2012 marked the tenth anniversary of the European Brain Council. The anniversary represents the end of an exciting and significant decade for the European Brain Council and the start of the next phase of the journey which will ensure everyone across Europe respects the most vital and precious asset which is the brain. One of the EBC’s most significant achievements has been the role it has played in the increase in brain disorder research funding during the past ten years. In the four years prior to the formation of the European Brain Council EU funding of brain research was €85 million; research now exceeds a billion Euros.

Since its formation the European Brain Council’s membership base has also continued to grow. It now boasts a diverse membership representing all areas involved in brain disorders. The broad range of knowledge and support is one of the organisations most valuable assets; something parliaments throughout Europe recognise.

Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, the EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science said: “During the first decade of its life the European Brain Council has played a key role in the area of neurosciences in Europe. It has helped raise the awareness on the importance of supporting brain research and addressing brain related issues. It has also mobilised all stakeholders from researchers to clinicians, from industrialists to patients, rallying national and European administrations and political forces. And very importantly the European Brain Council has been a valued interlocutor for the European Commission.”

As well as its valuable membership one of the key reasons the European Brain Council warrants such respect and political attention is because of its focus and genuine desire to improve the lives of those living with brain disorders. During the past decade it has not only produced significant evidence, such as the Cost of Brain Disorders Reports it is also focussed on providing solutions. The ambitious and exciting project titled Year of the Brain in Europe 2014 has the potential to change the landscape of this vital health area forever as well as the way all European citizens think of their brain; we hope that one day we will be successful in ensuring that people respect their brains as much asthey do their hearts. Year of the Brain in Europe 2014 will go a long way in achieving that.

The European Brain Council operates a strong network system which includes 25 National Brain Councils and Action Groups. These provide vital grass roots knowledge to the European Brain Council and also enable significant progress to be achieved at country level. This local focus helps generate increased momentum for the overall objectives.

Despite the significant achievements the EBC believes there is no time to rest on their laurels. There is still a great deal which needs to be achieved. Determined to become the leading and most respected organisation in the field of brain disorders they intend to continue their political focus intensifying messaging ensuring brain disorders becomes a priority funding area.

Alastair Benbow, then EBC Executive Director concludes: “I strongly believe that as the world accepts more readily and understands that the brain is responsible for everything the human race has ever achieved it will also recognise that there are no industries, sectors or specialist areas which cannot attribute their success to the brain and, therefore, wouldn’t benefit from collaboration with the European Brain Council. The last ten years have been more than significant. We plan on ensuring the next decade changes the landscape of brain disorders forever. “


Message from former EU Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn: