Donders AI research joins Human Brain Project

Date of news: 31 March 2021

Pablo Lanillos from the AI department of the Donders Institute and Radboud University will join the Human Brain Project (HBP). His robotics project SPIKEFERENCE has been awarded with 420.000 euro by the European HBP community, which aims to investigate the brain with the help of artificial intelligence and computing.

Lanillos’ project aims to control industrial robots using spiking neural networks, inspired on how the brain perceives and controls the body. This technique simulates the way that brain cells communicate with each other.


The awarded neuroscientist will run the project as project coordinator, supported by Principal Investigators Marcel van Gerven and Serge Thill. With SPIKEFERENCE Lanillos and his colleagues hope to create computational models to enable robots to make decisions in complex and uncertain environments.

Cutting edge neuroscience and brain data

The project is one of seven projects that are welcomed into a newly established branch of the Human Brain Project: EBRAINS. This is a digital research infrastructure, created by the Human Brain Project, to foster brain-related research and to help translate the latest scientific discoveries into innovation in medicine and industry, for the benefit of patients and society.

It draws on cutting-edge neuroscience and offers an extensive range of brain data sets, a multilevel brain atlas, modelling and simulation tools, easy access to high-performance computing resources and to robotics and neuromorphic platforms. The other successful applicants come from science and industry in Italy, Spain, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

The European Human Brain Project

The new projects will not only make use of EBRAINS’ collection of data sets, simulation and modelling tools and high-performance computing resources, but also contribute to the further development of the EBRAINS platform and increase the scope of its applications in terms of innovation, neuroscience and clinical research.

The Human Brain Project is the largest brain science project in Europe and stands among the biggest research projects ever funded by the European Union. At the interface of neuroscience and information technology, the HBP investigates the brain and its diseases with the help of highly advanced methods from computing, neuroinformatics and artificial intelligence, and drives innovation in fields like brain-inspired computing and neurorobotics.