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Human Brain Project funded - 1 billion euros to map the human brain

King's College London is part of an international consortium of scientists who have today been awarded a grant of over one billion euros, over ten years, to simulate 'everything we know about the human brain' in supercomputers.

The Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine at King's is a partner in the Human Brain Project (HBP), a venture that brings together dozens of groups of neuroscientists from many countries in Europe, alongside partners in the USA, Canada, Israel and China. Led by Henry Markram of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at Lausanne, the aim is to simulate the human brain in a supercomputer, stimulating the development of neuromorphic computing and facilitating medical advances in brain disorders and treatments.

Nikolas Rose, Professor of Sociology and Head of the Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine (SSHM) at King's, said: 'This tremendously exciting project, involving leading neuroscientists from across Europe, promises to transform our ability to understand the human brain and to link basic research with new understandings and treatments of diseases and disorders of the brain.

'It is very exciting for social scientists to be involved from the outset, helping embed responsible research and innovation into the project and exploring the social implications of the HBP as it progresses. We are greatly looking forward to the hard work over the next years to turn this idea into a reality.'

The Department at King's will receive around 0.5 million in the so called 'ramp-up phase' the first 30 months to develop a 'Foresight Laboratory' which will undertake a systematic foresight initiative, using a spectrum of research methods, to provide a series of visions of how the scientific and technological advancement understandings of the human brain achieved via the HBP may impact on our societies over the next 20 years and to feed these back into the work of the HBP.

SSHM is a partner in the Social and Ethical Division of the HBP which is led from the Pasteur Institute in Paris by Professor Jean-Pierre Changeux. The division will be allocated around 2.5 million over this ramp up period, spread across six work packages.

The HBP is one of the two 'Future and Emerging Technology Projects' selected by the European Commission from a shortlist of six projects. The Future and Emerging Technologies Flagship competition was launched in 2009 as a challenge to apply information and communication technologies to social problems.

Contact: Katherine Barnes
King's College London

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