Human Brain Project Awaiting February 2013 EU decision on 1 billion euro funding

The Blue Brain Project (BBP) and the Human Brain Project (HBP) are unique projects that overlap in some clear ways. This is not to say that the HBP will be a mere extension of the BBP but rather that the proposed HBP will be a large-scale project offering a solid opportunity to coordinate the work of around 150 international scientific groups (of which BBP will be just one) towards a unifying goal.

What is the HBP?

The HBP is a European Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) Flagship candidate, which means that it is one of six pilot projects that were launched to ‘compete’ to become full-scale FET Flagship initiatives.

The decision on which two pilot projects will be selected is to be announced in February 2013 by the EU Commission but until then, these pilots remain in the ‘proposal’ phase i.e. scientists are working on the final proposal for the HBP but the actual project start is subject to the EU decision.

The HBP’s main goal is to lay the technical foundations for a new era of ICT-based human brain research – it will catalyze a global effort to integrate knowledge and data from different disciplines to achieve a better understanding of the human brain, novel treatments for brain disease and inspiring new brain-like computing technologies. It is proposed to be a massive ICT-accelerated research project that will be characterized by three research agendas in fields of neuroscience, medical informatics and future computing.

The proposed HBP will comprise approximately more than 250 leading scientists representing 24 countries worldwide. The sheer scope of the proposed HBP exceeds that of the BBP many times over. The HBP will be a multi-institutional endeavor while the BBP is essentially a Swiss-led project.

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