Brussels, 11 Jun 2003
The European Brain Council (EBC) will act as a catalyst in the construction of a viable European Research Area (ERA) in the field of brain research, said EU Research Commissioner, Philippe Busquin, on 10 June.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the council in Brussels, Mr Busquin said the EBC has a crucial part to play in ensuring increased cooperation in the field of brain research, bringing together as it does, a host of pan European bodies representing neurologists and psychiatrists, patient federations, neurosurgeons, basic neuroscientists, and the relevant areas of industry and commerce.
'To advance this science and meet the hopes of so many patients, it will be important to quickly go from theory to application, from bench to bedside,' said Mr Busquin, adding that cooperation is also necessary between basic and clinical researchers, given the broad interdisciplinary expertise needed to carry out brain research.
In terms of providing a financial backbone to such cooperative actions, Mr Busquin expressed regret and surprise at the lack of investment, particularly in the field of brain research. 'Given that around 30 per cent of the human genes and proteins sequenced are brain-specific, and that the brain is the central organ of human complex thinking and behaviour, it is surprising that not more funds are devoted to this area,' he noted.
However, by acting as a partner for all pan European foundations and businesses with an interest in brain research and the treatment of brain disorders, the EBC could be instrumental in attracting more investment into neurological related research, said Mr Busquin.
The Commissioner also referred to the role that EBC could play in attracting young people to careers in research: '[U]nderstanding the brain and fighting neuro-degenerative diseases are challenges that can appeal to the imagination if chances are offered, if training is provided and if resources are available,' he said.
The council will also act as an important mediator between the public and the scientific community, helping to communicate scientific matters in a more people friendly manner, claimed Mr Busquin.
As a sign of the Commission's commitment to involving all the relevant actors in the development of brain research policy in Europe, Mr Busquin invited the EBC and its members to further discuss the possibility of creating of a European Brain Research Area at a conference on 18 September. http://www.europeanbraincouncil.com/home .htm