Psychiatric and neurological diseases combined represent a considerable social and economic burden in Europe. A recent study conducted by the European Brain Council (EBC) quantified the ‘cost and burden’ of major brain diseases in Europe, amounting to €386bn per year. Considering that these costs will increase exponentially in the years to come due to ageing of the European population, it is necessary to act now in order to curb this increase and possibly reverse the trend. Thus, establishing a strong European platform supporting basic and clinical research in neuroscience is needed to confront the economic and social challenge posed by management of brain diseases in European countries. To setup a platform for discussion, EBC published in 2006 a Consensus Document on European Brain Research, describing needs and achievements of research in Europe and presenting proposals for future research programs. Since 2006, European research in neuroscience has advanced tremendously. The present document represents an update elaborated to reflect changes in research priorities and advances in brain research that have taken place since 2006. The same approach and format have been used here as in the previous version. Multinational and multidisciplinary teams have once again come together to express their views, not only on the current strengths in European research, but also on what needs to be done in priority, hoping that this update will inspire policy makers and stakeholders in directing funding for research in Europe.