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Signal processing and Learning Applied to Brain data


With the SLAB project, Alexandre Gramfort wishes to contribute to the development of the next generation of statistical models and algorithms for the exploitation of electrophysiology signals that provide information on brain function at the millisecond scale.   

european funding : European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant

Call ERC-2015-STG

Published on 5 September 2016

Presentation (ERC abstract)

Understanding how the brain works in healthy and pathological conditions is considered as one of the challenges for the 21st century. After the first electroencephalography (EEG) measurements in 1929, the 90’s was the birth of modern functional brain imaging with the first functional MRI and full head magnetoencephalography (MEG) system. In the last twenty years, imaging has revolutionized clinical and cognitive neuroscience.

After pioneering works in physics and engineering, the field of neuroscience has to face two major challenges.

The size of the datasets keeps growing. The answers to neuroscience questions are limited by the complexity of the signals observed: non-stationarity, high noise levels, heterogeneity of sensors, lack of accurate models.

SLAB will provide the next generation of models and algorithms for mining electrophysiology signals which offer unique ways to image the brain at a millisecond time scale.

SLAB will develop dedicated machine learning and signal processing methods and favor the emergence of new challenges for these fields. SLAB focuses on five objectives: 

1) source localization with M/EEG for brain imaging at high temporal resolution
2) representation learning to boost statistical power and reduce acquisition costs
3) fusion of heterogeneous sensors
4) modeling of non-stationary spectral interactions to identify functional coupling between neural ensembles
5) development of fast algorithms easy to use by non-experts.

SLAB aims to strengthen mathematical and computational foundations of brain data analysis. The methods developed will have applications across fields (computational biology, astronomy, econometrics). Yet, the primary impact of SLAB will be on neuroscience. The tools and high quality open software produced in SLAB will facilitate the analysis of electrophysiology data, offering new perspectives to understand how the brain works at a mesoscale, and for clinical applications (epilepsy, autism, tremor, sleep disorders).


5 years

1,5 millions €

Starting date

01 september 2016

Researcher: Alexandre Gramfort   (Pariétal / NeuroSpin)


Agreement ID: 676943

About ERC Starting Grants (STG) and Consolidator Grants (CoG)

The Starting Grants and Consolidator Grants aim to support talented researchers, both established and emerging, who wish to build their own research teams and conduct independent research in Europe. This grant targets promising researchers who have demonstrated their potential to become independent research leaders. It supports the creation of new research teams of excellence.

These grants are intended for researchers of any nationality with between 2 and 7 years (Starting Grants) or between 7 and 12 years (Consolidator Grants) of experience since obtaining their PhD (or equivalent degree) with a very promising scientific background.