News :: News & video: Human Brain Project (HBP) Flagship kick-off meeting, Lausanne, 6-10 October 2013
News & video: Human Brain Project (HBP) Flagship kick-off meeting, Lausanne, 6-10 October 2013
© EPFL/Alain Herzog
(05/12/2013) From 7th to 11th October more than 250 scientists, from 135 research groups distributed across 81 research organizations in 22 countries, gathered in Lausanne, Switzerland for the Human Brain Project kick-off meeting. The programme included the first meeting of the HBP General Assembly, an international media event, an open-doors poster session for students, researchers, journalists and members of the general public, and a special dinner to celebrate the start of the HBP's 10-year enterprise.
The media impact of the event was been very strong. It included, for example, a report at BBC World News, the Washington post, Foxnews, Arab news, Austrian tribune, Swiss TV &Radio, reaching hundreds of million potential listeners all over the world.
The event was the occasion for the coordinating institution, EPFL, to confirm its support at the highest level; the president ad interim opened the meeting and was present at the international media event. For the Commission, Zoran Stancic, DG CNECT Deputy Director General, congratulated the project but also insisted on the high expectations created.
The project goals are extremely ambitious, but the solid background of work already done was convincingly presented. HBP gathers an amazing team of researchers, with very strong leaders in each of the sub-projects, three co-directors and Henry Markham as the coordinator.
HBP has reaffirmed that it is very keen on collaborating with the EC and EU Member States to establish a truly European research program aligning efforts and seeking effective use of the public funding devoted to related research in Europe. FLAG-ERA, the ERA-NET that will organise the support of Member States to the FET Flagships, was represented and very active at the kick-off.
The collaboration with the larger research community was also a key message during the event; HBP is open and modest in asking for collaboration, listening and being inclusive. HBP does not want to be a closed club. On the contrary, HBP strive to be a global collaborative and open effort; researchers, medical doctors, engineers, from and outside the project, will be able to access the data and models developed by the project through web-based tools. Henry Markram made it very clear they will adopt openness in data, models and papers. This means publish in open journals with their data and models.
The presence of newly recruited key people for the management, outreach, web page and external program office demonstrates the importance HBP puts in communicating about what is being done. HBP has recruited professional communications and a chief relations officer and will also set up an open office in Brussels.
The global dimension of the project was also very present: collaboration between HBP and the US BRAIN initiative is at the top of the project's agenda. They are also open for collaboration with China and Japan.