidentiality agreements, copyright, data ownership and data protection, international dispute settlement, and many others.

In between the two course weeks, there was also the exceptional opportunity to attend the Intellectual Property Researchers in Europe (IPRE) Conference, held at WIPO and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) headquaters, hosting leading IP researchers lecturing on recent developments in the field, enabling even more intersectoral exchange and potential collaboration accross countries.

This has been an outstanding opportunity to represent the ESIT consortium at an international level and in an area that is of central importance to any scientific research and especially innovation in the medical field, but which, at the same time, is frequently overlooked. Therefore, Axel is very much looking forward to applying his knowledge and experience in IP with regards to ESIT findings and spreading the word about the beneficial instrument of IP protection.

As was reported below, we were grateful to have been able to welcome the international tinnitus patient organisation Tinnitus Hub at the 2019 Tinnitus Research Initiative (TRI) Conference in Taipei, Taiwan.

As a follow up to their valuable conference participation and to inform their members and tinnitus-affected individuals worldwide, several highly informative blog posts and videos were created which we would very much like to share:

A factful blog post on the details of the conference including brief reports on talks and symposia, written by ESIT PhD-students (click on image to follow link):


A colourful video, with Tinnitus Hub Director and Chief Strategist Hazel Goedhart presenting, giving an overall view of the conference and conveying well the vibrant, international athmosphere of this event (click on image to access link):


A further, insightful video featuring ESIT Coordinator Winfried Schlee, ESIT International Academic Mentor Raj Shekhawat, and ESIT supervisor Berthold Langguth, discussing the recent past, the current state and the outlook for tinnitus research (click on image to access link):

We'd like to express our heartfelt thanks and utmost appreciation of Hazel Goedhart's and Tinnitus Hub's efforts to make the condition of tinnitus more well-known, to alleviate the isolation felt by many sufferers and to spread the word about innovative tinnitus research happening worldwide!

We were delighted that our consortium partner Tinnitus Hub, a leading international tinnitus patient organisation run by patients themselves, with their director and chief strategist, Hazel Goedhart, was able to join us for the 12th TRI international tinnitus conference in Taipei/Taiwan (see below).

Beyond representing her organisation and advocating for the patients' perspective at this international and interdisciplinary event, Hazel conducted video interviews with leading tinnitus researchers which will be of interest to a wide audience, be it patients, researchers or the interested public.

Furthermore, there is a very readable blog article about Hazel's experience at the 12th TRI Conference (click on image to access blog):

For ESIT PhD students and staff, it was an extraordinary opportunity to be able to attend the 12th international Tinnitus Research Initiative (TRI) Conference in Taipei/Taiwan, held from May 17 to 19, 2019 at the National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH) International Convention Centre.

Before the actual conference, there was an ESIT satellite event designed as an additional training opportunity for students, covering the topics of systematic reviews (Magdalena Sereda, Univerity of Nottingham), dissemination, social media use and strategy (Hazel Goedhart, Tinnitus Hub) and various group activities on these topics (moderated by Winfried Schlee, Raj Shekhawat and Berthold Langguth).

It has been a most remarkable time for everyone involved, filled with scientific and personal exchange as well as cross-cultural experiences in Taiwan. The ESIT PhD candidates were able to showcase some ot their innovative work and were very well received among the audience of renowned scientists, with whom they also had the opportunity to network.

We'd like to very much thank everyone involved in this event and are already looking forward to the 13th TRI conference in May 2020, in Vancouver, Canada!


ESIT Satellite Event:






12th TRI Tinnitus Conference:





We are glad to share a wonderful and impactful example of patient involvement in tinnitus research by our assoicated partner Tinnitus Hub, a patient-run self-help organisation for tinnitus with worldwide reach:

In 2018, one of their dedicated members, Daniel Ballinger, passed away at young age. Another Tinitus Hub member, Eddie Clark, followed by many others, wished to commemorate his death by initiating the Daniel-Ballinger-Memorial-Fund, administered with assistance of the British Tinnitus Association (BTA), to support a young tinnitus researcher. In all, a sum of 5.000 GBP was raised and the grant awarded to Elouise Koops, a dedicated tinnitus researcher at the University of Groningen.

The Tinnitus Hub blog article can be read here.

Furthermore, a video interview was conducted with Elouise, sharing her research and experience as the holder of this exceptional grant.


Key Facts


Subscribe to our mailing list to receive the ESIT newsletter

Social Media

facebook icon twitter icon