EU neuroscientists express discord….

About the EU’s flagship Human Brain Project, story here. Money quote from the Nature news piece:

The escalating row has dismayed the HBP’s internal and external advisory boards, which had hoped to resolve tensions that, they acknowledge, arose partly from non-transparent management. Sten Grillner, a systems neuroscientist at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and a member of the internal advisory board, says that it is “disappointing” that the issue has exploded so publicly. “I hope it will not be damaging,” he adds.

Transparency is everything when it comes to funding Big Science I think….

Do Swiss moves on immigration put Human Brain Project funding at risk?

As readers may know, last week Switzerland put itself at potential loggerheads with the European Union over the issue of immigration. Switzerland is not a member of the EU, but is very highly integrated with Brussels over a host of issues not the least science R&D support. Here from ScienceInsider is a report that Swiss participation in Horizon 2020 funding may now be at risk. Most neuroscientist readers are aware that the huge Human Brain Project (funded at $1.6B equivalent) receives its support from Horizon 2020. And of course, it’s led by Henry Markram of EPFL (in Switzerland).

Time will tell….

The Human Brain Project…

A brilliant op ed in today’s FT, here from Gary Marcus at NYU. Money quote:

At present, the Human Brain Project seems too tilted towards physical understanding, with too little weight given to functional understanding. Truly understanding the brain will require bridging between the two.

Henry Markram Deconstructed…

A man with a plan: Henry Markram and his Human Brain Project, in an excellent piece here by Nature’s Mitch Waldrop.

Henry is a difficult read. On the one hand, he’s Teddy Roosevelt to the Panama Canal. On the other he’s possibly Don Quixote charging at some windmills. I can’t tell yet and I don’t think Mitch knows either. But either way, Markram does recognize a key weakness of modern neuroscience: it lacks the coherent theoretical framework that other lucky fields have (such as the standard model in physics).