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New Investments to Help Unlock the Mysteries of the Brain

The President’s 2017 Budget proposes increasing funding for the BRAIN Initiative to more than $434 million. We invite organizations to help advance the Initiative.

In the less than three years since the launch of President Obama’s Brain Research through Advancing Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, significant progress has been made to advance the development of tools and technologies to improve our understanding of brain function.

The BRAIN Initiative continues to grow, and the President’s 2017 Budget proposes increasing funding from about $300 million in FY 2016 to more than $434 million in FY 2017. This is a more than four-fold increase since the initial investment of $100 million in the BRAIN Initiative in FY2014.

This increased investment will support a wide range of interdisciplinary projects aimed at developing and applying cutting-edge technologies to create a dynamic picture of the brain in action, providing the critical knowledge base for researchers seeking new ways to treat brain disorders. This includes projects from six Federal agencies: the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and—joining the initiative this year—the Department of Energy (DOE).

Although a great deal has been accomplished through the BRAIN Initiative, there is still much to do. President Obama has called for this initiative to be a collaborative, cross-sector effort, one that includes companies, health systems, patient-advocacy organizations, philanthropists, foundations, and universities and private research institutes—all of which play a unique and critical role in fostering advances in neuroscience and combating diseases of the brain.

As we look ahead to the third anniversary of the BRAIN Initiative in April, we are calling on everyone around the country to join the Administration in advancing the initiative. For example, when the President unveiled the BRAIN Initiative, he announced investments being made by foundations and non-profit research institutes such as the Allen Institute for Brain Science, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Kavli Foundation. On September 30, 2014, the White House announced additional commitments from foundations, companies, universities, and non-profit organizations.

Share your ideas about your new or expanded commitment to support the BRAIN Initiative:

Activities that could advance the goals of the BRAIN Initiative include:

  • Basic and translational research and shared research facilities at universities and private research institutes.
  • University-wide research initiatives to support seed grants promoting interdisciplinary collaboration and investment in young scientists.
  • Regional “clusters” to create public-private partnerships and to connect scientists’ work and accomplishments with stakeholders in your community.
  • Efforts by patient-advocacy organizations to accelerate the development of diagnostics, treatments, and cures.
  • Information technology infrastructure that improves researchers’ abilities to store, share, visualize, and analyze the huge volumes of data generated in the course of neuroscience research.
  • Education and training programs to prepare the next generation of scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs to examine brain function, and to enable individuals and institutions to rapidly disseminate research tools and techniques developed through the BRAIN Initiative.
  • K-12 science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning initiatives to increase awareness and understanding of neuroscience and neurotechnology, and the importance of STEM learning in treating, preventing, and curing neurological disease.
  • Initiatives to accelerate economic growth, job creation, and innovation in neurotechnologies, such as diagnostics, therapeutics, medical devices, and brain-inspired computing.
  • Incentive prizes.

Learn more: