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EC 'confident' in human brain project

RATE THIS! +41
Posted in Science on 19th Jul, 2014 12:20 AM by AlexMuller

The European Commission has responded to criticism of its billion-euro Human Brain Project, declaring confidence that objections will be satisfied. The statement defends the ability of the project to set its own scope, which critics have said is too narrow. It says new recommendations for management of the HBP and the balance between its core and partner projects are expected in September.

 
Critics cautiously welcomed the reply. Under the heading "no single roadmap for understanding the human brain", Robert Madelin (the relevant director-general within the EC) responded directly to last week's open letter. "As a public funding agency, we take all such signals seriously," he wrote. "We welcome debate."
 
Responding to the concern that the HBP concentrates too exclusively on simulations of the brain, Mr Madelin stated, "The exact scope of the project is a matter for the project itself." He also addressed the sidelining of cognitive neuroscientists, who study the brain from a more "top-down", function-based perspective than the "bottom-up" cell and network modelling that is at the heart of the HBP.
 
This type of work was recently "repositioned" outside the core of the project. As part of a review of the project's Framework Partnership Agreement, a necessary hurdle to unlock funding from within Horizon 2020, the EC statement suggested there will be recommendations on "the balance between the core project and a number of partnering projects" - presumably including cognitive work.

Tags: BrainHuman Brain Projectneurosciencesimulation

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-07-19
+2
HBP is indeed a big investment for EU and definitely an area of research that needs investment. Debate about the scientific proposal is important to ensure that the most important and appropriate questions and methodologies are covered and it is good that this debate is ongoing Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-07-19
+2
I think that an open letter/message, signed by over 600 researchers, that said the HBP was "not on course", and demanding a review can not be ignored Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-07-19
+1
For HBP to be "CERN for the brain" project, very strict review process by independent scientists is the key. It seems that such review will be implemented Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-07-19
+2
At present the main aims of HBP is to develop new computing technology in order to compile data on brain cells and networks, and turn that data into useful simulations. The BRAIN Initiative in the US, another multi million dollar project that focuses on new tools for mapping brain connections, rather than simulating activity. I think that both topics are important Reply


 

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