The purpose of the programme ‘Brain & Cognition – social innovation in health care, education and safety’ (HCMI) is to promote research focused on social innovation in health care, education and social safety. The programme operates under the broader National Initiative on Brain & Cognition


Within this framework, three specific goals have been identified:

  • To encourage excellent interdisciplinary research;
  • To encourage participation by private or public social partners aimed at the structural changes necessary within health care, education and social safety;
  • Social implementation of results.

Three focus area’s

Approximately one-third of the costs for health care relates to the long-term consequences of brain damage, dementia, neurological diseases or psychiatric disorders. An ageing population will increase this problem, in the future. There is an urgent need for methods of tracing cognitive problems at an earlier stage, and ways of tackling the consequences of deterioration. More

Our society needs knowledge to advance, but our education system is facing severe problems. Many children fall behind at an early stage, or leave school early. There is a huge demand for educational innovation that enables pupils to learn ideally in environments that match their talents. There is also a need for methods to assist teachers in remaining loyal to their subject as they grow older. More

Social safety is threatened by an increase in aggressive and antisocial behaviour, and our failing capacity to permanently prevent people from slipping into these forms of behaviour. We need methods for nipping problem behaviour in the bud, and new, effective methods for redirecting such behaviour. The professional groups responsible for monitoring our safety, under the threat of considerable emotional stress, need methods for better dealing with those difficulties. More

Embedded in practice

This programme consists of a series of projects and programmes that, thanks to intensive cooperation with a range of parties from social practice, will result in specific applications for modern scientific knowledge of the brain and cognition.


2010 – 2015

Financing and budget

This programme is supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Welfare & Sport, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Youth & Family. The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) is responsible for implementing the programme.

The budget for the programme consists of a contribution of €20 million euro from the Economic Structure Enhancing Fund (FES) and from the scientific and social partners who have jointly contributed some €15 million euro.


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