ICM MISSIONS and strategy

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The Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle épinière – Institut du Cerveau – ICM (Brain & Spine Institute) – is an international brain and spinal cord research center whose innovative concept and structure make it the only institute of its kind in the world. The Institut du Cerveau – ICM brings patients, doctors and researchers together with the aim of rapidly develop treatments for disorders of the nervous system and enable patients to benefit from them as quickly as possible.

The best scientists from all backgrounds and countries come together at the Institute to perform leading-edge research in this area. To help researchers advance in their work and give patients tangible reasons for hope, we must all play a role: government agencies, corporate actors and individuals. No one can afford to idly stand by, because this fight is vital to every one of us.




Our principles and values

Scientific excellence : getting the best researchers on board to discover new knowledge.

“For the benefit of patients” : bringing together patients, doctors and researchers.

Flexibility : giving science the space it needs to be creative.

Openness : creating a forum for exchange; encouraging dialogue with the civil society and corporate partners.

Knowledge transfer : sharing knowledge within and between countries.

An innovative, ambitious model of excellence

Ambitious :

In order to treat and, one day, cure brain and spinal cord disorders, we need large research centers with the requisite resources and structure to function as a network. The Institut du Cerveau – ICM fits the criteria:

● 22,000 sq. meters of laboratory space;

● 1,200 sq. meters dedicated to clinical research;

● 1,000 sq. meters dedicated to start-up incubation;

● a €67 million investment in property;

● and, most importantly, 700 researchers, engineers and technicians, hand-picked

● to meet stringent standards, working on-site on a full-time basis.


The Institut du Cerveau – ICM is a pole of excellence for the central nervous system, located in the heart of the largest hospital:

● Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital

● 33,000 sq. meters

● 20,000 healthcare team members

● 2,000 beds

● 100,000 patients suffering from nervous system disorders examinated each year

● 4 of the 10 most-sited French neuroscientists working at this site

International :

To build and grow the best research teams, the Institut du Cerveau – ICM formed an international Scientific Committee to identify and recruit top talent. Its rigorous selection process is one of the main factors guaranteeing the Institut du Cerveau – ICM’s scientific excellence.

Unique :

Bringing patients, doctors and researchers together in one place facilitates both basic and clinical research. The aim is to shorten the time span between research and therapy, with significant benefit to patients.

Original :

The Institut du Cerveau – ICM is a private foundation, recognized as a public benefit organization on September 13, 2006, located on the property of a public institution, the Pitié-Salpêtrière University Hospital. The Institut du Cerveau – ICM receives financial support from governmental partners as well as private funds.

Multidisciplinary :

In the past, research being conducted in different fields (molecular and cellular biology, neurophysiology, cognitive sciences, therapeutic) has been too isolated. The multisdisciplinary approach taken by Institut du Cerveau – ICM is a vital innovation in research.

Value-creating :

Extracting value from findings is a key issue today in scientific research. Partnerships with industry, especially in the pharmaceutical sector, give research an accelerating push.


Understanding and treating nervous system diseases and injuries is a major world challenge for the 21st century. Today, our medicine can provide some relief. For tomorrow, we need medicine to prevent, cure and repair.

The Scientific Program of the Institut du Cerveau – ICM is equal to the challenge

  • Prevent, i.e. prevent manifestation of the disease.
  • Cure, i.e. slow, at best stop, the evolution of the pathological processes.
  • Repair, i.e. reconstruct the neuronal circuits after damage to the nervous system.
  • Relieve to attenuate or eliminate symptoms such as memory loss, language disorders, pain, anxiety, and depression.

The objective is to do research at an international level, combining scientific creativity and therapeutic aims. The Institut du Cerveau – ICM’s scientific program is based on the following principles: create a “combat team” for research, which implies:

  • Recruiting the best French researchers, as ranked by the National Agency for Evaluation of Research and Higher Education (AERES), and the best foreign researchers, as evaluated by the International Scientific Advisory Board.
  • Place at researcher’s disposal advanced technological platforms and an efficacious Biological Resources Centre.
  • Developing multidisciplinary “translational” research in association with industrial partners and the best research centres in and outside France.
    Define the most important research axes.


Discover the Institut du Cerveau – ICM strategy in 4 minutes