Projects to model human brain and explore graphene win up to a billion euros each from EU

Two science projects — one to map the human brain, the other to explore the extraordinary properties of the carbon-based material graphene — have won an EU contest to receive up to €1 billion ($1.35 billion) each over the next years.

The projects were selected from four finalists that been chosen from 26 proposals.

"European's position as a knowledge superpower depends on thinking the unthinkable and exploiting the best ideas," European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said in a statement Monday.

The Human Brain Project will work to create the most accurate model of the human brain to date, trying to develop treatment for neurological diseases. The other project will investigate the properties of graphene, which conducts electricity better than copper and is at least 100 times stronger than steel.