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Brussels, 20 March 2014
The Human Brain Project just got bigger
One of the biggest EU-funded initiatives, the Human Brain Project (HBP), today announced the beneficiaries of its €8.3 million competitive call for new partners. 32 organisations from 13 countries – Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and the UK – will join the partnership. This represents a 40% increase in the number of partners in the HBP consortium.
The HBP @HumanBrainProj began in October 2013 with the aim of creating the world's largest experimental facility for ground-breaking research into the structure and functions of the human brain; the causes, diagnosis and treatment of brain diseases; and the development of new computing technologies such as low energy, brain-like computing systems. This research has the potential to improve dramatically the quality of life for millions of Europeans and to boost Europe's role in this key scientific field. The HBP budget of €1 billion is to be funded by the EU, Member States and other sources.
The new partners will carry out specific research tasks collecting data, developing theoretical frameworks and performing the technical development work necessary for the future development of the 6 ICT platforms of the HBP.
Vice-President of the European Commission @NeelieKroesEU, responsible for the Digital Agenda, welcomed the opening of the partnership: "The brain is a fascinating thing. Digital tools enable us to make huge progress in understanding the brain, but also to learn from it: from better treatment of brain diseases, to building the next generation of supercomputers. This is the challenge for our time and an investment in the future. I am delighted that we are putting out heads together with more partners – the more brain cells working in this area the better!"
Henry Markram, Professor of Neuroscience at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, and the Coordinator of the HBP said: "The competitive call generated a fantastic response. Researchers across Europe recognise that the HBP is making science more collaborative and they all want to be part of it. We owe a big debt of gratitude to all those who came forward with proposals and to the nearly 200 independent, expert reviewers who helped us to run the evaluation process. We received many excellent proposals. As a result of the competitive call, the HBP will become a bigger and more capable partnership."
The call attracted a total of 350 eligible proposals which included 561 organisations from 36 countries. From the eligible proposals, 22 projects proposed by 32 organisations were selected for the available €8.3 million.
The Human Brain Project is part of the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) Flagships @FETFlagships announced by the European Commission in January 2013 (press release). The goal of the FET Flagships programme is to encourage visionary research with the potential to deliver breakthroughs and major benefits for European society and industry. FET Flagships are highly ambitious initiatives involving close collaboration with national and regional funding agencies, industry and partners from outside the European Union.
Research in the next generation of technologies is key for Europe’s competitiveness. This is why €2.7 billion will be invested in Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) under the new research programme Horizon 2020 #H2020 (2014-2020). This represents a nearly threefold increase in budget compared to the previous research programme, FP7. FET actions are part of the Excellent science pillar of Horizon 2020.
The invited projects and organisations are listed below
Austria: Institute of Science and Technology Austria
Belgium: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Cyprus: Edex-Educational Excellence Corporation Ltd
Finland: Helsingin yliopisto; TTY-SAATIO
France: Université d’Aix Marseille; Université Joseph Fourier Grenoble 1; Université Lyon 1 Claude Bernard; Université Pierre et Marie Curie - Paris 6
Germany: Stiftung FZI Forschungszentrum Informatik am Karlsruher Institut fur Technologie; Universitaet Bielefeld; Universitätsklinik um Hamburg- Eppendorf
Israel: The Foundation for Medical Research Infrastructural Development and Health Services next to the Medical Center Tel Aviv
Italy: Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche; European Brain Research Institute Rita Levi - Montalcini Fondazione; Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa; Scuola Superiore di Studi Universitari e di Perfezionamento Sant’Anna
Netherlands: Academisch Ziekenhuis Leiden – Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum; Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen – Knaw; Synaptologics BV; Universiteit Maastricht; Universiteit van Amsterdam
Slovenia: Institut Jozef Stefan
Spain: Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas; Universidad de Castilla – La Mancha
Switzerland: Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics; Universitaet Basel
United Kingdom : Middlesex University Higher Education Corporation; Synome Ltd; University of Leeds; University of Surrey; University of Sussex