Tag Archives: JPND

The European Brain Research Area (EBRA) – H2020 project is officially launched

1 November 2018 marked the launch of the European Brain Council (EBC)-coordinated EU project The European Brain Research Area (EBRA). EBRA was designed to respond to the Horizon 2020 call, SC1-HCO-10-2018, entitled “Coordinating European brain research and developing global initiatives”, which called for the reduction of fragmentation and duplication of research efforts, fostering synergies through enhanced coordination of brain research efforts at EU and at global level, improved access to and optimising the use of research infrastructures and data sources by the neuroscience research communities, thus ensuring better exploitation of the large investments made in brain research, achieving critical mass and economies of scale by initiating and fostering new global research initiatives, as well a enabling and accelerating the translation of breakthroughs in brain research into relevant clinical applications.

The European Brain Research Area  project — EBRA — was created as a catalysing platform for brain research stakeholders (researchers, clinicians, patients, governments, funders and public institutions) to streamline and better co-ordinate brain research across Europe while fostering global initiatives.

The highly diversified nature of European public research, defined as an area of “shared” policy responsibility between individual countries and the Commission, represents a considerable obstacle in the European Research Area, particularly acute in the field of brain research, where the complexity of brain imposes a joint and coordinated research effort to advance our understanding of brain and its disorders.

The EU and its Member States have made considerable investments in brain research leading, to a significant increase of initiatives in this area, particularly under Horizon 2020 and many large research initiatives. Although these initiatives have generated considerable amounts of knowledge and innovative approaches, the complexity of the challenge requires more coordinated efforts to avoid fragmentation, identify gaps and highlight priorities, thus fostering translation into new health interventions.

Over the next three years, the EBRA Consortium will work to foster alignment and better co-ordination of research strategies across European and global brain initiatives; facilitate the emergence of research projects in specific areas in active clusters, and provide them with support for effective collaboration, including enabling sharing of data and access to research infrastructures; and increase the visibility of the brain research portfolio as a whole and promote the uptake of EBRA results to key stakeholders.

The Consortium consists of the EBC membership, the Network of European funding for Neuroscience research (NEURON), Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) and the Human Brain Project (HBP).

 

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under grant agreement No 825348.

 

 

 

Event Report: “Brain Research in Europe: Shaping FP9 and Delivering Innovation to the Benefit of Patients” & Brain Mission launch

Last Monday and Tuesday, 23-24 April 2018, EBC held the two-day event “Brain Research in Europe: Shaping FP9 and Delivering Innovation to the Benefit of Patients” at the University Foundation in Brussels. The event was organised in three different sessions: “FP9 and Missions”, “The Value of Innovation” and “European Brain Research: Shifting Gears and Going Global”. The full programme booklet can be found here, and below is a recap of the two fruitful days.

The event aimed to bring together leading healthcare stakeholders and policymakers to address key questions in the domain of research, such as how the upcoming 9th Framework Programme can accelerate brain research across Europe, what measures can be taken in order to stimulate the development of new central nervous system drugs for treating brain disorders, and what can be done to address the concerns of patients.

FP9 & Missions

In view of the upcoming FP9 proposal, a wide range of independent experts provided recommendations on mission oriented research and how to gain the most out of EU-funded innovation programmes.  Recommendations to double the budget of the next Framework Programme have resounded across institutions: The “Lab – Fab – App” report, written under the leadership of Pascal Lamy, the European Parliament, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Commissioner for Budget Günther Oettinger. Additionally, Prof. Mariana Mazzucato provided guidance on how research and innovation can address global challenges in the recently released report “Mission-Oriented Research & Innovation in the European Union”. In light of these recommendations, the session “Missions and FP9” aims to facilitate dialogue amongst experts on the mission oriented approach of the European Commission and how the next Framework Programme can boost therapeutic innovation.

Keynote speaker Prof. Andrea Renda kicked-off the first session, giving an insightful presentation on Mission-Oriented Research and Innovation Policy in the EU. He explored EU research as it stands now, and where it could be winning and/or losing. Furthermore, he shared all the different programmes available and supportive of the brain, and called for continued collaboration.

EBC President Prof. Monica Di Luca called for the Brain to be recognised as a Mission, launching the EBC Brain Mission, which calls to ‘understand, fix and enhance’, referring to understanding the brain as the space race of the 21st century. The full Mission can be read HERE.

Newly appointed Director-General of the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission, Jean-Eric Paquet, addressed the audience, giving insight into what’s ahead as the work to shape the next Framework Programme begins, speculating on how a mission-oriented approach could pan out.

The Value of Innovation

Developing effective treatments to improve the lives of those affected by brain disorders is extremely challenging. Despite decades of publicly and privately funded brain research, there is currently no treatment available to cure a wide range of mental and neurological conditions. What is more, research efforts do not always translate into tangible results for patients. In view of this, and in the light of the high burden that brain disorders impose on European society, the session on “The Value of Innovation” aimed to empower healthcare experts and stakeholders to present their views on issues that hinder therapeutic innovation and discuss potential solutions.

The session was introduced by EBC Treasurer Joke Jaarsma, and the morning began separated into the perspective of various stakeholders: patients, research, regulators and industry. These perspectives were shared by Hilkka Kärkkäinen (President, GAMIAN-Europe), Jacobo Santamarta Barral (Young Person’s Network at the European Multiple Sclerosis Platform), Prof. Sebastian Brandner (UCL Institute of Neurology), Dr. Marisa Papaluca (Senior Scientific Advisor, European Medicines Agency) and Dr. Christoph von der Goltz (Lundbeck).

A panel session followed, bringing in further stakeholder perspectives, with a discussion from payers, industry, researchers and policymakers. The panel was made up of Menno Aarnout (Executive Director, Association Internationale de la Mutualité), Matthias Wismar (Senior Health Policy Analyst, European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies), Nathalie Moll (Director-General, EFPIA), Prof. Colm O’Morain (Past President, Alliance for Biomedical Research in Europe) and Jaroslaw Waligora (Policy Officer, Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety, European Commission). The panel discussion was moderated by Dr Alexander Schubert (Executive Director, ECNP) and Margaret Walker (Executive Director, EUFAMI).

European Brain Research: Shifting Gears and Going Global

The third session drew focus to global initiatives and the potentials to increase collaboration at the international level, and aimed to provide an overview of the current global brain research initiatives and to allow experts to present their perspectives on how to further enhance cooperation at global level.

Many initiatives aimed at supporting brain research and improving the allocation of research funds were launched at global level in recent years. These efforts have the potential to significantly strengthen collaboration across disciplines and can therefore make a lasting difference for patients and scientists.

The session began with a welcome from Prof. Patrice Boyer, EBC Vice-President, and went on to an introduction on the global initiatives launched with the support of the European Commission by Dr Karim Berkouk, Acting Head of Unit, Non-communicable diseases and the challenge of healthy ageing, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission.

This continued to examples of existing and potential collaboration, bringing together Dr. Ari Ercole representing the International Initiative for Traumatic Brain Injury Research (InTBIR) – concrete example of existing international collaboration and the work being done at the global level; Prof. Philippe Ryvlin, Co-Chair, Joint Task Force for Epilepsy Advocacy Europe, International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) – exploring why epilepsy should be the next global initiative and the value of international collaboration and expanding to a more global level; and Dr. Helena Ledmyr, Head of Development & Communications, International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility (INCF)– introducing INCF as an organization and platform for neuroinformatics and the value of international cooperation.

Heads of global networks then gave insight into the scope and function of their organizations and how they are collaborating and cooperating both across Europe and worldwide. This included Prof. Philippe Amouyel, Chair, EU Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND), Chris Ebell, Executive Director, Human Brain Project and Dr. Hella Lichtenberg, Senior Scientific Officer, ERA-NET Neuron.

The session was summed up and concluded by Prof. Wolfgang Oertel, EBC Vice-President, highlighting the vital need for collaboration on the brain.

We would like to thank everyone that was in attendance of the two-day event and for helping provide fruitful discussion.

Addressing the major burden on those living with brain conditions and the costs for European society requires an intensified research effort and the creation of novel solutions. The target of our proposed Brain Mission will be to decrease this enormous burden through better understanding of the physiology of the brain and disease states, relevant prevention strategies, as well as more generally, an increased awareness of the brain and its diseases.

Continued commitment to basic neuroscience research has advanced our understanding of the nervous system, with Europe successfully leading this effort designed to increase our understanding of the brain, as well as the practical and clinical application of this knowledge.

Engagement of the scientific and clinical community at all levels is required in order for the European population to benefit from discoveries and for advances in basic neuroscience to be translated into new diagnostic tools and treatments for brain disorders.

It is imperative now for the brain community to step up and call for the continued recognition of the brain and for the recognition of its importance in the upcoming Framework Programme (FP9). Help spread the Brain Mission far and wide and let’s continue to commit ourselves to advocating for the brain and for the 179 million people across Europe living with brain disorders.

 

See: BRAIN MISSION

EBC hosts the 3rd Academy of National Brain Councils, 12-13 July

The 3rd Academy of National Brain Councils was held again in Brussels this year, kicking off with the Meeting of the MEP Interest Group on Brain, Mind and Pain, and the Interest Group on Mental Health, Well-being and Brain Disorders Value of Treatment Parliamentary launch event on Early Intervention.

Representatives from 10 countries with established or upcoming NBCs attended to share their work, brainstorm together and learn from guest speakers. The guest speakers included:

  • Ortwin Schulte, Head of Unit Health Policy, German Permanent Representation to the EU – The role of the EU in health policy and in health system development 
  • Carla Finocchiaro, CF Consulting Director – Participation in EU funded projects
  • Philippe Amouyel, Chair of EU Joint Programme on Neurodegenerative Disease Research
  • Camille Bullot, European Patients Forum Director of Operations & Engagement – Toolkit on Building National Coalitions of Patient Organizations
  • Donna Walsh, European Federation of Neurological Associations (EFNA), Executive Director – Training Initiatives for Neurology Advocates [TINA] 
  • Nada Sirotic, Research, Innovation, Space Attaché in Permanent Representation of the Republic of Croatia to the EU

Each NBC had a chance to present their ambitious work, experience, successes, strategies & paths toward establishing National Brain Plans within their individual countries.

Nearly 30 countries have formed, or are in the process of forming, National Brain Councils and National Action Groups which are independent but aligned with the main goals of the EBC. Learn more about existing NBCs HERE and explore the new NBCs toolkit