The Institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences Join EBRAINS


The PolSCA Office has initiated contacts between the Institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences and members of EBRAINS – the European digital infrastructure for brain research. Today, we are delighted to announce that the Poznań Supercomputing and Networking Center affiliated with the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences (ICHB PAN) in Poznań has joined EBRAINS as a full member. This affiliation grants PCSS the opportunity to actively contribute to the development of research infrastructure and engage in the advancement of digital tools supporting brain research. Additionally, as of 2024, the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology of the Polish Academy of Sciences has also joined EBRAINS as an Associated Member.

PCSS dołączyło do europejskiej cyfrowej infrastruktury badań nad mózgiem – EBRAINS

EBRAINS is a new Research Infrastructure created within the framework of the EU-funded Human Brain Project (HBP). It gathers a wide range of data and tools for brain-related research, leveraging the latest advancements in neuroscience, informatics, robotics, and related technologies to facilitate the application of recent scientific discoveries for innovation in medicine and industry, ultimately benefiting patients and society.

EBRAINS’ mission is to provide the scientific community with open, advanced solutions that stimulate collaboration in brain science, pave the way for breakthrough discoveries, and aim to position Europe at the forefront of the rapidly evolving field of multi- and transdisciplinary brain research. Poland is an essential contributor to this endeavor.

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EBRAINS aims to accelerate brain research by comprehensively integrating data, tools, and infrastructure. This includes data sharing, atlas creation, modeling, simulation, high-performance computing, large-scale data analysis, neurorobotics, neuromorphic computing, and more.

As a research infrastructure, EBRAINS is coordinated by EBRAINS AISBL in Belgium, acting as the Central Hub, currently comprising 10 members. Moreover, EBRAINS includes over 45 Associated Members, making it an organization operating on a large scale, based on the activities of national nodes. Until the end of 2023, Polish entities had not been involved in these initiatives.

“We are excited to welcome the Poznań Supercomputing and Networking Center as a full member of EBRAINS. I am confident that, with their extensive experience in large-scale computing, data analysis, and the implementation of pan-European projects, PCSS will make a significant contribution to the research infrastructure of EBRAINS,” said Katrin Amunts, the Director General of EBRAINS.

With over 30 years of dedication to the scientific community in Poland, PCSS has been instrumental in building eInfrastructures and advancing information and communication technologies and their applications.

“In more than 270 European projects conducted so far, we have developed technologies for computational simulations, machine learning, Big Data analysis, digital twins, advanced visualization, and much more. The significant application areas stimulate the digital transformation of medicine and the development of personalized medicine. EBRAINS ensures the strengthening of our eInfrastructure potential for a transdisciplinary approach to the challenges of neuroscience, enabling Polish units to participate more actively in European projects and increasing the visibility of their achievements internationally,” explained Dr. Eng. Cezary Mazurek, Delegate of the Director of ICHB PAN for PCSS.

Participation in EBRAINS also opens up opportunities for further development in research areas undertaken by scientists at the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

“For many years, the Institute has been researching the molecular processes underlying the development of neurodegenerative diseases. We also coordinate the development of the ECBiG-MOSAIC research infrastructure, where we use artificial intelligence algorithms to create models supporting oncological and cardiological diagnostics. In collaboration with clinicians from the National Oncology Institute in Gliwice, we have developed a model based on data from patients with brain tumors to improve the diagnosis of glioblastoma multiforme based on MRI scans,” said Dr. Hab. Luiza Handschuh, Prof. ICHB PAN, the Director of the Institute.

One of PCSS’s development directions is expanding the scope of brain science research by utilizing supercomputing infrastructure and artificial intelligence.

“In addition to the previously conducted analyses of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data for praxis and language, we have also started working on using deep learning models in neurooncological research. Our future plans in the development of computational technologies for neuroscience at PCSS include the use of artificial intelligence and quantum computing, among other things, for the study of neurodegenerative diseases,” emphasized Dr. Mikołaj Buchwald, Coordinator for Neuroscience at PCSS.

As of the beginning of 2024, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology of the Polish Academy of Sciences has also become an Associated Member of EBRAINS.

“The Nencki Institute is one of the leading non-university centers for biomedical research in Poland. The main focus of our research is on new therapies and diagnostic methods for metabolic disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, neurological disorders, cancers, diabetes, and other civilization diseases. For over 100 years, the Nencki Institute has conducted research in the field of neurobiology, including neuroanatomy, neurochemistry, neurophysiology, neurogenetics, and psychology. This dynamic development of neuroscience allows us to carry out multidisciplinary projects that combine the latest technological advances with sophisticated methods of imaging, molecular biology, and advanced bioinformatics tools. Research conducted at the Nencki Institute, especially those related to brain pathology, align perfectly with EBRAINS’ mission, which aims to understand the mechanisms of neurological diseases by developing modern tools and resources that allow scientists to understand brain function at various levels, from molecular to systemic. Through active collaboration and participation in EBRAINS projects, the Nencki Institute can contribute to the creation of a more advanced and integrated research environment in the field of neurobiology at the European level,” assured Prof. Dr. Hab. Agnieszka Dobrzyń, the Director of the Institute.

PCSS, together with the Medical University of Poznań, has initiated the process of creating a Polish node of EBRAINS in the form of a national consortium, inviting scientific and medical units involved in projects related to the creation of digital infrastructure supporting brain research.

The key factor in forming an optimal composition for the national EBRAINS-PL node will be the ability to develop open data resources and tools that support the development of European infrastructure. These tasks must also align with the initiative to develop European Common Data Spaces. The EBRAINS Digital Medicine Platform allows scientists to analyze a large and growing amount of neurological clinical data, currently comprising over 20,000 datasets covering dementia, epilepsy, mental and traumatic brain health. This data comes from an increasing number of participating hospitals (currently 30), ensuring patient anonymity. Efforts are made to ensure that data available through EBRAINS complies with high EU ethical standards and adheres to the principles of “FAIR” (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable), which is both a scientific best practice and EU policy.

Initial contacts between Polish scientific and research institutions and EBRAINS were initiated by the Polish Science Contact Agency ‘PolSCA’ of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Brussels.

This text is sourced from the PCSS press release.