IRB Barcelona, part of the European research flagship "the Human Brain Project"

Simulation of a single neuron ©EPFL/Blue Brain Project

Simulation of a single neuron ©EPFL/Blue Brain Project

  • <p>Simulation of a single neuron ©EPFL/Blue Brain Project</p>
  • <p>Simulation of a single neuron ©EPFL/Blue Brain Project</p>

This morning the EU has announced the two winning projects of the call “Future and Emerging Technologies- Flagship”. Europe will invest 500 million euros in each of these projects over 10 years.

The objective of the Human Brain Project is to apply supercomputation to simulate the complexity of the human brain.

Today the European Union (EU) has announced the names of the two research projects, namely the Human Brain Project (HBP) and Graphene, that will receive the highest funding awarded to academic centers. Each project will receive funding of 500 million euros over ten years, one of the largest awards for research projects in the EU.

IRB Barcelona, a Severo Ochoa center of excellence, is among the 124 reseach organisations involved in the challenge of unraveling how the human brain works. This consortium includes nine participants from Spain, of which four are from Catalonia, among these the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), the University of Barcelona and the Pompeu Fabra University. The participation of IRB Barcelona and the BSC is the result of close collaboration through the Joint Supercomputation Programme headed by Modesto Orozco, IRB Barcelona researcher, full professor of the University of Barcelona and director of the Life Sciences Division of the BSC. Funded by an ERC Advanced Grant through IRB Barcelona and holding an ICREA Academia professorship, Dr. Orozco is a world authority on the computational simulation of biological systems.

The HBP aims to recreate the complexity of the human brain using information and communications technology (ICT). The goal of the Human Brain Project (HBP) is to integrate neuroscience and clinical data from around the world into unifying computer models of the human brain, to simulate the behavior of these models, to develop applications for medicine and future computing, and to make these capabilities available to the world scientific community. According to a study presented in 2010, that year a third of the European population suffered some kind of brain disease, thus causing an economic cost of about 800 billion euros.

The HBP Consortium currently includes partner groups from 22 countries, including all major EU member states as well as Switzerland, the USA, Japan and China. When fully operational, it will employ a science and engineering workforce of approximately 550 people.