QUESTIONS UNDER STUDY: This study represents a first attempt at estimating Swiss resource allocation to brain research including both public and private spending. METHODS: In order to estimate public spending (by governments and charities) a survey was conducted to evaluate the way brain research is funded across Europe and especially in Switzerland. Industry funding was measured using different approaches including a survey of pharmaceutical expenditures and the costs of developing new drugs. RESULTS: Private spending is at a reasonable level because a highly developed Swiss pharmaceutical industry invests significantly in this branch of science. However, public spending is at a low level compared to other European countries, although Switzerland is the only European country where the total funding per capita exceeds that of US funding. CONCLUSIONS: A detailed investigation of Swiss resource allocation to different branches of biomedical research is warranted. Brain research should be an important part of such a study. The United States and the European Union have selected brain research as one of their priority areas within health related research. The present figures indicate that this may also be justified in Switzerland.