The European Commission announced that two science projects will be awarded approximately 1 billion euros (U.S. $1.34 billion) each to respectively develop new information technology (IT) materials and create an unparalleled simulation of the human brain, with the goal being to stimulate industrial innovation in Europe.
The first project will concentrate on ultrathin graphene, touted as a better electrical conductor than copper and a stronger material than steel. Foldable electronic components are one possible innovation stemming from the project.
Meanwhile, the Human Brain Project targets mimicry of the brain and its functions with numerous potential applications, including better disease diagnosis, improved drug testing, and development of brain-modeled supercomputing methods. The objective of the funding program is to "keep Europe competitive, to keep Europe as the home of scientific excellence," says European Commissioner for IT Neelie Kroes.
Researchers from 87 institutions will participate in the Human Brain Project, while more than 100 research groups will be involved in the new IT materials project. Kroes notes the funding plan allocates as much as 2 billion euros to support projects over 10 years, a financing model that should yield innovative technologies faster than the previous model's two- to four-year cycle.
From The New York Times
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