European Brain Council (EBC) President, Prof Monica di Luca, is featured in the latest Open Access Government, a digital publication that provides an in-depth perspective on key public policy areas from all around the world. Prof Di Luca provides a voice for the brain research community here, exploring how the brain research community is affected by the outbreak of COVID-19 in Europe and why, despite the circumstances, further leadership from Europe and the European Union in the fight against brain conditions and the need to support brain research remains important now more than ever.

It is important to realize that infectious disease pandemics like this one are unpredictable and that, meanwhile, on a daily basis, millions of people across the world are living in “pandemics” of their own, be it cancer, cardiovascular disease or brain conditions.

The transition from Horizon 2020 to Horizon Europe must be used as a window of opportunity for the brain community and the EU to take on a leadership role with respect to research breakthroughs, innovation and treatment development. Funding should remain uninterrupted and adequate resources should continue to be dedicated to addressing the burdens brain disorders place on our society. It is crucial that the new framework programme begins with a robust and appropriate structure for research, particularly through maintained collaboration opportunities but also by other coordination mechanisms such as, for instance, a unified and ambitious co-funded brain health partnership.

If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is that, as a society, we are not yet fully prepared nor capable to tackle the majority of health epidemics we are currently facing or will potentially face in the coming future. Now is the opportunity for Europe to apply the lessons learned and be bold at the international level, to reflect on what ails our community and to join global efforts and make an impact in the brain community.

Read the original article here.