|The European Commission has selected the two research proposals it will fund to the tune of half-a-billion euros ($650 million U.S.) each, after a two-year, high-profile contest. The Human Brain Project, led by neuroscientist Henry Markram at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne, plans to simulate the human brain in a supercomputer; and Graphene will develop the potential of the nanotechnology in the carbon-based nano-material.|
It looks like we will have to wait a few more years for those robot companions.
The Human Brain Project, led by neuroscientist Dr Henry Markram at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne, plans to simulate everything known about the human brain in a supercomputer. The project represents a continuation of Markram's Blue Brain project.
The second funded project, called Graphene, is led by theoretical physicist Jari Kinaret at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. It will develop the potential of graphene — an ultrathin, flexible and conducting form of carbon — along with related materials for applications in computing, batteries and sensors.
The projects expect to receive €1 billion over ten years, half to be provided by the European Commission and half by participants. The commission will make its formal announcement on Monday, 28 January.
The FET Flagship competition was launched in 2009 as a challenge to apply information and communication technologies to social problems. The Human Brain Project claims that it will aid medical advancement in brain disorders. Graphene claims it will lead to development of new materials that will revolutionize diverse industries.
Subsequent phases will be supported under its successor programme, Horizon 2020, though the structure of that programme is still being negotiated and some observers fear that funds may be scaled back in the wake of the economic recession.
A formal press conference is planned for the 28th January, to announce the results of the evaluation of the Flagship proposals (European Commission headquarters Brussels, around 11:30). Most likely it will be broadcast via the EU's online news station.
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