BRAIN Initiative Working Group Recommends Far-Sighted 10-Year Plan for Game-Changing Brain Research

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Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Francis Collins

On Thursday, June 5th, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., embraced a “bold” and “game-changing” plan presented for the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative announced early last year. This final proposal of the BRAIN Working Group of the Advisory Committee to the Director lays out a long-term scientific vision and calls for a 10-year $4.5 billion investment in brain research.

The BRAIN Initiative seeks to harness both public and private investment in a multi-year, broad-based research program to “unlock” the mysteries of the brain and help researchers find new ways to treat, cure, and even prevent brain disorders. “How the brain works and gives rise to our mental and intellectual lives will be the most exciting and challenging area of science in the 21st century,” said Dr. Collins, 2014 Foundation Productive Lives Awardee. “As a result of this concerted effort, new technologies will be invented, new industries spawned, and new treatments and even cures discovered for devastating disorders and diseases of the brain and nervous system.”

The report lays out seven primary goals to achieve the ambitious vision to map the circuits of the brain, measure the fluctuating patterns of electrical and chemical activity flowing within those circuits, and understand how their interplay creates our unique cognitive and behavioral capabilities. In addition to the NIH, the BRAIN Initiative will be jointly led by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation and the Food and Drug Administration. Private, philanthropic foundations are also joining in to augment the overall investment and support the vision.

By funding Young, Independent and Distinguished Investigators through our NARSAD Grants, we can also provide critical support to realize the goals of this ambitious endeavor and support breakthroughs to improve the lives of our loved ones in this lifetime.

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