Human Brain Project: 600 million euros worth of neuronal research comes to an end

In September 2023, the European Union (EU) will stop funding the region’s most important research project on the human brain. After an investment of 600 million euros, the involvement of 500 scientists and a decade of development, the legacy The Human Brain Project (HBP) has a mixed opinion. On the one hand, he managed to create an unprecedented neural map; on the other hand, he faces serious accusations of mismanagement and lack of vision from the start.

In 2013, the EU created Excellence in Research Award encourage sustainable scientific funding and support technology leadership. The two projects have won an investment of one billion euros over 10 years. Research on graphene, a new material at that time, and the Human Brain project were chosen. After some government inflationary adjustments, the premium was reduced to 607 million euros, paid in four installments.

“The Human Brain Project will create the world’s largest experimental facility to develop the most detailed model of the brain, study how the human brain works, and ultimately develop personalized treatments for neurological and related diseases,” the statement said. the news took place.

The leader of the HBP, neuroscientist Henry Markram, had more ambitious intentions. By promising to create a digital copy of the brain in just ten years, he received the government’s trust and money. From the very beginning, the specialized scientific community was skeptical. According to the researchers, the approach was biased from the start. Neuroscience could not be limited to brain mapping. Diversity is needed in investigations.

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Three years after the start of HBP, 150 neuroscientists rebelled. They did not agree that there were only 3 people in the executive committee. The resources provided by the EU were second to none and the budget was too large for a small group to manage. The refusal to commit resources to investigations that were far from Macram’s vision was the spark that ignited the conflict. In a protest letter sent to the European Commission, they demanded a change of representatives and the creation of additional balances on the HBP board of directors. The effort paid off and the original committee was dissolved.

Nevertheless, Markram’s plan remained in place. Lacking a better idea and consensus among the neuroscience community, the Human Brain Project devoted its efforts to creating combining brain models. In the leader’s view, the investigations around this body would escalate with or without the EU budget, but the fundamental issue that needed to be addressed was organization. data storage, software unifying and Hardware necessary to carry out the information were a priority.

6 specialized operational platforms have been created, covering areas such as brain modeling, high-performance analytics, and neurorobotics. Branches united as the era progressed. Everything would lead to a new neurobiological theory. They never made it, and eventually the budget dried up.

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