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The origin of the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO) can be traced back to a meeting of clinical neurophysiologists in London in 1947 under the auspices of the Electroencephalography (EEG) Society, which led to the establishment of the International Federation of EEG (IFEEG) and Clinical Neurophysiology in London in 1947.

A later conference in Moscow in 1958 of IFEEG and other groups, successfully achieved unanimous support for a resolution proposing the creation of an international organization representing brain research worldwide. 

IBRO was founded in 1961 in response to this growing demand from neuroscientists around the world for the creation of a central organization that would cut across national boundaries and improve communication and collaboration among brain researchers.

It was established as an independent, non-governmental organization, regulated by a Governing Council, which is now made up of over 80 neuroscience societies. The organization represents the interests of more than 75,000 neuroscientists around the globe.

IBRO celebrated its 50th anniversary at the 8th World Congress in Florence, Italy, in 2011.