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President Announces BRAIN Initiative

April 5, 2013—President Obama and National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., April 2 announced a new research collaboration between the federal government and the private sector to revolutionize the understanding of the human brain.

The president said his FY 2014 budget, scheduled to be released April 10, will include initial support for the BRAIN Initiative — short for Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies.  The president said the initiative will give scientists “the tools they need to get a dynamic picture of the brain in action and better understand how we think and how we learn and how we remember.” 

According to a White House fact sheet, the president’s FY 2014 budget will include approximately $110 million divided among NIH ($40 million from the NIH Neuroscience Blueprint), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency ($50 million), and the National Science Foundation ($20 million).

Dr. Collins announced that NIH is establishing a working group to define detailed scientific goals for NIH’s investment, including timetables, milestones, and cost estimates. The working group is being co-chaired by Cornelia "Cori" Bargmann, Ph.D., Rockefeller University; and William Newsome, Ph.D., Stanford University.

The federal research agencies will partner with companies, foundations, and private research institutions that also are investing in relevant neuroscience research, such as the Allen Institute, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Kavli Foundation, and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. 

Until the president’s budget is released, it is unclear whether new funds are being proposed for the project.  However, the prospects for new funding appear dim on Capitol Hill. The Washington Post quoted Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), saying, “This is exciting, important research, and it would be appropriate for the White House to re-prioritize existing research funding into these areas.”

Additional information is available on the White House website.


Dave Moore
Senior Director, Government Relations
Telephone: 202-828-0559


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