A global perspective on large-scale digital research infrastructures: The role of EBRAINS in international collaborations

Speaker: Dr. Jan Bjaalie, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Oslo, and EBRAINS

Host: Dr. Jean-Baptiste Poline, Associate Professor, Neurology and Neurosurgery, McGill University

Location: zoom link will be provided to registered attendees 1 day before the event

Free event: Open to faculty, staff and students from McGill University, and all members of the Healthy Brains, Healthy Lives community

Summary: Countries across the world have recognized brain research as an important driver for economic development and improved health of citizens. Over the past decade, this led to a wave of new large brain projects and initiatives, several contributing to establishing new digital research infrastructures. EBRAINS is a European distributed Research Infrastructure (RI) established in 2019 by the Human Brain Project (HBP), a Flagship project co-funded by the European Commission. The EBRAINS RI targets neuroscience, brain medicine, and brain-inspired technologies. Researchers using EBRAINS are from all regions of the world, and researchers in Europe often find RIs in other parts of the world relevant for their use cases, separate from or in combination with EBRAINS. In the interest of contributing to a paradigm shift in brain science by providing new unique collaborative platforms for rigorous and reproducible research, there is strong need for establishing synergies and interoperability. HBP and EBRAINS interact with other large projects and initiatives through the International Brain Initiative (IBI) and the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility (INCF). The IBI and INCF facilitates cross talk and the building of bridges among RIs at the global level. In this talk, I will discuss the new landscape of digital RI dependent neuroscience and brain research from the perspective of EBRAINS.

Speaker Bio: Jan Bjaalie, MD, PhD, is professor and leader of the Neural Systems laboratory at the Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Oslo, and Head of the Norwegian Neuroinformatics Node. In the EU Human Brain Project (HBP), he has been Leader of the Neuroinformatics Platform (2017 - 2020), Infrastructure Director (2018 - ), and EBRAINS Data services leader (2020 -). He is also Vice-Chair of the HBP Science and Infrastructure Board. Jan Bjaalie served as Head of the Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Oslo (2009-2016), founding Executive Director of the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility – INCF (2006-2008), Chair of the INCF Governing Board (2013-2016), and co-Chair (2019-2020) and Chair (2021) of the International Brain Initiative. His research group has studied sensory map transformations and wiring patterns in the brain and developed data systems for organizing and managing neuroscience research data with the use of a new generation of digital brain atlases. The group develops software and workflows for data analysis, integration of heterogeneous data in atlases, and tools and workflows for data sharing through the EBRAINS Data services.