Université de Bordeaux
LabEx BRAINCluster of Excellence
Cluster of excellence
Presentation of the project LabEx BRAIN

Bordeaux Region Aquitaine Initiative for Neurosciences


BRAIN is the Laboratory of Excellence (i.e. cluster of excellence), specialized in neuroscience, in Bordeaux, headed by Daniel Choquet.

Thanks to the Investissement d'Avenir program, the LabEx BRAIN has obtained significant means to compete with its foreign counterparts and increase the international visibility of Bordeaux Neuroscience. The LabEx BRAIN project has received 20M€ of total funding through 2019. Its general ambition is to position our research community as a key player in the creation of new knowledge and the discovery of new treatments for neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases at the European and global level. BRAIN also participates in the development of local employment with the emergence of start-ups, and is now becoming the reference for European training in neuroscience. 



Schéma Brain

BRAIN allows to initiate new ideas and transversal projects, by bringing together a multidisciplinary consortium of world renowned scientists, in order to face the biggest neuroscience research challenges and to tend towards transversality between the molecular, systemic, behavioral and clinical levels.

Therefore, BRAIN was built on the diversity and complementary expertise of its partners and teams, in the following fields of application whose excellence is internationally recognized:

> Super-resolution imaging

> Neuron Cell biology

> Physiology of neural networks

> Human and animal behavior

> Mechanisms of neurodegenerative and behavioral disorders

In order to connect basic research to societal issues, the transfer strategy developed within the LabEx BRAIN encourages the creation of new start-up based on BRAIN laboratories results.


Main activities




BRAIN also aims at developing major collaborations and large scale projects with other communities to further build its multidisciplinary actions. BRAIN maintains close relations with several other LabEx in Bordeaux, including the medical imaging community TRAIL, the clusters laser&optics Laphia and computation CPU. Strong links are built with international communities, based on existing collaborations, International Laboratories Associates (Optinutribrain nutrition et santé du cerveau, NutriNeuro and Université Laval (Québec), the signature of a  Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with The Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Calgary, Canada and maintains close links with Bristol Neuroscience, the Neuroscience Department of the University of Bristol.

LabEx BRAIN’s reputation and excellence allow for the accumulation of c.a. 10M€ of co-funds per year from various sources.  This is a direct consequence of the considerable increase in the number of collaborative projects seeded by the LabEx. Indeed, the LabEx BRAIN supports about 10 new projects each year, 61 having been financially supported in total. Thanks to the core facility program, high-end technical equipment and qualified services are available to a variety of research disciplines, from molecular and cellular biology and cellular imaging up to animal and rodent behavior.

In order to connect basic research to societal issues, the transfer strategy developed within the LabEx BRAIN encourages the creation of new start-ups based on results and technologies emerging from BRAIN laboratories.



> Transversal projects

From 2011 to 2018, LabEx BRAIN launched 5 calls for projects to deepen and expand Bordeaux Neurocampus collaborations. All projects involve partners from at least 2 different laboratories from Bordeaux Neurocampus. The evaluation criteria are based on the project significance, complementarity, multidisciplinary approach and innovation.

> Clinical research projects

2 calls were launched in 2015 and in 2017 to support transversal projects. It consists of financing clinical trials (physiological, pathophysiological, diagnostic or interventional therapeutic, industrial trials) in healthy or unhealthy subjects.

> New team

In 2014, LabEx launched an international call for applications to set up a new team within the SANPSY unit. The selected candidate received a competitive start-up package including running costs, equipments and salaries to set-up her team.

> Core facilities

10 core facilities are selected to be supported by the LabEx. The aim of this program is to offer high-end technical equipment and services to all Bordeaux Neurocampus teams at a reduced price. The IBISA labeling of 3 facilities testifies to the quality of this program.



> Bordeaux School of Neuroscience

The LabEx BRAIN allowed the acquisition of all initial equipment for the creation of the Bordeaux School of Neuroscience.

Unique in Europe, the vocation of the Bordeaux School of Neuroscience is to offer the international/European Community a platform of high technological level, giving the opportunity to organize training for research in neuroscience based on experimental practice. The BSN has been selected by FENS/IBRO to be the major partner site of the Cajal Advanced Neuroscience Training Program.

> PhD Extension Grant

The LabEx BRAIN offers students from Bordeaux a fellowship to complete their Ph.D thesis, immediately after a 3 year Ph.D, covering a period to finish their projects before leaving for a post-doc.



> Applied research projects Technological Transfer

BRAIN launched a call in 2015 to support applied research projects with high potential economic impact. These projects include the discovery, development or optimization of innovative therapeutic or diagnostic products, as well as the promotion of research resources dedicated to the discovery of new therapies or diagnostic tools (in silico, cellular or animal screening methods).


Knowledge transfer

The LabEx BRAIN supports symposiums organized in Bordeaux.

It is also implicated in popularization, such as conferences, debates, workshops for a general audience, in the context of “brain week” (“la semaine du cerveau”) or the “science festival” (“la fête de la science”)