Diseases of the brain affect the brain itself, the spinal cord and the peripheral nerves. They are responsible for more than 35 % of Europe's total disease burden.
Research is needed if Europe is to move forward and meet the challenge of brain diseases. Brain research in FP7 addresses both basic and clinical research pertaining to the central and peripheral nervous system and their diseases. It paves the way to therapies for neuro-degeneration, better diagnostic tools, neural prosthesis for the paralysed, and individualised treatments for depression and anxiety.
Brain research is supported in the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7; 2007-2013), which includes an activity on 'Research on the brain and related diseases' under the theme 'Health'. This activity has a particular emphasis on translational research, meaning translation of basic discoveries into clinical applications. In the first five FP7 calls, 39 projects were funded under this activity for a total of EUR 194 million. Research relevant to the brain and the nervous system is also addressed in other areas of the current 'Health' theme, where an additional 74 research projects received funding for about EUR 424 million.
In the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6; 2002-2006), research on the brain and related diseases was supported through the Priority I - Life Sciences, in the area 'Studying the brain and combating diseases of the nervous system'. About EUR 157 million has been invested for brain research projects and additional EUR 99 million were funded across other related areas. Projects funded cover basic to clinical research, including identification of genes and molecules playing a role in brain diseases, pathophysiology of diseases, as well as development of new therapies and diagnostic tools.
Overall, more than EUR 875 million has been made available to support 187 brain research projects in the period 2002-11.