IBT Tech Hosts Executive Director of the EU Human Brain Project

Christoph Ebell, Executive Director at the Human Brain Project, met with IBT Tech members – the heads of Israeli brain technology companies – with the goal of forging collaborations and pushing forward brain technology implementation.

The Human Brain Project (HBP) is one of the most complex flagship projects undertaken in the world today. With the ambitious goal of streamlining and coordinating research to enable a better understanding of the brain, and with a budget of over 1 Billion Euro, the project involves researchers from over 117 partner institutions in 19 countries across Europe, including several Israeli universities. For Israeli brain companies, HBP is also a channel to access the European national innovation authorities and funding agencies.

As part of this special visit with IBT Tech, Mr. Christoph Ebell, presented an overview of the HBP and also conducted one-on-one meetings with member companies.

We asked Mr. Ebell about the motivation for this visit: The innovation culture in Israel is very developed and embedded – it’s a fundamental part of Israeli society, more entrepreneurial than Europe. And Tel Aviv is magic,” said Ebell.

One of the reasons for visiting Israel is HBP’s focus on reaching beyond the research stage of brain projects. In his presentation Dr. Ebell highlighted the “Valley of Death” of brain technology. “For research there are academic resources, and at the commercialization stage there are financial resources. But the stage of product development is where so many great ideas fall, because they are currently out of the realm of academic funding, and not yet proven enough to receive enough support from investors and industry, and so we see lots of research initiatives with great potential fail,” explained Mr. Ebell. “I know that this is exactly the juncture at which IBT works to support budding entrepreneurs, and so our goals are very much aligned,” said Dr. Ebell.

The 15 companies which attended the event were all members of IBT-Tech, headed by Yael Zifroni Sommer. “We worked hard to develop the relationship with HBP, and to bring this opportunity to the doorstep of our Israeli member companies,” explained Zifroni Sommer. “The successful event was very informative and through the one-on-one meetings, gave each company a real opportunity to explore cooperation avenues with HBP, and that was our intention.”

One of the companies in attendance was BioEye, whose Founder and CEO Eran Ferri, found a lot of value at the event: “Our membership in IBT Tech, enabled us to learn about the great alignment of our platform with HBP’s strategic goals, and to have a 1:1 meeting with Mr. Chris Ebell, opening an opportunity for a collaboration and for global contribution through HBP,” said Ferri.

HBP has an incredibly broad platform, a learning system, which it would like brain technology companies and researchers to use. We asked Mr. Ebell what his vision is for the next ten years: “I envision a catalytic ecosystem that can be used again and again – a self-learning platform available to anyone who does brain research and which would function like an operating system. A high-performance base infrastructure, a stack of software with a layer of software where people can develop their own set of tools – a living environment for research, not only individual science but rather collaborative work,” said Mr. Ebell.

For more information about IBT Tech and how to join, contact Yael Zifroni Sommer at yaelzs@israelbrain.org

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