Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained arrhythmia in the general population. As an age-related arrhythmia AF is becoming a huge socio-economic burden for European healthcare systems. Despite significant progress in our understanding of the pathophysiology of AF, therapeutic strategies for AF have not changed substantially and the major challenges in the management of AF are still unmet. This lack of progress may be related to the multifactorial pathogenesis of atrial remodelling and AF that hampers the identification of causative pathophysiological alterations in individual patients. Also, again new mechanisms have been identified and the relative contribution of these mechanisms still has to be established. In November 2010, the European Union launched the large collaborative project EUTRAF (European Network of Translational Research in Atrial Fibrillation) to address these challenges. The main aims of EUTRAF are to study the main mechanisms of initiation and perpetuation of AF, to identify the molecular alterations underlying atrial remodelling, to develop markers allowing to monitor this processes, and suggest strategies to treat AF based on insights in newly defined disease mechanisms. This article reports on the objectives, the structure, and initial results of this network.