An early step towards whole brain emulation seems to be underway, though as always funding past what is in hand now remains a question mark:
The European Commission has selected the two research proposals it will fund to the tune of half-a-billion euros each after a two-year, high-profile contest.
The Human Brain Project, led by neuroscientist Henry Markram at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne, plans to simulate everything known about the human brain in a supercomputer - a breathtaking ambition that has been met with some scepticism (See "Brain in a box").
The final winners were selected from a shortlist of six projects as being the most likely to achieve the paradigm-shifting advances they claim. They will now enter the so-called 'ramp-up' phase, each receiving €54 million over 30 months. That represents the last cash available from the EU's expiring 7th Framework Programme of Research.
Subsequent phases will be supported under its successor programme, Horizon 2020, though the structure of that programme is still being negotiated and some observers fear that funds may be scaled back.