Making brain health a priority in Europe: Brussels sees event packed with high-level brain scientists and policy-makers

    14 October 2021

    On 12 October, representatives of the highest levels of research policy and brain science met in Brussels for the first European Brain Summit, carried out jointly with the European Brain Council (EBC) and in conjunction with the Brain Innovation Days. 

    Leading researchers and policy makers presented their vision of the future of European brain research in the context of the European Health Union and highlighted innovative solutions and latest technological advancements. They were joined by a total of 259 registered participants, about a third of whom attended the meeting on-site and a majority following the live stream.

    Panels of renowned scientists and different societal stakeholders discussed worldwide collaboration, technology and medical innovation, patient involvement, and the crucial issue of data in the European Health Dataspace.

    Some highlights of the European Brain Summit

    “The European Brain Summit has the important goal to bring together many of the key players in the brain space to ensure that brain research receives the policy attention that it deserves and requires.”

    Monica di Luca, President of the European Brain Council


    In her opening speech, Monica di Luca expressed how enthusiastic the EBC was to partner with EBRAINS to host this event as the first of many to foster the advocacy of brain research. She stressed the urgency of addressing brain health due to the disease burden in Europe.


    Pushing boundaries in neuroscience, technology and medicine: “The Human Brain Project has overcome the boundaries between disciplines and institutions and opened doors of collaboration.”

    Katrin Amunts, Scientific Director of the HBP


    “Data and infrastructure used to be fragmented; now, there is EBRAINS, available to everyone who studies the brain.”

    Katrin Amunts, Scientific Director of the HBP


    High level decision makers attended the meeting, from both the EU and member states. Italian Minister of science Christina Messa explained that for effective efforts it is key to pool talent and resources on a European level and highlighted that the Human Brain Project has created EBRAINS to this end.

    “France warmly welcomes the building of EBRAINS and its inclusion in the ESFRI Roadmap.”

    Claire Giry, Director General, Ministry of Research and Innovation, France


    “As the Human Brain Project progresses in the final phase of its programme, we are strongly satisfied in HBP output and impact.”

    Claire Giry, Director General, Ministry of Research and Innovation, France

    "France strongly supports the EBRAINS research infrastructure. It is so important to align national and European strengths."

    Claire Giry, Director General, Ministry of Research and Innovation, France

    Nobel Laureate Edvard Moser stressed how the massive challenge of understanding the activity of the brain with its complex networks requires cooperation not only between individual research groups but between whole countries and continents.

    "We need to address the brain as a societal challenge." 

    Paweł Świeboda, Chief Executive Officer, EBRAINS AISBL, Director General, Human Brain Project


    “Let’s not just share data, let's share access to tools for data.”

    Steven Vermeulen, Chief Infrastructure Officer of ⁦EBRAINS


    "We need to further strengthen brain research and we must make sure that stakeholders work together in a very well-coordinated manner.”
    Irene Norstedt, Director at the DG for Research and Innovation at the European Commission

    To finalise the day, Pierre Delsaux, Deputy Director General at the European Commission, stressed that health, and in particular brain diseases, are a priority and he urged researchers to approach the European Commission with their ideas.