A ten-year project in Europe will use supercomputers to simulate the workings of an entire human brain for the first time.
The research could lead to computers and robots that think like people.
Scientists also claim that the research could unlock the secrets of memory, depression and Alzheimer's.
The European Commission announced that the Human Brain Project (HBP) will receive up to a billion euros over the next ten ten years.
"The HBP will build new platforms for “neuromorphic computing” and “neurorobotics”, allowing researchers to develop new computing systems and robots based on the architecture and circuitry of the brain," EFPL scientists said in a statement this week.
The Swiss project likened the research to the Large Hadron's Collider's exploration of the subatomic world, describing the Human Brain project as a, "CERN for the brain."
Professor Bernd Stahl from Britain's De Montfort University, said: “The Human Brain Project is truly pioneering, and the results will make important contributions to neuroscience."
"However because this project is breaking new ground there is a need for members of the project to consider their responsibilities."
Announcing the funding decision, European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes said: "Europe's position as a knowledge superpower depends on thinking the unthinkable and exploiting the best ideas.”