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May 17, 2018

HBP to hold international conference on consciousness research

In June, the European Human Brain Project (HBP) invites scientists, physicians, philosophers and students to join the project’s first large international conference devoted to the understanding of consciousness. The conference will focus on fundamentals and theory, experimental studies, computational models, and clinical-societal implications of consciousness research. This is the first in a series of large, HBP international conference and will take place in central Barcelona on June 21-22, 2018.

Press Release 17 May 2018

How does our subjective experience emerge from the brain? How does consciousness relate to the physical world? These age-old, deep questions are now at last being addressed directly and broadly by neuroscience and will become crucial in the decades to come.

Where does consciousness arise? Where is the boundary between insentient matter and a spark of subjectivity? The spectrum of consciousness-related conundrums is rapidly expanding: we are saving islands of human brain from devastating injuries, growing cerebral organoids in a vat, and building intelligent machines that perform faster and better than any healthy subject.

Society needs to be scientifically and culturally prepared to face these emerging questions. To do so, an approach with the broadest scope is needed: diverse theoretical frameworks, brain anatomy, physiology, and chemistry across scales and species, detailed and large-scale computer simulations, deep learning, neuromorphic computing, robotics, clinical neurology, anaesthesiology, psychology, behavioural, computational, and philosophical analysis must interact and blend on a single infrastructure.

In the European Human Brain Project, a number of teams work together on consciousness and related questions, connecting neuroscience, philosophy, and technology. At the conference this research will be presented and discussed, along with presentations by world-leading scholars from outside the project, like Karl Friston, David Chalmers, Ned Block, Rodolfo Llinas, Wolf Singer, Emery Brown and Olaf Blanke.

More information and registration details can be found on the conference website.


Professor Johan F. Storm, MD, PhD
Section for Physiology, Dpt. Molecular Medicine, IMB, University of Oslo