Europe Gives 2 Billion Euros to Science
Research projects investigating the “miracle material” graphene and the human brain have won unprecedented funding of up to 1 billion euros each. Under the European Commission’s Future and Emerging Technologies programme, the backing is designed to give Europe an edge in key areas of research.
Graphene – a single-layer of carbon atoms – has extraordinary properties which give it immense potential. Possible applications include flexible electronics and lighter aircraft. The Human Brain Project will attempt to build a computer-based copy of a human brain to understand neurological disorders and the effects of drugs. Both projects involve researchers in dozens of institutes across Europe and will receive the funding over a ten-year period. The two fields of novel materials and brain research are described as fulfilling the criteria for the funding by being “ambitious and risky” while promising large returns. The backing is meant to answer the criticism that Europe lags behind more dynamic competitors such as the United States and China in economic growth and scientific research.