Washington Update

President Obama Unveils Initiative to Unlock Mysteries of the Human Brain

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Brain PictureOn April 2, 2013, President Obama and National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., launched the "Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies" (Brain Initiative), a decade-long project between the federal government and the private sector to revolutionize how we understand the human brain. In a press conference to announce the project, the President stated, “As humans, we can identify galaxies light years away, we can study particles smaller than an atom. But we still haven’t unlocked the mystery of the three pounds of matter that sits between our ears.”

The project is designed to support research that examines the ways by which people think, learn, and remember. The project aims to produce a map of the inner workings of the brain, seeking answers to such challenges as Epilepsy, Autism, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Federal research agencies will partner with companies, foundations, and private research institutions that are investing in relevant neuroscience research. The President proposes a significant investment by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to help get the project off the ground. The President’s FY 2014 budget includes $100 million to provide initial support for the initiative.

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