Pioneering digital Brain research

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The Human Brain Project (HBP) was a long-term and large-scale research initiative that pioneered digital brain research. It contributed to a deeper understanding of the complex structure and function of the human brain with a unique interdisciplinary approach at the interface of neuroscience and technology. The project brought together neuroscientists, engineers, physicists, statisticians, computer scientists, but also researchers from the wider life sciences and ethics experts, to enhance the understanding of the human brain. HBP scientists employed highly advanced methods from computing, neuroinformatics and artificial intelligence to carry out cutting-edge brain research. The acquired knowledge has been translated into novel applications in medicine and technological advances. Researchers of the HBP also addressed the social and ethical implications arising from brain research and its applications.

Read the brochure  Pioneering Digital Neuroscience: How the 10-year Human Brain Project has transformed brain research



The project was led by Katrin Amunts (Director General).


EBRAINS - powered by the HBP



To facilitate the integration of brain science across disciplines and national borders, the HBP built a research infrastructure called EBRAINS

EBRAINS offers an extensive range of brain data sets, a multilevel brain atlas, modelling and simulation tools, an access to high-performance computing resources and robotics and neuromorphic platforms to researchers. 

In 2021, EBRAINS was added to the ESFRI Roadmap for Research Infrastructures. 

EBRAINS is now transitioning into a sustainable infrastructure that will remain available to the scientific community as a lasting contribution of the Human Brain Project to global scientific progress.

All academic researchers have open access to EBRAINS’ state-of-the-art services.

Project Focus and phases

Focus areas

EBRAINS Service Categories


In its final phase, running from April 2020 to September 2023, the Human Brain Project focused on three core scientific focus areas – brain networks, their role in consciousness and artificial neural networks – as well as on expanding the innovative EBRAINS infrastructure and its tools and services.


During the HBP’s first Specific Grant Agreement (SGA1), the HBP Core Project outlined the basis for building and operating a tightly integrated Research Infrastructure, providing HBP researchers and the scientific community with unique resources and capabilities. Read the report here.


During the HBP's second Specific Grant Agreement (SGA2), the HBP continued to strengthen global brain research efforts by extending coordination with other brain initiatives and projects. Read the report here.


In its final phase, the HBP focused on three main topics: neural networks across different spatial and temporal scales, their significance for consciousness and its disorders and the development of artificial neural networks and neurorobotics. We are strongly supporting open science and continue to build tools, connect workflows and advance EBRAINS technologies that enable sophisticated multi-scale investigations into the brain’s complexity.

The Human Brain Project was one of the largest research projects in Europe and was one of the European Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) Flagships.

It was launched in 2013 for a duration of 10 years. The Human Brain Project and its 123 Partners were co-funded by the European Commission. Total funding including Partner contributions was 607 Mio EUR.

Strategic partnerships


The HBP was also actively involved in major international brain initiatives and projects such as the International Brain Initiative and the European Brain Research Agenda. As such, it contributed to stimulate brain research and coordinated brain research agendas at the European and global levels.