International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility

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International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility
International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility logotype, abbreviation-only style.
MottoAdvancing global collaborative brain research.[1]
Formation2005; 14 years ago (2005)[2]
HeadquartersINCF Secretariat
Coordinates59°20′54.46″N 18°1′25.78″E / 59.3484611°N 18.0238278°E / 59.3484611; 18.0238278
Executive Director
Linda Lanyon[3]
Governing Board Chair
Keiji Tanaka[3]

The International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility (INCF) is an international non-profit science organization which develops collaborative neuroinformatics infrastructure and promotes the sharing of data and computing resources to the international research community. INCF was established in 2005 by recommendations of the Global Science Forum working group of the OECD.[4] The secretariat is hosted by the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden.[3] As of November 2017, the INCF has active nodes in 18 countries.[5] The Executive Director is Linda Lanyon,[6] and the Governing Board Chair is Keiji Tanaka

INCF's mission[7] is to facilitate the work of neuroscientists around the world, and to catalyze and coordinate the global development of neuroinformatics through fostering scientific collaboration, advance training in neuroinformatics, and act as an independent international facilitator.


• promotes the sharing of data and computing resources to the international research community

• advances training in neuroinformatics

• fosters scientific collaboration to develop FAIR[8] neuroinformatics solutions

• acts as an international independent facilitator for standards and infrastructure


A key element to successfully understanding the nervous system is the integration of neuroscience with information sciences. The field that studies the nervous system, neuroscience, has responded to the fantastic challenge of understanding how our brain works with the use of the most sophisticated technologies, from studies on the genome to those on brain imaging of behaviour in humans and other species, under different functional states, and at all intervening analytical levels. This effort has resulted in large quantities of data, which are ever increasing at higher levels of complexity. The data produced are heterogeneous, coming from different levels of study and modalities of analysis. To rise to this challenge of integration, and to ensure efficient and maximum use of these data, it is now necessary to develop and create these shared resources:

  1. neuroscience data and knowledge databases;
  2. analytical and modelling tools; and
  3. computational models.

This challenge is being met through the merging of neurosciences with information science – the field of neuroinformatics.



The recommendation to coordinate international efforts in the new field of neuroinformatics was first made in the report on bioinformatics elaborated under the aegis of the then OECD Megascience Forum in 1998.[9] Following extensive discussions in the Neuroinformatics Working Group of the Global Science Forum chaired by Dr. Stephen H. Koslow, the proposal to create an International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Council and a system of grant funding for neuroinformatics research was then presented in 2002.[10] This project was endorsed by OECD science ministers at their meeting in January 2004. Sixteen countries (Australia, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States and Victoria, Australia), as well as the European Commission, then elaborated the working documents that form the legal basis for the INCF and the Programme in International Neuroinformatics (PIN).[citation needed]


The conditions laid out for the creation of the INCF[11] were met in July 2005, seven countries (the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States) having signed the Understanding document and pledged their financial contribution. A bid to host the INCF Secretariat was launched. Two proposals were received and, as instructed by the Governing Board, on November 3, the OECD[12] convened a panel of experts to review and rank the proposals. The panel assigned the higher ranking to the Swedish proposal, and this recommendation was endorsed by the INCF Governing Board when it met at OECD headquarters on November 28. Following extensive international discussions, the INCF was officially inaugurated in February 2007, with headquarters at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

Key Program deliverables[edit]

[13] include

  • Waxholm Space (WHS), a coordinate-based reference space of the rodent brain
  • Scalable Brain Atlas,[14] a web-based display engine for brain atlases, imaging data, and topologies
  • NineML,[15] a general model description language
  • The Multi-Simulation Coordinator (MUSIC),[16] which allows large-scale neuron simulators and other applications to communicate during runtime
  • The Neuroimaging Informatics Data Model (NI-DM),[17] a framework for the generation, storage, and query of metadata including provenance information
  • KnowledgeSpace,[18] the start of a project to develop a community-based encyclopedia for neuroscience

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About us". INCF. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  2. ^ "History". INCF. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d "Contact". INCF. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  4. ^ "About". Neuroscience Peer Review Consortium. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  5. ^ "Governing and Associate Nodes | INCF". Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  6. ^ "Our staff | INCF". Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  7. ^ "About us | INCF". Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  8. ^ Hagstrom, Stephanie (2014-09-03). "The FAIR Data Principles". FORCE11. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  9. ^ Megascience Forum Working Group on Biological Informatics (January 1999). Final Report (Report). Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. pp. 3–4, 49–50, 70–72. Retrieved 19 September 2017 – via ICNF ownCloud.
  10. ^ Global Science Forum Neuroinformatics Working Group (June 2002). Report on Neuroinformatics (Report). Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. pp. 5, 11–15, 46. Retrieved 19 September 2017 – via ICNF ownCloud.
  11. ^ "Incf | INCF". Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  12. ^ " - OECD". Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  13. ^ "History | INCF". Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  14. ^ "Scalable Brain Atlas - Neuroanatomy at your fingertips". Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  15. ^ "NineML". NineML. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  16. ^ MUSIC, the MUltiSimulation Coordinator, International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility (INCF), 2017-11-14, retrieved 2017-12-04
  17. ^ "- Neuroimaging Data Model". Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  18. ^ "KnowledgeSpace - Home". Retrieved 2017-12-04.

External links[edit]