BrainNet Europe (BNE)

At a Glance
  • Status: Completed Consortium
  • Year Launched: 2005
  • Initiating Organization: European Commission Sixth Framework Programme (FP6)
  • Initiator Type: Government
  • Disease focus:
    Brain disorders
  • Location: Europe


The BrainNet Europe (BNE) consortium consists of 19 brain banks across Europe, with an aim to harmonize neuropathological diagnostic criteria and develop quality, safety, and ethics standards for brain banking. It is supported as part of the European Commission’s Sixth Framework Programme.


The BNE goal is to define gold standards in tissue sampling practice and in neuropathological diagnostics. Its aim is to improve the quality of brain banking in Europe to the highest possible level.

Consortium History

2001: The BrainNet consortium was launched.
Dec. 31, 2009: The funding period ended.

Structure & Governance

The Network Governing Board is the principal decision-making body of the network and consists of all researchers and graduate students working for the network. The Network Area Boards are management groups for the work packages (WPs). The chairpersons manage the network areas and are members of the Network Coordination Committee. The Network Coordination Committee is the supervisory body of the research activities, which report to and are accountable to the Network Governing Board. The IPR Council is the arbitration panel with power to decide disputes among the parties concerning intellectual property rights. 

The coordinator is the intermediary to the Commission who is authorized to execute network management. He reports to and is accountable to the Network Coordination Committee. The Project Office (BrainNet Europe Office) is the central office of BrainNet Europe II. The Project Office is based with the coordinator in Munich and is concerned with organization and coordination, data handling, and information of BrainNet Europe II members and the general public.

The Coordinating Group is composed of five members of the network and supports and advises the coordinator in management-related matters.


BrainNet was funded by the European Commission in the Sixth Framework Program “Life Science.” The total cost of the project was €17.5, with €7.7 provided by the European Commission.

Intellectual Property

The consortium has an IPR Council to decide disputes among the parties concerning intellectual property rights. 

Patient Engagement

BrainNet plays a significant leadership role in harmonizing patient protection procedures and adheres to the legal regulations of the World Health Organization as well as the Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences in regard to brain donations.

Data Sharing

The brain donor material is only shared among proven research groups, and it is never used for commercial purposes.

Personal data and finding reports of the donor are handled in strict accordance with the regulations of the data protection legislation.


Seventeen papers have been published in peer-reviewed journals. Experiences in all topics relevant to brain banking and to the joint program of activities were exchanged between BNE partners at the kick-off meeting in Munich, Network Coordination Committee meetings in Salzburg, Athens, Vienna, London, and Munich, and Network Governing Board (NGB) meetings in Munich, Budapest, Venice, Stockholm, Barcelona, Malta, and Lisbon. All researchers, doctoral students, and technicians working for BNE’s joint program of activities were invited to attend the kick-off and NGB meetings. The attendees engaged in fruitful discussions, in particular during special WP meetings and workshops/training sessions for technicians and brain bank managers. In addition, employees of BNE partners took active part in WP meetings and training sessions/workshops beyond regular NGB meetings organized and held by WP leaders.

The training courses comprised workshops on microdissection, morphometry, neuropathological diagnostics, immunohistochemical staining methods, database construction, data protection, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) analysis techniques, ribonucleic acid (RNA) analysis techniques, protein analysis techniques, analysis techniques for neurochemical substances, laser capture microdissection, legal and ethical issues in brain banking, and brain donor recruitment. Some of these courses were also open for interested people, mainly scientists and technicians, from outside BNE.

Points of Contact

Hans A. Kretzschmar
Project Coordinator
phone: +49 (89) 2180 78001

Thomas Arzberger
Project Manager—scientific matters
phone: +49 (89) 2180 78066

Ameli Schwalber
Project Manager—administrative matters
phone: +49 (8141) 6252 8571

Sponsors & Partners

Aarhus Brain Collection (Denmark)

Alma Mater Studiorum - Università de Bologna

Hospices Civils de Lyon (Lyon Institution)

Hospital de Bellvitge/Universitat de Barcelona

Human Brain Tissue Bank Budapest

Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine

Istituto Nazionale Neurologico Carlo Besta (Milan, Italy)

London Institute of Psychiatry

Medical University of Vienna

Munich Brain Bank (Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich)

National and Capodistrian University of Athens

Netherlands Brain Bank

Neurobiobank (Munich LMU)

Neurological Tissue Bank, University of Barcelona

Queen Square Brain Bank (Univ. College London)

The Brain Bank at Karolinska Institutet

The University of Edinburgh

Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris

University of Kuopio

University of Wuerzburg

Last Updated: 04/07/2016

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