Short Overview of the Human Brain Project

The Human Brain Project (HBP) is one of the three FET (Future and Emerging Technology) Flagship projects. Started in 2013, it is one of the largest research projects in the world . More than 500 scientists and engineers at over than 140 universities, teaching hospitals, and research centres across Europe come together to address one of the most challenging research targets – the human brain.

To tame brain complexity, the project is building a research infrastructure to help advance neuroscience, medicine, computing and brain-inspired technologies - EBRAINS. The HBP is developing EBRAINS to create lasting research platforms that benefit the wider community.

The HBP provides a framework where teams of researchers and technologists work together to scale up ambitious ideas from the lab, explore the different aspects of brain organisation, and understand the mechanisms behind cognition, learning, or plasticity.

Scientists in the HBP conduct targeted experimental studies and develop theories and models to shed light on the human connectome, addressing mechanisms that underlie information processing, from the molecule to cellular signaling and large-scale networks.

The project teams transfer the acquired knowledge to make an impact in health and innovation: Insights from basic research are translated into medical applications, to prepare the ground for new diagnoses and therapies. Discoveries about learning and brain plasticity mechanisms are used to inspire technologic progress, e.g., in artificial intelligence. In addition, the project studies the ethical and societal implications of the advancement of neuroscience and related fields.

In its final phase (April 2020 – March 2023) the HBP’s focus is to advance three core scientific areas – brain networks, their role in consciousness, and artificial neural nets – while further expanding EBRAINS.

Currently transitioning into a sustainable infrastructure, EBRAINS will remain available to the scientific community, as a lasting contribution of the HBP to global scientific progress.

Discover EBRAINS

Access the EBRAINS Services

The HBP’s Core Project is organised in six cross-disciplinary, highly integrated science and infrastructure Work Packages (WPs), and three Work Packages of overarching activities:

  • WP1: The human multiscale brain connectome and its variability – from synapses to large-scale networks and function
  • WP2: Networks underlying brain cognition and consciousness
  • WP3: Adaptive networks for cognitive architectures: from advanced learning to neurorobotics and neuromorphic applications
  • WP4: EBRAINS Data Services
  • WP5: EBRAINS Modelling Services
  • WP6: EBRAINS Computing Services
  • WP7: Management and Coordination
  • WP8: Communication, Outreach and Exploitation
  • WP9: Responsible Research and Innovation

Read detailed Work Package descriptions here.

Read information on Governance here.

General queries:



Related videos


The HBP Summit and Open Day in Athens, February 2020.

Animated video which gives an overview of the EBRAINS Research Infrastructure.

The first episode of the 'Brain Matters' webinar series which explores the various issues being tackled by the HBP scientific community.