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Foresight Lab: Workshop at Brocher

Posted on 26/06/2015
Fondation-Brocher

On June 11-13th Foresight Lab at King’s College London (Prof Nikolas Rose, Christine Aicardi, Michael Reinsborough, Tara Mahfoud, Paola Bello) in collaboration with Andrew Davison (UNIC Lab of CNRS, HBP) and Jeff Muller (Blue Brain Project, EPFL) organised a workshop at the Foundation Brocher, Hermance, Switzerland:  “Building a Neuroscience Community: community modelling and data repositories”

The purpose of the workshop was to support the growth of collaborative neuroscience with a specific focus on computer modelling communities. The intention was to give these communities an opportunity to shape the future work of HBP platform developers and to build collaborations in directions beneficial to neuroscience.

At present there is considerable fragmentation of models and approaches. Yet at the same time, there are a number of initiatives, outside the HBP, which are trying to build consensus. The challenge then is to bring those various endeavours together. 

During the workshop we tried to develop a practical strategy for community building around brain models research; to build a roadmap for integrating the tools that this requires; and to clarify the role of the HBP and the platforms that it is developing such that they can provide the best possible and most appropriate services for the neuroscience community.

Presentations were given by various Sub-Projects of the Human Brain Project; representatives of other brain initiatives (Open Source Brain, Open Worm, the Virtual Brain project) and data repository projects (G-Node, CARMEN, NeuroElectro); as well as researchers from different disciplinary backgrounds (sociology, information system, law). 

The workshop’s overall aim was community building, taking as its main focus the practices and mechanisms for collaboration and integration, with the view to developing a concrete ‘action plan’ and 'roadmap' for tackling the various social, technological and scientific challenges that this poses.

The workshop drew on evidence from previous interdisciplinary collaborations that highlighted the question of trust - how to build and maintain it - as key to successful collaborations, and all agreed that this would be crucial to enable the HBP proposed infrastructure to foster such multidisciplinary collaborations.

The workshop contributes to on-going development of greater cooperation between members of several computer modelling communities at a time when computational neuroscience has real potential to offer tools and resource to the greater neuroscience community. The results of the meeting will feed into the Future Neuroscience Foresight Report being prepared by the KCL Foresight Lab as a deliverable to the European Commission. 


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