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Billions of Euros

A project to simulate the human brain and one to develop ultrathin graphene are to be awarded about €1 billion, or approximately $1.35 billion, each in funding from the European Commission, The New York Times reports. The initiative aims to energize innovation in the European Union. More than 20 projects were considered over the course of two years; a panel of about 25 scientist and industrialists chose the final winners. The projects will initially receive about €54 million from the European Union as well as funds from member nations and other sources, the Associated Press adds.

"Europe's position as a knowledge superpower depends on thinking the unthinkable and exploiting the best ideas," says Neelie Kroes, the European commissioner for information technology, in a statement.

The Human Brain Project will involve scientists from nearly 90 institutions around Europe and the US to model the brain in the hopes of being able to better diagnose diseases, test new therapeutics, and develop new supercomputing strategies. And the materials project will bring together about a hundred research groups to refine graphene as a material for use in phones and computers, potentially, the Times says, making them foldable.