Human Brain Project: the role of cognitive neuroscience still up in the air

The European Commission (EC) issued, on July 18th, a reply to the Open Letter submitted, on July 7th, by a group of concerned neuroscientists. The reply can be found here. The future role of cognitive neuroscience in the project is still unclear. There are promises to address “the most effective integration of the cognitive neuroscience community in HBP’s activities.”

I have just been sent a press release for immediate distribution from some of the signatories of the Open Letter. “We are very encouraged to hear that the EC is willing to take notice of the overwhelming concern in the neuroscience community evident in the signatories to the open letter. The suggestion that the ring-fenced budget will not be unlocked unless there is a satisfactory approach to the issues raised is most welcome, but needs to be accompanied by an open and transparent mechanism for ensuring that the approach is indeed satisfactory. We therefore need to understand how the independent evaluation mentioned in the EU’s message will meet the simple and obvious standards for the review that we raised. We expect a true two-way dialogue involving formal engagement by the EC with neuroscientists of all stripes, not only within, but also outside the HBP. The agenda for tackling the enormous challenges of understanding the human brain must be an inclusive one.”

Media contacts: Zachary Mainen, Alexandre Pouget, Peter Dayan

A BBC News report is here.

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