The European Brain Council’s study of the economic burden of brain disorders showed that 12 major neurological diseases cost the European economy and national health systems nearly 400 billion euros in 2004, and that brain disorders affected 127 million Europeans in 2006 (European Journal of Neuroscience, Vol 33, p 767, 2011).
Research programs at the forefront of neuroscience will have direct biomedical applications that improve quality of life for many people and address socio-economic challenges. These are expected through an improved detection, understanding and therapy of neurological disorders. Investigating neurological and psychiatric disorders is a fundamental challenge of neuroscience in the 21st century. Neuronal networks are made of billions of neurons interconnected via multiple feed-forward and feedback processes. Understanding their function and dysfunction represents a very complex task, which requires multi-disciplinary investigation. The static view of brain function that was prevailing some decades ago had turned into a much more dynamic concept nowadays. Thus, whatever during development, maturity or aging, the brain permanently adapts and copes with ever-changing normal or harmful situations. Such adaptability might have been one of the most important evolutionary parameters that gave time a pivotal position in neurophysiology and consequently pathology. Importantly, time processing plays a fundamental role in brain function & dysfunction.
The NeuroTime program is aimed at investigating the pivotal role of time processing in brain function and dysfunction. Because neuroscience is inherently interdisciplinary, research and training in neuroscience have to combine multiple approaches: developmental neuroscience, cellular and integrative neuroscience, chronobiology, computational neuroscience and neurotechnologies.
Crucial progress towards identifying normal and pathological mechanisms in the nervous system requests a strong educative background, which may only be achieved through an interdisciplinary cooperation involving the different disciplines described above.