Central nervous system (CNS) disorders (psychiatric, neurological, and neurosurgical disorders) figure among the leading causes of disease and disability. Recent WHO data suggest that CNS disorders cause 35% of the burden of all diseases in Europe. Of patients in primary care, 25% are affected by a neuropsychiatric disease such as mood disorders (depression, anxiety), psychotic conditions (schizophrenia, mania), declined cognitive function (Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases) or brain trauma (stroke, brain or spine lesion). CNS disorders are substantially more costly to society than other important fields in medicine such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

The brain, a very sophisticated and complex organ, cannot easily be investigated in isolation, and this has impacted the development of neurological and psychiatric treatments. However, dramatic advances in CNS research over the last two decades enable the development of truly innovative treatments today.