Aligning international research efforts – The ERA-NET NEURON Cofund
Canadian health researchers and European counterparts investigate brain-related central nervous system disorders

In 2016, the European Commission's European Research Area Partnership (ERA-NET) launched the NEURON Cofund – a multinational, collaborative research effort that seeks to answer questions related to the body's response to external injuries to the central nervous system.

An acute traumatic event, like a motor vehicle accident, can cause serious injury to the central nervous system, including traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. There are an estimated 130,000 new cases of spinal cord injuries reported worldwide each year, which place a heavy burden on national health care systems. An even greater burden is borne by patients and their families, as these types of injuries often result in permanent disability. 

ERA-NET NEURON will strive to improve the care provided to these patients by uniting the world's best and brightest minds from this area of research.  The initiative is supported by 22 funding agencies (including the Canadian Institutes of Health Research) from 18 countries, with an investment of 17.9 million Euros (more than $27.2 million Canadian).

Five of the 19 projects supported through ERA-NET NEURON include Canadian health researchers (from McGill University, the University of Calgary, and Laval University) and two Canadians will be the principal investigators on their projects, joining colleagues from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

By harnessing the multidisciplinary expertise of researchers around the globe, it is hoped that the ERA-NET NEURON Cofund will provide superior research training and mentorship environments, support the creation of new knowledge, and translate research findings into new treatments, policies, and practices.

"Science knows no borders, and CIHR INMHA is proud to partner with FRQS and the other ERA-NET NEURON partners in supporting these outstanding multi-national research teams. These projects will further advance our understanding of traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, helping to drive the discoveries that will ultimately improve the quality of life for those affected by these devastating injuries."

Dr. Samuel Weiss, Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction (INMHA)
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