The Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2) is a non-profit research foundation, and one of the centres of the CERCA Institution. Its mission is to achieve scientific and technological excellence in the fields of nanotechnology and nanoscience. ICN2’s excellence has been recognized by the Spanish Government with the award of the prestigious Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence accreditation (2014-2018, 2018-2022).
ICN2 is mostly involved in WP1 (“Technology of neural interfaces”), where it is in charge of developing the technology of ultra-flexible µECoG arrays using graphene field-effect transistors and the multiplexing technology using MoS2 ultra-thin films. ICN2 also contributes to WP3 (“Preclinical assessment of novel implants and bottom-up identification of decoding capacity of functional cortical dynamics”), providing support to the in-vitro and in-vivo assessment of the developed implant technology. ICN2 is also contributing with its expertise in MOCVD, in particular to upscale the current growth capability of TMDs (MoS2) to 4 inch wafers. Further, ICN2 coordinates the BrainCom project (J.A. Garrido is the project coordinator).
The main activities of IMB-CNM Microelectronics Research and Development centre (CSIC) are research, development, education and training in micro/nano-technologies at device, circuit and system levels. For this purpose, IMB-CNM(CSIC) hosts an Integrated Micro and Nanofabrication Clean Room, which is recognized by the Spanish Government as a large-scale singular infrastructure (Instalación Científica y Tecnológica Singular – ICTS).
IMB-CNM(CSIC) is mostly involved in WP2 (“Engineering, Data processing and Product Innovation”), where it is leading the development of a new generation of application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) for massive neural recording. In collaboration with WP1, IMB-CNM(CSIC) is designing and testing low-power CMOS ASICs capable of multiplexing large arrays of GFET-based sensors and recording thousands of neural channels in a single chip. With its expertise in electronic circuit design, IMB-CNM(CSIC) is also contributing to the development of the several discrete electronics (DEs) platforms needed around these new ASICs for both in-vitro and in-vivo experiments.
The Université Grenobles Alpes (UGA) was born on January 1st, 2016, from the merging of the three main Grenoble universities: Joseph Fourier University (UJF), Pierre Mendes France University (UPMF) and Stendhal University. UGA is aresearch-intensive university (ranked 7 in France), gathering 40 000 students (including 3 700 PhD students, 45% from abroad), 2 200 permanent academic staff, 80 laboratories organised in 6 research departments, and 14 doctoral schools. It is located in a very international and high tech environment comprising 9 additional national organisms (CEA, CNRS, CEN/Météo-France,CRSSA, Inserm INRA, Inria, IRD, Irstea) and 5 large international research facilities (The European Synchrotron – ESRF, ILL,The European Molecular Biology Laboratory – EMBL, IRAM-Institute, GHMFL), which attract thousands of researchers every year. UGA has a great experience in European framework programmes (FP) management.
The role of UGA in the Braincom project is twofold. First, within WP3, UGA assesses the functionality of cortical implants in preclinical setups prior to their use in clinical trials. Second, mostly within WP5, UGA develops the different bricks to build a speech brain-computer interface, including articulatory-based speech synthesis methods based on artificial neural networks, brain signal decoding to infer overt and covert speech features, and the closed-loop implementation of these methods in a real-time framework to eventually demonstrate the feasibility of a speech BCI.
The Association pour la Reserche et le Developpement des Methodes et Processus Industriel (ARMINES) is a private, non-profit research and technological organisation (RTO) funded in 1967, having common research centres with the Ecoles des Mines: Paris (Mines ParisTech), Albi-Carmaux (Mines AlbiCarmaux), Alès(Mines Alès), Douai (Mines Douai), Nantes (Mines Nantes), and Saint-Etienne (Mines Saint-Etienne). ARMINES gathers public and private personnel and means to collaborate on an arms lengths basis, performs research contractual activities, and performs academic research training. The Joint Research Units and the collaboration between ARMINES and the Ecole des Mines are organised within the frame of a convention signed with each Ecole des Mines in conformity with the Law dated April 18th, 2006, under the administrative authority of the French Minister of Industry; ARMINES having in addition, the duty to manage research contractual activities and the related intellectual property rights.
The Grenoble-Alpes University Hospital (CHUGA) is the reference hospital in the alpine region that offers all medical specialties. One of the main areas of excellence of CHUGA is Clinical Neurosciences, which are grouped under the recently labeled University-Hospital Federation (FHU) “NeuroPsyNov” (Neurostimulation and innovations in neuro-psychiatric diseases, dir. Philippe Kahane). NeuroPsyNov brings together the expertise of 7 clinical teams, 15 research teams, and 9 platforms/core facilities. CHUGA is well known to have pioneered deep-brain stimulation (DBS) therapy in the 80’s and since then has remained very active in this domain. It is also an internationally recognized center for epilepsy surgery, especially in the field of intracranial EEG (SEEG) recordings and stimulation.
The role of CHUGA in the BrainCom project is to assess clinical translation of BrainCom devices for clinical applications mostly within WP5. Two clinical applications are considered: detailed intraoperative functional brain mapping, and the demonstration of a speech BCI.
Multi Channel Systems MCS GmbH (MCS) focuses on the development of precision scientific measuring instrumentation and equipment in the field of electrophysiology for research groups at universities and for the pharmaceutical industry. We provide solutions for extra-cellular recordings with microelectrode arrays in vitro and in vivo as well as for electrical stimulation. Moreover, we offer devices for automated RNA injection and for automated two-electrode voltage-clamp recording of Xenopus oocytes. Because of their modular principle, our products can be extended and adjusted to your specific experimental needs. Apart from their flexibility, our products are a perfect fit for laboratories because of their small size.
Together with our Smart Ephys partner brands HEKA, Triangle BioSystems, and Warner Instruments (as well as our well-established distribution partners), we serve laboratories, research institutes and the pharmaceutical industry all over the world. Over 20 years of experience and our international distribution network make us the global market leader in the field of non-clinical electrophysiology with microelectrode arrays.
MCS is mostly involved in WP2 (Engineering, Data Processing and Product Innovation). We provide our expertise in the fields of small, discrete electronics to connect, bias, and acquire the signals from the newly developed active electrode arrays, wirelessly, which facilitates freely moving in vivo experiments in the early stages of the project. This also includes the development of purpose-built soft- and firmware.
In the later stage of the project MCS will develop advanced data management strategies to collect and record the large amount of data produced by the ASIC developed by CSIC.
The University of Geneva (UNIGE) is Switzerland’s second-largest university. It proposes more than 280 types of degrees in sciences, medicine, and humanities. Its domains of excellence in research include life sciences (molecular biology, bio-informatics), physics of elementary particles, and astrophysics. UNIGE leads research projects in collaboration with almost 100 countries. At the European level the UNIGE actively participates in several European research programmes, particularly to the 7th Framework Programme of Research and Development, with 19 projects coordinated by the UNIGE and more than 250 participations to projects in all scientific disciplines.
Many neurological patients suffer from language production deficits, notably aphasia, which dramatically impairs their communicative abilities. The role of the UNIGE Auditory Language Group in BrainCom is to develop novel analytic methods exploiting intracortical neural recordings to restore the speech function in these patients. Our role is to delineate the brain networks and signals that can optimally code for non-articulated (inner) speech using both intracortical (ECoG) and surface (MEG) neural recordings obtained from subjects with and without aphasia. We further develop brain-computer interfaces that exploit patients’ neural plasticity to actively remap their language production circuits and generate decodable signals for speech neuroprosthetics.
The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford (UOXF) is home to the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, where research projects span neuroethics, medical ethics, bioethics, criminal justice ethics and other themes. Dr Hannah Maslen, Deputy Director of the Oxford Uehiro Centre, leads the work on BrainCom’s Work Package 6: ‘Ethics, Implants and Society’, working alongside Dr Stephen Rainey. UOXF contributes expertise in practical ethics and applied philosophy to the BrainCom consortium. The role of this partner is threefold:
1) UOXF conducts research in philosophical applied ethics to address questions arising from the development and use of BrainCom technology and relevantly similar brain-computer interfaces. Topics explored include: the nature of BCI-mediated action, concepts and implications of BCI user control, moral and legal responsibility, and data privacy and regulation.
2) UOXF coordinates discussion and resolution of ethical issues within the Consortium and they relate to ongoing research and development. This oversight is both top-down and bottom-up, ensuring the ethical work stays closely tied to the ongoing research, whilst also anticipating challenges before they are encountered, including those that may arise as the technology is rolled out into the clinical arena and society at large.
3) UOXF plays a major role in leading the dissemination initiatives beyond the project. Dissemination activities are directed at a number of overlapping audiences: the research community, clinicians, patients, medical device regulators, patients, and society.
The Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU) is the leading teaching and research university in Germany, ranking 1st in Germany in the latest Times Higher Education World University Ranking. Along with the neighbouring Max-Planck, Helmholtz, and Technical University institutions, it can be regarded as a major European science hub. LMU is a large beneficiary of the German excellence initiative, and has beenawarded more than 40 ERC grants. Under the first Horizon 2020 Call for the Marie-Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships LMU has been already granted 8 EFs and 2 GFs and 10 ITNs.
From 2016, the leading consultancies Solucom and Kurt Salmon European’s business joined forces to create Wavestone (WS), a new generation in consulting. Drawing upon some 2,500 employees across four continents, Wavestone works with major institutions and companies who are leaders in their sectors. It is this reach that positions Wavestone as a leading independent player in the European consultancy sector, and the number one in France.
The Innovation Management and Funding (IMF) team iincludes approximately 50 consultants with scientific, technical and financial backgrounds including scientific PhDs, engineers, economists, business-oriented experts, etc. IMF have a long-lasting expertise in initiatives co-funded by the European Commission (FP7/H2020, LIFE, structural funds, Interreg etc.). IMF consultants have in-depth experience in the setting-up and management of complex R&D projects and innovation structures and processes, including communication and exploitation activities.
In BrainCom, IMF brings its management expertise in WP8 (Project Management Plan, General Assembly, Steering Committee, Review meetings, Periodic Reports) as well as a support for dissemination activities conducted in WP7 (website set-up, collection and consolidation of partners’ inputs related to results’ exploitation and the data management plan).
The University of Cambridge (UCAM) is one of the most renowned Research/Higher Education Institute and is frequently ranked amongst the top 5 in international academic rankings such as ARWU and Shanghai Ranking. It has a long-standing history of academic and scientific excellence backed up with rich culture, learning, research and creativity. Many affiliates of University of Cambridge have won Nobel Prizes for their significant advances. Cambridge University is also a major participant in European projects and one of the top recipients of FP7 funding.
UCAM will participate in this project through its Bioelectronics Laboratory, led by Prof. George Malliaras, who pioneered the application of conducting polymer electrodes and organic electrochemical transistors (OECTs) in applications in bioelectronics. Prof. Malliaras and his team developed a parylene-based platform that enabled the lithographic fabrication of high-performance, ultra-conformable micro-electrode and OECT arrays based on conducting polymers. The electrodes were shown to be capable of recording single neurons from the cortex of the brain, and is currently used in humans. Moreover, they developed the Bernards model which is used to understand the physics and optimize the characteristics of OECTs. Finally, they demonstrated the first use of OECT in electrophysiology and showed that they record with a higher signal-to-noise ratio and look deeper in the brain than electrodes. This work was widely highlighted in in popular news outlets, including the Wall Street Journal (April 22, 2013). Their role in the project is to supply this technology to the consortium.