A brain-behaviour initiative for South Africa: The time is right

Dan J. Stein, Willie Daniels, Robin Emsley, Brian Harvey, Jonathan Blackburn, Paul Carey, George Ellis, Nicola Illing, Alan Flisher, Hanlie Moolman-Smook, Kelvin Mwaba, Rajkumar Ramesar, Vivienne Russell, Soraya Seedat, Colin Tredoux, Christopher L. Vaughan, Bavanisha Vythilingum, James Warwick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Many have advocated for science and health research in developing world settings. However, there has been less focus on the value of basic and clinical neuroscience research in this context. The current paper focuses on the relevance of a brain-behaviour research initiative in South Africa. Methods: Workshops sponsored by the University of Cape Town Research Office and by the National Research Foundation have recently focused on the state of South African basic and clinical neuroscience, and on how to strengthen research in these areas. The context of the discussion included national science and health priorities, as well as local research opportunities. Results: Neuropsychiatric disorders account for the second largest proportion of the burden of disease in South Africa, but receive relatively little research funding. There is a critical need for research, and there are unique research opportunities, in areas such as trauma and resilience, impulsive behaviour (eg violence, sexual risk taking, and substance abuse), and neuroAIDS. Basic, clinical, and systems research can all make important contributions. Conclusion: There is a need to apprise policy-makers in developing world countries such as South Africa of the need for increased expenditure on basic and clinical neuroscience research. Local and international collaboration may be useful in increasing research capacity in South Africa, and ultimately in improving mental health services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-284
Number of pages6
JournalMetabolic Brain Disease
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain-behaviour initiative
  • Developing country
  • Research


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