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The National Institutes of Health is Working to Launch the BRAIN Initiative

First Posted: Jun 06, 2014 11:31 AM EDT
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About a year ago, President Obama announced the "launch" of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. The National Institutes of Health approved an agenda and new funding plan on Thursday.

The project officially began earlier this year when $110 million was budgeted for the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). However, many were concerned about the money, since the NIH already sinks $4.5 billion annually into neuroscience research. The NIH approved a new funding agenda just yesterday, increasing funds from year to year.

"Today, the BRAIN Working Group presented its final report to the Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD), which accepted its recommendations," said Francis S. Collins, the Director of the NIH, in this news release. "I am excited about the bold vision laid out for BRAIN by this distinguished group of scientists, and have accepted the recommendations in their entirety."

In the first year, DARPA was given $50 million to research the dynamic functions of the brain and demonstrate breakthrough applications based on the findings. The NIH was given $40 million to develop new tools, training opportunities, and other resources. The NSF was given $20 to support local research that spans physical, biological, social, and behavioral sciences.

The research will aim to reveal new understanding about the human brain as well as search for ways to treat, prevent, and cure serious diseases and ailments such as Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, autism, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, among others. Other partners of the BRAIN Initiative include: The Allen Institute for Brain Science (will receive $60 million annually once funding kicks in); Howard Hughes Medical Institute ($30 million annually); Kavli Foundation ($4 million annually); and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies ($28 million annually). Along with others involved, each partner has a specific focus and goal to reach.

The report accepted on Thursday emphasizes the focus on technology development for the program's first five years, followed by the use of new technology in scientific inquiry in the following five years. President Obama hopes the BRAIN Initiative will fuel innovation, job creation, and economic growth over the next ten years.

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