The EU Flagship iniative is gaining momentum. There are a set of 19 proposals which put in 5 page summaries available on Cordis.
Two of these are particularly relevant,
This page has been updated (10 August 2010), but probably still needs to include other projects. If you have suggestions please email the address at the bottom of the page.
The EU seventh framework programme, began in 2007. In its Information and Communication Technologies section there is a large work programme, Challenge 2 is entitled: Cognitive Systems, Interaction, Robotics,
Much information about the EU cognitive systems initiative can be found in presentations here, especially presentations by Colette Maloney.
In addition, there is the more general Future and Emerging technologies section of FP7, and this has funded some relevant work.
Recently there has been a call for flagship proposals, which will be a small number of large forward-looking proposals, and there is some suggestion that some may be in this area. Flagships are a major iniative: in the first place, the EU looks likely to fund a number of 1 year network-like (Support Actions) which will in turn lead to some huge (10 year, 100M Euro) projects. See News above.
However, the EU and DARPA initiatives were not (at least when they started) specifically formulated in terms of relating cognitive systems to neuroscience, and to that extent are narrower than the proposal we are discussing.
Some of the Electronics Knowledge Transfer Network's Grand Challenges are strongly related to this Grand Challenge. These are detailed in the report Grand Challenges in Microelectronic Design. In particular uGC4: Building brains: Neurologically inspired electronic systems is relevant.
Owen Holland's Anthropomimetic robots project is directly relevant to GC-5.
'Our claim is that humanoid robots should be designed using human-like principles, and we believe this approach needs a new name: anthropomimetic robotics.' His web site has amazing pictures of the Cronos robot, and a movie showing the arm in action, under remote control.
The Walking with robots project
EPSRC-funded project whose aim is to promote public awareness of and interest in robotics. The project will organise presentations, demonstrations, and debates involving a dozen of the UK's leading robotics researchers.
Some past initiatives
The European Commission decided as part of FP 6 to fund a related initiative entitled 'Cognitive Systems' and allocated a sum of about 25M euro. The objectives were similar but funding was for relatively short projects e.g. up to about four years. Over 70 proposals were submitted by the deadline of October 15 2003. Funded projects, which began in September 2004 are listed here. One of those is euCOGNITION: European Network for the Advancement of Artificial Cognitive Systems. This aims to bring together researchers from multiple disciplines working on cognitive systems. This network funded the GC-5 symposium at AISB'06 in Bristol in April 2006. It includes a Research Roadmap initiative that is very closely related to GC-5, although it explicitly aims to contribute to applications whereas the aims of GC-5 are solely concerned with advancing science (though many applications are bound to follow from scientific advances in this area).
Projects within the EU Cognitive Systems initiative pursue a significant subset of the GC-5 challenge task, including the CoSy project, which is concerned with combining multiple functions within a robot.
The following year a much larger sum of money was available from the EU for research in this area and several more projects started, now included in the list of projects.
Some past initiatives
The DARPA Cognitive Systems initiative in the USA
and the UK DTI
Foresight Cognitive Systems
initiative were also closely related. Similar ideas were also present in Japan, for example Kawato's Dynamic Brain initiative. Of course, the much earlier Japanese 5th Generation Computer project has been highly influential too.
Leslie Smith http://www.cs.stir.ac.uk/~lss/: l.s.smith (at) cs.stir.ac.uk. Last updated 22 October 2010