Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020) – in addition to the private investment that this money will attract. It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market.
As the European Commission stated: “The Europe 2020 strategy focuses on encouraging economic growth, creating new jobs, increasing industrial competitiveness, improving quality of life and encouraging social inclusion. The plan targets many of the challenges facing European society and research sectors regarding the brain.”
Through Neuroelectrics’ mother company, Starlab, we have already participated in the past in many applied neuroscience projects that have been funded by the European Union’s fund for research and development (previously known as FP7).
Another very interesting opportunity for neuroscience research is the Human Brain Project that will also be investing greatly in the forthcoming years within Horizon 2020 to “tackle grand interdisciplinary science and technology challenges”. In order to better understand their vision, they claim that: “the goal of the Human Brain Project is to build a completely new information computing technology infrastructure for neuroscience and for brain-related research in medicine and computing, catalysing a global collaborative effort to understand the human brain and its diseases and ultimately to emulate its computational capabilities.”
The developments that have happened in the past few years have demonstrated that the field of neuroscience is immense. On April 2nd, 2013, President Obama announced the BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative. Through this project government agencies and private sector will join forces to provide more than $100 million annually in an effort to revolutionize our understanding of the human brain. The initiative is similar to the Human Genome Project in ambition. As an example of the expected impact, the Humane Genome Project has generated an economic output of $796 billion – that is $141 for every $1 invested.
As a final thought I would like to underline that the future of Brain Research within Horizon 2020 and within other research schemes all over the world is promising as, in the end, it answers an important societal need.