The European Hypothermia Stroke Research Workshop was held in January 2010, in response to the alarming prospects of a significant increase of stroke expected in the coming years globally. Considering that a minority of patients (around 10%) are currently eligible for thrombolytic treatment, there is a need for an efficacious, cost-effective novel therapy that can be implemented broadly within European health care systems. Accordingly, the primary objective of the workshop was the definition of a research agenda aiming to assess the therapeutic benefits of hypothermia in patients with acute ischaemic stroke. The meeting was organised by the European Stroke Research Network for Hypothermia (EuroHyp) and attended by the representatives of World Stroke Organisation, European Stroke Organisation, Stroke Alliance for Europe, Society for Cryobiology and other organisations – specifically the European Space Agency, and small- and medium-sized enterprises based in EU member states. The participants adopted the ‘Hypothermia for Stroke – Call to Action 2010’, a declaration specifying the priorities for hypothermia research in acute ischaemic stroke. The research programme outlined – a clinical study programme designed to identify and validate therapeutic cooling as a novel treatment providing benefit to a large number of stroke patients – contains a well-integrated series of Phase II studies aiming to refine the intervention (depth, duration, and mode of cooling; antishivering strategy; patient selection) and a pivotal Phase III clinical trial. The proposed integrated Phase II and III clinical study programme would test the effectiveness of this optimised intervention, and would allow the development of evidence-based Clinical Practice Guidelines describing the optimal use of therapeutic hypothermia as a treatment strategy for stroke.