We choose a future without neurodegenerative disease

As a world-class biomedical, clinical and nanotechnology R&D hub, we are on a mission to decode dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases, with the aim of curing or preventing them.

Our value innovation approach is organized across a 10-year initiative program with clear horizons and a supporting technology roadmap.

Unique constellation of partners

By leveraging the biomedical, clinical and technological expertise of our founding partners, we accelerate medical discovery towards a future without neurodegeneration. Game-changing, scalable technology platforms and tools give us a unique opportunity to deliver scientific and medical breakthroughs.

Three-sided innovation platform

We take a multi-angle approach to tackle neurodegenerative disease: zooming in on the cellular and intracellular levels via nanoscale technologies, and studying symptoms and disease processes in humans. We bring those two levels together by looking at the modulation of brain activity and processes.

Decoding dementia together


imec is the world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies. The combination of our widely acclaimed leadership in microchip technology and profound software and ICT expertise is what makes us unique. By leveraging our world-class infrastructure and local and global ecosystem of partners across a multitude of industries, we create groundbreaking innovation in application domains such as healthcare, smart cities and mobility, logistics and manufacturing, energy and education.

As a trusted partner for companies, start-ups and universities, we bring together close to 3,500 brilliant minds from over 70 nationalities. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium and has distributed R&D groups at a number of Flemish universities, in the Netherlands, Taiwan, USA, China, and offices in India and Japan.

KU Leuven

KU Leuven is one of Europe’s oldest universities and the co-founder of the League of European Research Universities (LERU). KU Leuven ranks as the 7th most innovative university in the world, and the first that is not based in the US (Reuters 2019). KU Leuven Research & Development, the university’s technology transfer office, manages over 3,000 university-to-industry agreements every year. KU Leuven has a long tradition of developing innovative and effective healthcare solutions, such as the world’s leading anti-HIV drug (tenofovir) and medication for the treatment of heart attacks and strokes (tPA).


UZ Leuven is the University Hospital of KU Leuven and the largest in Belgium. With over 9,000 employees and 1,995 beds, it offers extensive academic hospital care with a dedicated memory clinic and excellent neurology and gerontopsychiatric services. It is also a top-ranked clinical trial center, with the fastest approval rate for clinical trials in Europe.


Basic research in life sciences is VIB’s raison d’être. VIB is an independent research institute, based on a close partnership with the five universities in Flanders. It is a European Centre of Excellence in life sciences (EU-LIFE) where some 1,500 top international scientists conduct pioneering basic research. As such, they are pushing the boundaries of what we know about molecular mechanisms and how they rule living organisms such as human beings, animals, plants and microorganisms.

Scientific Leadership

Mathieu Vandenbulcke

Chair Scientific and Executive Committee - UZ Leuven, KU Leuven

"Dementia reminds me of the old photographs of Ypres, my hometown in Flanders that was completely destroyed during the First World War. As a clinician, I am confronted daily with the battlefields in the mind of people with dementia. As  a researcher, I see the aging brain fighting with unequal weapons against Alzheimer’s. We need to find the right arms to win this battle. This requires allied forces of clinical and basic researchers equipped with the most advanced technological tools. Mission Lucidity is a humanitarian mission determined to save the brain and free the mind."

Bart De Strooper

Scientific lead - VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research, Leuven Director of the UK Dementia Research Institute

"Our current understanding of dementia is not dissimilar to what we knew, or thought we knew, about cancer several decades ago. What we need is a paradigm shift in the way we think about neurodegenerative disease. We have a huge amount of discovery science to do, and with this unique constellation of engineering, biomedical and clinical research we plan to bring affordable and accessible solutions to the clinic."

Dries Braeken

Technology lead - R&D Manager Life Science Technologies at imec

"Novel instruments have always played a pivotal role in the understanding of disease, because they allow for a much more complete and detailed understanding. Customized silicon chips can be engineered into such powerful instrumentation by virtue of their enormous parallelism. Moreover, because chip manufacturing practices are standardized and commoditized, those powerful instruments can be made available to the whole research community."

Rik Vandenberghe

Clinical lead - Head of the memory clinic UZ Leuven

"Mission Lucidity unites the power of engineering, science and medicine. For me as a clinical dementia expert of the University Hospitals, Mission Lucidity creates a unique chance to steer the development of innovative technology towards priorities that matter directly to patients. Mission Lucidity will illuminate the human disease at its origin and transform dementia medicine so that dementia will become a bad memory from remote history."

Patrik Verstreken

Director of VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research

"Progress in neurodegenerative disease research is hampered by the limited ability to study living human brain material at stages where it is starting to become sick. Understanding disease at this early stage will help us to slow or stop disease progression, before parts of the brain die. We are developing an innovative approach where we are recreating parts of the brain of patients on a special silicon chip to study Parkinson’s disease. Our hypothesis is that there are different types of Parkinson’s disease, and using the high resolution read-outs of our brain-on-chip system will allow us to disentangle this complexity and define patient subgroups for targeted, personalized therapeutic approaches."

Steering Committee

Urbain Vandeurzen

Chairman Smile Invest, Honorary Chairman VOKA, Flanders’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Chairman of the Campaign Board Opening the Future - KU Leuven

"Neurodegenerative diseases affect numerous people worldwide but despite intensive research, effective treatments are still lacking. As a serial entrepreneur, it is my experience that when world-class researchers that are driven by a compelling vision and ambition, get access to sufficient resources and breakthrough technology, they can achieve what seemingly looked impossible. That is why with Mission Lucidity, we want to create the conditions to fundamentally decode dementia."

Luc Van den hove

President & CEO imec

“I strongly believe that there is hope for dementia. Thanks to the advances in nanotechnology we can now measure what hasn’t been measured before. We can now develop groundbreaking tools, that allow us gain a profoundly deeper understanding in the disease than ever before. With Mission Lucidity, we have all the expertise from world-renown partners in hand – biomedical, clinical and nanotechnological - to bring hope for dementia.”

Koenraad Debackere

Managing Director KU Leuven

“What makes humans unique? Everyone investigating that question cannot ignore the human brain, the way it developed and functions. We understand what others think given our knowledge of the world. We understand what others cannot know. That lucidity defines us. Unfortunately, it can also fail us. That is why we must decode dementia. To safeguard or give back the lucidity that uniquely defines us.”

Wim Robberecht

Chief Executive Officer UZ Leuven

“In the next decades, we will be confronted with a tsunami of chronic illnesses due to aging of the population. Mental disorders are responsible for the largest portion of these chronic diseases, with dementia posing the greatest challenge. That is why it must be decoded, to give people back what is their most human characteristic: their lucidity.”

Jo Bury

Managing Director VIB

“Although our understanding of dementia has increased tremendously in the last two decades and despite all the efforts to find new drugs, there is still no cure. The right way forward is a cross-disciplinary initiative that combines the expertise of basic science with disruptive technologies and accelerates translation to patients.”

Other members

Other members of Mission Lucidity's Steering Committee include Jo De Boeck (Chief Strategy Officer at imec), Chris Van Geet (vice rector at KU Leuven), Gert Van Assche (Chief Medical Officer at UZ Leuven) and Wim Goemaere (Chief Operating Officer at VIB)