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 facilitate efficient collaboration, communication and operational synergies, including transparent procedures and setting up of governance mechanisms; 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).