The European Brain Council (EBC) launched on 18 March a Consensus Statement meant to improve collaboration in the field of European brain research.
The document is titled “The need to expand Brain Research in Europe” and can be viewed here.
In promoting brain health in Europe, EBC recognises the vital need to create a body of evidence supporting our call to give the brain a higher priority as well as to provide policy makers with the state-of-the-art knowledge concerning key needs in the field of brain research. EBC’s Consensus Statement is answering to this.
The Consensus Statement, prepared by EBC together with its members and partners and in collaboration with over 100 European scientists and patient representatives, presents proposals for future research programmes and describes the needs and achievements of research in Europe.
“We need support from policymakers”
As EBC’s Vice-President Monica Di Luca mentioned during the launch event, the “Statement presents achievements and challenges of brain research and calls for urgent action and targeted support from policymakers.”
Find Monica Di Luca’s presentation here.
“No neurons, no hope”
Neurologist Gustave Moonen, representing EBC’s Member the European Academy of Neurology (EAN), stressed the importance of science in treating brain disorders:
“Once there are no neurons left, there is no hope. You have to treat patients before they lose their neurons and synapses. If we can fly to the moon then we can cure brain disorders.”
Prof. Moonen also added that “the brain is too precious to be involved in political games and squabbles with national structures for funding.”
Find his presentation here.
Catherine Berens, representative of the Directorate General Research & Innovation of the European Commission, explained how the Horizon 2020 EU funding framework will help brain research:
“While there is no specific bullet point on the brain, this programme provides many opportunities for brain research because it allows researchers to identify commonalities between disease areas.”
Find her presentation here.
Call to Action for Brain Disorders
There was a general consensus among the participants that brain research should not become a topic of political games, but be awarded the proper support from decision-makers both at EU and national level.
One way of doing that – as EBC and its partners suggest in our recent Call to Action – is to create European and national brain plans to ensure better management of brain disorders.
This Consensus Document also points to the need for robust basic research in neuroscience and the development of a strong European platform for brain research which is needed to address brain diseases, a societal emergency in European countries.
The current paper is an update to the 2006 and 2011 Consensus Documents, reflecting changes in research priorities and advances in brain research that have taken place in the last few years. In particular, this most recent update formulates proposals for brain research ranging from consciousness to computational neuroscience.