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King's College London - Human Brain Project

THE HUMAN BRAIN PROJECT: THE FORESIGHT LAB

Principal applicant and grant holder: Professor Nikolas Rose (as part of the HBP consortium) 

Co-applicants: Dr Claire Marris

Research Associates: Dr Christine Aicardi, Dr Michael Reinsborough

Funding:  European Commission (FP7)

Funding period: October 2013 – March 2016 – initial ‘ramp up’ phase of ten year research programme

Award: 400,000 euros (approx.) for the initial ‘ramp-up’ phase (30 months)

Project Information: 

Background

The human brain is one of the greatest challenges facing 21st century science. If we can rise to the challenge, we can gain profound insights into what makes us human, develop new treatments for brain disease and build revolutionary new computing technologies. Today, for the first time, modern ICT has brought these goals within sight. The Human Brain Project is a ten-year project, consisting of a thirty month ramp -up phase, funded under FP7, with support from a special flagship ERANET, and a ninety-month operational phase, to be funded under Horizon 2020. The project, which will have a total budget of over Euro 1 billion, is European led with a strong element of international cooperation. The goal of the project is to build a completely new ICT infrastructure for neuroscience, and for brain related research in medicine and computing catalysing a global collaborative effort to understand the human brain and its diseases and ultimately to emulate its computational capabilities. 

A 10-year European initiative to understand the human brain enabling advances in neuroscience, medicine and future computing. A consortium of 250+ Scientists, 135 Research Groups, from over 80 institutions, and more than 20 countries in Europe and beyond.       

The research

Our work in  The Human Brain Project will be to identify and evaluate the potential impact of the new knowledge and technologies produced by the HBP, in terms of benefits to European citizens, European industry, the European economy and European society.  

We will establish a Foresight Lab to conduct systematic foresight exercises to identify and evaluate these impacts. We will adapt and develop established foresight methods already in use in different areas of medicine and ICT, including modelling, horizon scanning and scenario planning. The use of these methods will entail recurrent consultations with researchers, potential industrial and professional users of new technologies, civil society groups, regulators and other stakeholders. The results, which will take the form of public Foresight Reports, will be widely disseminated, both within the HBP, and to public audiences, encouraging on-going reflection on the work of the project and the ethics of responsible innovation. Consulting systematically with researchers, potential users of new technologies, civil society groups, regulators and other stakeholders, the lab will develop a set of social and economic scenarios, which will serve as frameworks for evaluating the possible consequences of the HBP on different areas of society. The scenarios, with five, ten, and twenty years time horizons, will consider possible impacts in industry, employment, the health services, the legal system, education, the military and police, the media, leisure and consumer culture, psychiatry and self-help. Developments in these areas will be monitored over the course of the HBP, and actual impacts will be fed back into Foresight models to increase accuracy and enable real-time technology assessment. The results will be disseminated to researchers throughout the HBP, and debated by the HBP board, WP leaders and researchers. These discussions will help to fine-tune HBP research, increasing awareness of potential risks, helping to manage these risks and maximising clinical, industrial and social benefits.

More information on the project.

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