The Human Brain Project 2020 Open Day

On 3 February, the Human Brain Project (HBP) held its annual Open Day at Megaron International Conference Centre in Athens, Greece. The Open Day is the biggest annual outreach event of the HBP and presents the latest developments in neuroscience, computing, and related research infrastructures.

In 2013, the European Commission launched 10 years long FET Flagship project which have taken up the challenge to create computer simulation of human brain. The project should answer fundamental questions how does the brain process thoughts and memories, interpret our senses and what happens when it goes wrong?

According to HBP Scientific Director Katrin Amunts the project aims at building a scientific research infrastructure creating synergies between neuroscience, medicine and modern information technology. “EBRAINS is our approach to empower neuroscience to compute the brain,” said Amunts.

President Pavlopoulos addressing the HBP Open Day

The Open Day took place under the auspices of his Excellency the President of the Hellenic Republic Mr. Prokopios Pavlopoulos. Over 800 registered participants applauded to the President, who delivered not only a welcoming address, but a comprehensive and engaged speech. He touched the different aspects of human brain studies from ancient times to presence. “Artificial intelligence will bring breakthroughs in understanding human brain,” said President Pavlopoulos.

Hundreds of visitors gathered during the Open Day to see the latest developments in modern computing technologies and how it can be applied to develop new diagnostic and therapeutic tools for brain disorders.

Jan Hrušák discussed FAIR data principles

ESFRI Chair Jan Hrušák from the J. Heyrovský Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Czech Academy of Science took part in the session on Research and Data Infrastructures where he talked about research infrastructures having the capability to address the critical interdisciplinary interactions needed to handle upcoming issues and implications e.g. in neuroscience research. Advocated the research infrastructures, data infrastructures, other e/infrastructures and related serviced being part of the larger eco-system, in which research is embedded and can flourish.

 “Research infrastructures produce quality-controlled research data are not only at the core of scientific work of the leading international teams around the world, but they have also developed knowledge and skills by implementing FAIR and open data management principles. They are the best practice examples with very valid experience and are the indispensable element of the European Open science cloud (EOSC) to be built in near future.” said Jan Hrušák.

HBP Summit

The Open Day was followed by the HBP Summit, three-day annual full assembly of the HBP Consortium, which brought together around 500 scientists from 132 universities, teaching hospitals and research centres across Europe.

“Greek partners have a pivotal role in developing the HBP infrastructure, so bringing HBP home is a significant recognition of their contribution and of great symbolic value for empowering the local communities in both neuroscience and informatics,” said host of the HBP Open Day and Summit prof. Yannis Ioannidis.

More information can be found on the HBP Summit & Open Day website.

Text: Vladka Coufalova

Photo: Athena RC