Innovation In The Human Brain Project



Guillermo Velasco

Bryan Strange

Bárbara Gasset

After ten years of intense research and innovation work, the HBP has achieved conceptual breakthroughs in neuroscience and computing, and developed new and impactful hardware, software, services, models, and datasets.  Most of these outputs are already being shared with the scientific community and others have started their commercial exploitation.

The principal result of HBP has been the creation of the new digital research infrastructure EBRAINS which will facilitate future studies of the human brain, enhance neuroscience research, and support the realization of innovative and practical solutions to prevent, diagnose and treat brain-related diseases.

The HBP has created more than 160 technological tools, including component middleware solutions that guarantee a reliable and technically sustainable functioning of the infrastructure. Almost 100 hundred patents have been filed, and 12 patents have already been granted.

During the HBP the entrepreneurship spirit has also flourished. With the support of the HBP Innovation team, the project has witnessed the birth of 12 start-ups, and other four companies are planned. More than 40 dialogues with industrial firms have also been established to identify ways of research-industry collaboration. 

Exploitation Metric


Developed tools (including middleware)


Main exploitable tools (scientific/data/medical/technological/social)

65 (13/14/13/25/2)

Patents filed


Patents awarded


Start-ups created


Start-ups planned but not yet created


Industrial cooperations



Such exploitation and innovation performance would have not been possible without the devoted and collaborative work of the different HBP scientific groups and the HBP Innovation team. Since the HBP has had a very strong scientific focus, clearly dominated by fundamental research, this innovation motivation and efforts are especially valuable. 

The HBP Innovation team - drawing on existing expertise of the HBP partner Universidad Politécnica de Madrid - has worked transversally to help HBP scientists in planning and optimising the exploitation of their mature results. This substantial support contributed to the construction of the infrastructure and the translation of the most prominent scientific results into marketable end-user applications.

In particular, the HBP Innovation team has helped individual researchers and groups to prepare and update Exploitation Plans for their results with potential practical applications. The team has also worked with scientists to produce comprehensive Market Analysis studies for different HBP activity areas and Market Roadmaps for the most promising solutions. This “area-specific” support has been accompanied by broader-based activities to encourage a culture of innovation amongst HBP participants. The Innovation team has provided Innovation Training Courses, covering innovation management, fundraising, maturity assessment, technology transfer and related topics, to more than 160 HBP scientists. The team also produced an Innovation Newsletter and organised two editions of HBP Innovation Awards to recognise research teams producing particularly innovative results.

The HBP Innovation team has also helped to strengthen industrial engagement. It organised a Fundraising Bootcamp for Start-Ups, attended by HBP scientist-entrepreneurs, business angels and venture capital institutions from Europe and the USA, and the European Innovation Council. The team has also engaged with start-ups and SMEs in different European countries, pointing them towards HBP technologies and EBRAINS services. It produced a European Innovation Report on the role of neurotech-based start-ups, with around 250 European firms identified, which paved the way for organising a series of Solution Workshops. These facilitated interaction between start-ups and HBP researchers, to explore together opportunities for cooperation in Neuroimaging, Neurostimulation, Genetics and Biomarkers, Neuropharma, and Neurorobotics. The team also organised meetings with 60+ brain stakeholders in Spain, Belgium, and France, including companies and trade associations, and helped shape HBP Open Calls for industrial engagement and application of cognitive architectures to address AI challenges, which brought 8 SMEs into the HBP.

Activities developed by the HBP Innovation team


Exploitation plans


Market analysis


Innovation Training Courses


Innovation newsletter


Innovation awards


Fundraising bootcamp


Solution workshops


Open calls