April is a busy month for the Future and Emerging Technologies Flagships with many important milestones: Partnering kick-off events, seminars, HPB platform release, a new web portal and the start of Graphene Phase 2!

The streak of good news began on the 30th of March when the Human Brain Project consortium released the first version of its six ICT Platforms. Designed to accelerate progress in neuroscience, medicine and computing, these ICT platforms consist of hardware and software tools, databases and programming interfaces. They focus on Neuroinformatics, Brain Simulation, High Performance Computing, Medical Informatics, Neuromorphic Computing, and Neurorobotics. They are centrally accessible via the HBP Collaboratory, a web portal giving guidelines, tutorials and access procedures. We believe that these platforms will strengthen the position of European researchers in international cooperation on neuroscience, benefit European industry and lead to improvements in the health of our citizens.

This marks an important stage in the life of the HBP and signals the end of the 30 months ramp-up phase and the beginning of the operational phase. Over the next few years these platforms will be further developed to become a world-class integrated research infrastructure for neurosciences, brain medicine and future computing. The partnering projects carrying out HBP related research in Member States are well placed to become active users of these platforms and to help steer their further development.

Soon after, on April 1st, the Graphene Flagship started its operational phase under Horizon 2020. In this next phase Graphene will involve a wider range of industry sectors and focus more on advancing Technology Readiness Levels and innovation. The research teams in the Core and the Partnering Projects will ensure a comprehensive coverage of the updated Graphene Science and Technology Roadmap.

This week, the Partnering Kick-off Seminar organised by the FLAG-ERA Consortium is taking place in Budapest. This seminar marks the opening of a new chapter in the implementation of the Human Brain Project (HBP) and Graphene FET Flagships. It brings together for the first time, the 19 projects that have been selected through the first FLAG-ERA Joint Transnational Call and which are now joining the two Flagships as Partnering Projects. Partnering is a cornerstone of the FET Flagship model, bringing together in a coherent way research activities funded by the Commission (the "Core Project") and by the Member States (the "Partnering Projects").

A very interesting one-day community building event, HBP Young Researchers Event, preceded the Kick- off Seminar. Its goal is to train a new generation of young scientists to collaborate with each other using simulation tools that are provided by the HBP platforms.

I congratulate the two FET Flagships and FLAG-ERA on passing these significant milestones and wish them a successful continuation of their voyage.