Understanding the brain

Healthy Brain

Our brain allows us to have thoughts, languages, emotions, actions, to store and retrieve our memories, and to navigate our world each and every day. It enables us to be the conscious and social human beings that we are, both creating and interacting with our increasingly complex environments. To understand the workings of this central organ of human life in interaction with its environment is a daunting task.

This challenge will only be met successfully if researchers from a wide array of disciplines join forces. Moreover, it can only be done at a place where excellence in the contributing research fields is available. The Radboud campus – with the Radboud University, the Radboud University Medical Center and the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics – is such a place. Moreover, its researchers have taken the initiative to cooperate to meet this major scientific challenge. This is their project site.

Introductory speeches

Under the over-arching theme of Healthy Brain, researchers and staff on Radboud campus are determined to embark on the adventure of creating new synergies by fostering truly interdisciplinary exchange and collaborations across the full range of science. On 16 december 2015 a first meeting took place.


Research theme: Language


Language is in our genes and brain; it forms our thoughts and culture. How does language do this? Which linguistic characteristics are shared by all people on Earth and in which aspects do we differ? These are vast questions to which we do not have the answer. Neuroscientist Peter Hagoort organised the world's largest army of language researchers in the world, and plans to unravel these mysteries in the coming ten years.

Research theme: Learning and development

Learning and development

Brain research is one Radboud University's spearheads. The Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour is a leading research centre in this field and enjoys a good international reputation. Its research encompasses language and communication, perception, actions and controls, memory and plasticity and the brain networks and neuronal communication at the basis of these.

Research theme: Food and cognition

Food and cognition

Health and eating behaviour are closely linked. Scientists at Radboud University's Behavioural Science Institute (BSI) are researching how our social environment influences our eating behaviour.

Research theme: Diagnosis and treatment

Diagnosis and treatment

Research into the area of 'health' is carried out at a variety of locations within Radboud University and Radboud university medical centre. This involves scientists at the Behavioural Science Institute (BSI), Environmental Science and the Life science trace gas facility, as well as researchers at Radboud university medical centre. Radboud university medical centre is increasing the knowledge of health and improvements to well-being through its biomedical, translational and clinical research.

Research theme: Brain-inspired Technology

Brain-inspired Technology

The mission of the Institute for Computing and Information Sciences (iCIS) at Radboud University is to use scientifically founded theories and methods to improve analyses and the development of computer systems. iCIS's most important research objective is the improved quality of software, with an emphasis on reliability, safety, design and cooperation between systems.

Research theme: Behaviour


Research carried out by Radboud University into the development and learning processes of children and young people covers the entire period from infancy to adolescence, placing its focus on brain development, behaviour, social development and the relations between parents and peers.

Steering Committee

Healthy Brain initiative has a small steering committee: Antal van den Bosch, Guillen Fernandez, Peter Hagoort, Gerard Meijer and Esther-Mirjam Sent. Ine van den Heuvel (MSO) will act as executive secretary.

Healthy Brain aims to be an important contribution to the Dutch Nationale Wetenschapsagenda. The steering committee will meet every month. Input for these meetings and to the initiative are expected to be channeled by the members of the steering committee.