Handbook of European HPC projects


Virtual brains for research

The complexity of the human brain poses a significant challenge to the investigation and hence understanding of the mechanisms governing its function and dysfunction. Digital twins are virtual models designed to reflect physical objects and offer an attractive approach for neuroscience research. The EU-funded eBRAIN-Health project will generate such virtual models of patients and healthy controls to study dementia, an important societal and medical issue. Researchers will process and combine molecular, cellular, physiology and behavioural data into a clinical research infrastructure. Simulating the human brain will assist the prediction of dementia risk as well as the development of health innovations.

The Project eBrain-Health will deliver a distributed research platform for modeling and simulating complex neurobiological phenomena of human brain function and dysfunction in a data protection compliant environment. It will provide thousands of multilevel virtual brains from patients and healthy human controls for research and innovation. Brain data from multiple sources will be pre-processed. Solving the societal grand challenge of dementia is a big task. Yet it appears feasible in a collective approach. Therefore, we will build an interdisciplinary digital twin for dementia for modeling and simulating complex phenomena at the service of research infrastructure communities. EBRAINS-Health-Cloud will offer end-to-end services for personalized complex brain modeling and simulations in distributed e-infrastructures with data protection by design and by default and simulation-ready human multiscale brain data that range from molecular (genomics, proteomics, metabolomics) and cellular to electrophysiology and imaging to behavioural, clinical, life-style and environmental data as well as data from wearables. Brain data are pre-processed and annotated such that they all relate to a common reference 3D brain space. EBRAINS-Health-Cloud constitutes a blend of three large-scale research programs: the FET Flagship Human Brain Project with its EBRAINS Research Infrastructure, the EOSC project Virtual Brain Cloud with its Virtual Research Environment for sensitive data and the H2020 project AI-MIND with intelligent tools for dementia risk estimation. The project will have synergies to topics of the Digital Europe Program, such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and supercomputing and the Health Data Space. EBRAINS-Health-Cloud offers a next generation clinical research infrastructure and creates an open yet protected space for groundbreaking digital health innovation by the research infrastructure communities comprising academia and the private sector.


Petra Ritter, M.D., Ph.D.


Coordinating Organization:
Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany

Project Timespan
2022-07-01 – 2026-06-30

Other Partners:
  • EBRAINS AISBL, Belgium
  • FZJ – Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Germany
  • Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, Netherlands
  • Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain
  • Oslo University Hospital, Norway
  • TP21 GmbH, Germany
  • Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Angewandten Forschung e.V., Germany
  • Indoc Research Europe gGmbH, Germany
  • Universität Wien, Austria
  • Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain
  • Eodyne Systems SL, Spain
  • Athena Research & Innovation Information Technologies, Greece
  • University of Oslo, Norway
  • VUmc – Amsterdam Universitair Medische Centre, Netherlands
  • Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”, Italy
  • Alzheimer Europe, Luxembourg
  • INRIA – Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et Automatique, France
  • CHUV – Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Switzerland
  • EPCC – The University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom