Professor at the University College London Queen Square Institute of Neurology and one of the developers of modern neuroimaging. Karl Friston began his academic career by studying both medicine and physics at the University of Cambridge. He then trained as a psychiatrist at the University of Oxford and King's College medical school in London.

WEB-Karl Friston



1988, he joined Professor Richard Frackowiak's team at Hammersmith Hospital in London. There he revolutionised the analysis of positron emission tomography neuroimaging data, developing its parametric statistical analysis and extending it to structural and functional MRI data and electroencephalographic and magnetoencephalographic acquisitions. This is now the most widely used statistical toolbox for neuroimaging in the world. As such, Professor Friston essentially invented modern neuroimaging.

At the same time, Karl Friston revolutionised the conception of brain function at the macro- and mesoscopic levels through the notions of brain specialisation and integration, and functional and effective connectivity. He also used Bayesian statistics in the analysis of neuroimaging data and proposed the minimisation of free energy as a fundamental paradigm for adapting brain models. The generated model was so generic that it would go on to form the basis of all artificial intelligence algorithms.
Scopus indicates that Karl Friston's body of work has more than 1000 articles, an H index of 184, and, above all, more than 150,000 citations. He is the recipient of numerous scientific awards including the Glass Brain Award, the Branch Award, the Weldon Memorial Prize and Medal, the Golden Brain Award, the Wiley Young Investigator Award and an award from the Collège de France, to name but a few. He has honorary doctorates from the Universities of York, Zurich and Radboud.

By awarding this distinction to Professor Karl Friston, the University of Liège would like to highlight the importance of his work in the characterisation of brain function at the meso- and macroscopic level, both in humans with normal brain function and in neurological and psychiatric patients. ULiège also welcomes the advances he has made possible in the simulation of human brain activity and, thus, in the establishment of some of the founding elements of artificial intelligence. Finally, ULiège would like to thank Karl Friston for the fruitful collaboration he has maintained for many years with the GIGA-CRC in vivo imaging teams.

Sa venue à l'Université de Liège sera pour le professeur Karl FRISTON l'occasion de donner une conférence portant sur le principe de l'énergie libre : "The free energy principle". Celle-ci aura lieu le 20 novembre 2021 de 14h00 à 15h00 au Centre de Recherches du Cyclotron (CRC).

DOCTORS HONORIS CAUSA upon proposal by faculties in 2020


Picture © Kate Peters