HBP Exhibition European Parliament

European Parliament HBP Exhibition – A new era of Big Neuroscience

29-30 November 2016, Brussels, Belgium

Many HBP researchers, engineers and scientists presented their research and major achievements in an exhibition which took place at Balcony 5G of the European Parliament in Brussels on 29-30 November 2016. The exhibition was caried out in conjunction with the workshop "understanding the Human Brain: A new era of Big Neuroscience" organised by the Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) project of the European Parliament (see more details below).

The exhibition was designed to highlight the unique contributions the Project is making to brain research and how these contributions are beneficial for European science, competitiveness and society.

Different aspects of the Project were highlighted, such as a 3D explorer showing the effects of Alzheimer's disease on the brain, and various techniques to explore and visualise brain structures. The Collaboratory, which acts as the entry point for the HBP Research Infrastructure, was also presented along with other physical examples of neuromorphic micro-chips and silicon wafers. Smart robots showing brain-inspired models such as Roboy and the MiRo project were represented, and the HBP's Education Programme and the Ethics and Society components were also highlighted.

Nine Members of the European Parliament, as well as representatives from the European Commission, DG CONNECT and the Swiss Embassy visited the exhibition. These included Ruxandra Draghia-Akli (DG Research & Innovation at the European Commission), Thomas Skordas (Acting Director of the Digital Excellence and Science Infrastructure Directorate in DG CONNECT) and Mauro Dell'Ambrogio (Swiss State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation).

The HBP scientists explained the complexities and challenges of the Project in a clear and understandable manner. This high level of engagement proved to be a significant bonus in generating interest in the Project.

Take a glance at the exhibition through the video "Robots in the European Parliament" by Marc-Oliver Gewaltig.





European Parliament STOA workshop – Understanding the Human Brain: A new era of Big Neuroscience

29 November 2016, Brussels, Belgium

The Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) project of the European Parliament organised a workshop titled "Understanding the Human Brain: A new era of Big Neuroscience", which took place at the European Parliament in Brussels on 29 November. This event brought together high level delegates of the European Commission and the European Parliament, as well as high level scientists and policy makers.

STOA was honoured to have Katrin Amunts, Scientific Research Director and Chair of the Science and Infrastructure Board of the Human Brain Project, participate in the workshop panel discussions as a keynote speaker. Other representatives of major brain initiatives such as Walter Koroshetz from the US Brain Initiative and Tetsuo Yamamori for the Japanese BRAIN / MINDS project also took part.

Roberto Viola, Director General of DG CONNECT and strong supporter of the research on the human brain, also made a significant contribution to the workshop. He believes it is absolutely crucial to boost this research in order to discover ways to treat and even prevent neurological disorders, which affect over 1 billion people worldwide. Read Roberto Viola's full workshop feedback in his European Commission blog post, "A Fantastic Voyage ahead to understand the human Brain".

The workshop not only stressed the complementarities of the three initiatives, but also highlighted the significance of international cooperation. This global effort is essential to increase the scale and speed with which neuroscientific discoveries are being made worldwide in order to benefit society as a whole.

Another crucial aspect of the workshop was to showcase the importance of the Research Infrastructure the Human Brain Project is currently developing. This cloud-based infrastructure will allow aggregation of data, knowledge and best practices. It will also facilitate big data analysis, simulation, visualisation and verification in a collaborative virtual platform open to all researchers.

For a more detailed understanding of the three brain initiatives, as well as other initiatives in China, Australia, Canada and South Korea, please read the recent issue of Neuron dedicated to the future of global neuroscience, published on 2 November 2016.