The overall aim of the initiative is to build collaborative research activity in neurodegeneration research across borders, focusing on the critical mass and excellence. COEN is aligned with the broader Joint Programming Initiative in Neurodegeneration (JPND), although it operates as an independent entity.

The first phase of the initiative involved a call for proposals for pilot projects (up to two years in duration) involving Centres of Excellence (CoE) in two or more countries. Eight collaborative projects totalling £3.7m (€4.6m) were funded, including research projects which spanned the development of new disease models, the identification of biomarkers and the harmonization of methodologies for clinical studies. (

In France, the National Research Agency has recognized 7 centers of excellence (Bordeaux, Grenoble, Lille, Marseille, Montpellier, Paris and Toulouse) for the quality of their clinical and research teams. Among these cities, Lille and Paris have joined forces to bid for the next ISFTD international congress. 

The Lille CoEN ("Lille Center of Excellence for Neurodegenerative Disorders") has thus taken on the mission of promoting interaction between clinicians and researchers to accelerate research and improve care practices, to broaden the field of research to other disciplines (social sciences, physics, computer science...), to strengthen teaching on MND and to disseminate information to the general public. (