HUMAN BRAIN PROJECT funded by the EC as flagship project in the FET competition

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The European Commission today announced the winners of a multi-billion euro competition of Future and Emerging Technologies (FET). The winning Graphene and Human Brain initiatives are set to receive one billion euros each, to deliver 10 years of world-beating science at the crossroads of science and technology. Each initiative involves researchers from at least 15 EU Member States and nearly 200 research institutes.

The "Human Brain Project", coordinated by the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale of Lausanne, will create the world's largest experimental facility for developing the most detailed model of the brain, for studying how the human brain works and ultimately to develop personalised treatment of neurological and related diseases. This research lays the scientific and technical foundations for medical progress that has the potential to will dramatically improve the quality of life for millions of Europeans.

The partnership is made up of 90 research centers worldwide. Among those Cineca, University of Florence with the LENS Laboratory (Laboratorio Europeo di Spettroscopia Non lineare), Politecnico of Torino, University of Pavia represent the committment of Italy in this outstanding challenging initiative.

In particular, Cineca will contribute to the realisation of the HBP HPC platform, providing one of the four advanced supercomputing  systems  planned:  the  HBP supercomputer for massive data analytics.  The  aim of the Cineca task  is  to implement and operate a data-centric HPC facility providing efficient storage, processing and management of large volumes of data generated by the HBP.  The task will begin by collecting and analysing HBP requirements, installing software tools and providing service based on ad hoc service policies. It will then go on to finalise the specification for the data analytics platform to be developed in the second phase of the project.

European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said: "Europe's position as a knowledge superpower depends on thinking the unthinkable and exploiting the best ideas. This multi-billion competition rewards home-grown scientific breakthroughs and shows that when we are ambitious we can develop the best research in Europe. To keep Europe competitive, to keep Europe as the home of scientific excellence, EU governments must agree an ambitious budget for the Horizon 2020 programme in the coming weeks."

The European Commission will support the "Human Brain Project" as FET "flagship" over 10 years with 1 Billion euro through its research and innovation funding programmes. Sustained funding for the full duration of the project will come from the EU's research framework programmes, principally from the Horizon 2020 programme (2014-2020) which is currently negotiated in the European Parliament and Council.

The future of computing and science will be driven by collaboration. The FET flagships programme is a world-leading effort to ride this wave. The flagship race has fostered collaboration on a new scale and duration. Instead of the usual two-to-four year funding cycles, the 10 year duration and the massive financial incentive has driven the level of science in the project proposals to a much higher level, which will deliver greater benefits to Europe over the long-term, including new technologies and faster innovation.