Neurofuture reaction to open call for HBP funds

June 1st, 2015

Dear colleagues,

We thought it might be helpful to update you on what we know about the HBP since the release of the mediation report. As you may know, there has been a recent open call for partnering projects, which is funded by HBP related funds. 

Since our last message in March, we have received multiple confirmations that the HBP has agreed to implement the main recommendations of the mediation report but not the 'observations'. This is highly unfortunate. The observations contains numerous criticisms of the scientific objectives of the HBP, including a particularly critical section about the simulations of the human brain, which the HBP leadership considers as the most original and most important piece of the whole project. The mediation report clearly states that these simulations are not credible. Yet, this sub-project alone will require well over 200 millions euros of European and Swiss funds, which is roughly twice the annual ERC budget in neuroscience. 

Therefore, as far as we can tell, most of the sub-project (SPs) will continue to pursue the same scientific approach as the ones described in the original proposal, despite the extremely critical mediation report. This is difficult to comprehend particularly when considering the fact that the report was co-written and signed by several HBP members. 

Ultimately, we will not know exactly what will change in the HBP until the new Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA) is published this summer. Please keep in mind that applying for these funds is interpreted as an endorsement of the project and encourages national funding agencies to invest their own funds in this effort. If these issues are serious concerns for you, we recommend that you abstain from submitting proposals to the partnership agreement until the new FPA is available. 


Best,

Alexandre Pouget and Zachary Mainen