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€150 million for brain research launches EU 'Month of the Brain'
At the start of its 'European Month of the Brain' initiative, the
European Commission has earmarked some €150 million of funding for 20 new
international brain research projects.
It will bring the total EU investment in brain research since 2007 to
over €1.9 billion.
The 'European Month of the Brain' (#brainmonth) will highlight European
research and innovation in the area of neuroscience, cognition and related areas
through over 50 events across Europe this May.
The initiative aims to showcase the latest achievements in the field,
but also to urge a more decisive effort to combat brain diseases.
It also aims at highlighting how studying the brain can revolutionise
The initiative comes as the profile of brain research has been raised
recently with ambitious new projects in the EU (FET Flagship Human Brain Project
– IP/13/54 and MEMO/13/36) and the US (BRAIN project).
European Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Máire
"Many Europeans are likely to be affected by brain-related disease or
illness during their lifetime.
Treating those affected is already costing us €1.5 million every minute
and this burden on our healthcare systems is likely to rise as our population
Brain research could help alleviate the suffering of millions of
patients and those that care for them.
Unlocking the secrets of how the brain works could also open up a whole
new universe of services and products for our economies."
Some 165 million Europeans are likely to experience some form of brain
related diseases during their life.
As the population ages, with more people affected by Alzheimer's and
other neurodegenerative or age-related mental disorders, treatment costs are
likely to go up sharply.
Finding better ways of preventing and treating brain diseases is
therefore becoming urgent.
Understanding how the brain works is also important to keep our
economies at the forefront of new information technologies and services.
The 'European Month of the Brain' will underline the crucial importance
of brain research and healthcare for our societies and economies;
showcase EU achievements in these fields;
debate the future direction of research and policy;
discuss how to improve the allocation of resources within and between
and lift taboos around mental health.
See also MEMO/13/390.
The 20 projects which are shortlisted for EU funding are expected to
deliver new insights and innovations in key areas such as traumatic brain
injury, mental disorders, pain, epilepsy and paediatric conduct disorders.
While the projects cannot be named before the grant agreements are
finally concluded, all are expected to start from this summer.
Industry and small business partners will have a particularly strong
involvement in three of the areas - mental disorders, epilepsy and paediatric
conduct disorders – to fuel innovation and real-life solutions.
The EU budget has provided more than €1.9 billion for brain research
since the start of the current EU framework programme for research, FP7
This has funded 1,268 projects with 1,515 participants from the EU and
There will still be opportunities for brain research under all three
pillars – 'excellent science', 'industrial leadership' and 'societal challenges'
of Horizon 2020, the next EU research and innovation programme.
The 'Health, demographic change and well-being' challenge, which will
aim to improve the diagnosis, understanding and treatment of diseases, will be
More than 50 events on the human brain are on the 'European Month of
the Brain' programme, from conferences, workshops and meetings to summer schools
and teaching courses.
Six of these events are being organised by the Irish EU Presidency.
The European Commission will organise two major conferences, on 14 May
in Brussels and – together with the Irish EU Presidency - on 27/28 May in