European Research Area Networks (ERA-NETs) are projects funded by the European Commission in various research fields. Their goal is to create a European Research Area in which research is conducted and funded across countries, allowing research groups to jointly work on specific problems, exchange ideas, and benefit from cross border expertise. The Network of European Funding for Neuroscience Research (NEURON) was initiated in 2003 as a pilot Specific Support Action. This Action was developed into a full-fledged ERA-NET with NEURON I (2008 – 2011) and continued with its direct successor NEURON II (2012 – 2015).
Under the current EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation ‘Horizon 2020’ a new chapter is opened with NEURON Cofund (2016 – 2020), that builds on and further develops the structures established by its predecessors.
To-date 25 funding organisations from 14 EU countries, Israel and Turkey as EU-associated countries, and Norway and Canada participate in NEURON Cofund:
Austria (FWF), Belgium (FNRS/Flandern, FWO), Canada (CIHR, FRQS/Québec), Finland (AKA), France (ANR, INSERM, CNRS), Germany (DLR-PT/BMBF), Israel (CSO-MOH), Italy (MOH), Latvia (VIAA), The Netherlands (NWO), Norway (RCN), Poland (NCBR), Portugal (FCT), Romania (UEFISCDI), Slovakia (SAS), Spain (ISCIII, MINECO), United Kingdom (MRC), Turkey (TÜBITAK).
The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (ONF) are associated NEURON-Partners and participate in NEURON Joint Transnational Calls (JTCs).
Research into the human brain and its diseases is one of the key challenges of the 21st century. Among the many diseases affecting health, disorders of the brain are major causes for impaired quality of life and increasing health care costs. Despite some progress in understanding the molecular mechanisms of various neurological and psychiatric disorders, research is still far from being able to offer solutions to conquer them. In addition, the development of curative treatments or prevention strategies has not been, to date, very successful. A concerted effort of funding organisations and of research groups in this area, is thus needed to reach the long term goal of curing patients with disorders of the brain and nervous system, and helping their relatives.
Due to the importance of research in the area of brain diseases, a variety of independent national and regional funding programmes exist in most countries. NEURON Cofund avoids the problems of fragmentation in the national efforts by co-ordinating national and regional programmes for disease-related neuroscience research. This includes the 27 participating funding organisations and associated partners across Europe, Israel, and Canada. The extension of the collaboration beyond the European Research Area into North America reflects the global dimension of brain research, and increases NEURON’s effectiveness. The ERA-NET serves as a platform for funding agencies and ministries, to develop joint activities and programmes to coordinate high quality research across national borders. One of the core activities are annually launched joint transnational calls for proposals for research groups operating in the NEURON partner countries. With each new funding round, different areas of disease-related brain research are addressed.
This project receives funding from the European Union’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 under grant agreement no 680966 and was previously funded from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 291840.
The new NEURON flyer can be downloaded here (PDF, 972 kb).
The first NEURON flyer can be downloaded here (PDF, 400 kb).
Since 2012 the number of NEURON’s partner funding organizations increased to 24 from 18 countries including Canada, which participated already since 2009 in the JTCs as non-NEURON partner. The most recent overview brochure is here (PDF, 7,2 MB).