This article is a markedly condensed summary of a longer report [Resource allocation to brain research in Europe (RABRE), part 2] that is simultaneously published on line: (i) as supplementary material linked to this European Journal of Neuroscience article (http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/loi/ejn) and (ii) on the website of the European Brain Council (http://www.europeanbraincouncil.org/publications). We have recently shown that brain diseases account for 35% of the overall disease burden and cost European society almost €400 billion per year (a billion is understood to mean one thousand million throughout this report). The aim of the present study was to estimate funding for brain research in Europe and the cost–benefit of further investments in this area of research. The assessment of funding included public sources (governmental agencies plus charities) and industry funding. The assessment of publicly financed research support for brain research was based on a comprehensive survey, and industry investment in brain research was assessed based on published data on pharmaceutical development. The total funding of brain research in Europe was estimated at €4.1 billion in 2005, of which public grants amounted to < €900 million. Thus, industry funding accounted for 79%. Although cancer only incurred 50% of the cost of brain diseases in 2005, public grants for cancer research were almost twice as high as the public financial support of brain research. US-based funding of brain research was almost four times higher than European funding. We assessed the cost–benefit of further investment in brain research using different methods. They all showed that increased investment in brain research is likely to be highly cost-effective. We conclude that European spending on brain research, particularly public spending, is low compared to other fields of research and to the US, and that increased investment in brain research seems warranted.