International Partnerships Program

International research is a pivotal element of HBHL and contributes to meeting the overall objectives of the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) program which are to help institutions to:

  • Compete with the best in the world for talent, for partnership opportunities, and to make breakthrough discoveries
  • Seize emerging opportunities and strategically advance their greatest strengths on the global stage
  • Implement large-scale, transformational and forward-thinking institutional strategies

The HBHL International Partnerships Program is a strategic funding envelope to support projects that demonstrate high potential to build and advance partnerships that will meet these objectives. The program supports international research collaborations between McGill University and leading institutions known for high-quality research and global ranking.

Helmholtz International BigBrain Analytics Learning Laboratory (HIBALL)

This new initiative between McGill University and Germany's Jülich Research Centre is jointly funded by the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres and HBHL. HIBALL focuses on the interaction between neuroscience and artificial intelligence, particularly deep learning, to build highly detailed 3D models of the brain at the cellular level. HIBALL has six scientific components that range from muti-modal atlasing to advanced systems-level brain simulation and brain-inspired artificial intelligence. The project supports eight post-doctoral fellows, four research software developers and three graduate students.


The initial budget for HIBALL covers five years, from 2020 through 2025, inclusive. Extensible up to a total of eight years.

Helmholtz Contribution: €3,000,000 Euro
McGill Contribution: $4,500,000 CAD

Project Partners

German Principal Investigator: Prof. Katrin Amunts
Director, Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine, and Scientific Research Director, the Human Brain Project, at Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH

Canadian Principal Investigator: Prof. Alan Evans
Director, McGill Centre for Integrative Neuroscience (MCIN) and Scientific Director, Healthy Brains, Healthy Lives at McGill University

Other project partners



Other partner institutions

Back to top