According to an official White House statement, “the initiative aims to help researchers find new ways to treat, cure, and even prevent brain disorders.”
On Tuesday President Barack Obama announced the Brain Research Through Advancing Innovating Technologies Initiative, or BRAIN Initiative, a broad research project dedicated to developing new scientific technologies and funding research to understand the human brain better. According to an official White House statement, “the initiative aims to help researchers find new ways to treat, cure, and even prevent brain disorders.”
In his 2013 Inaugural Address, President Obama stressed the importance of research and development investment in order to create jobs and reinvigorate scientific research, which has been significantly reduced since the end of the Space Race amid budget struggles. He compared the new BRAIN Initiative to the Human Genome Project, citing that the latter contributed $140 back to the economy for every dollar that was spent on it. The president’s pitch included the potential economic and technological benefits that government-funded research projects could unexpectedly produce. Some scientists hope that federal money towards research and development could help send neuroscience in a new direction.
Although Congress is working towards reducing the federal budget, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor expressed willingness to support the BRAIN Initiative. “Mapping the brain is exactly the type of research we should be funding” said Cantor. The project would be funded $100 million annually through support from the National Institutes of Health, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Science Foundation. President Obama’s 2014 budget is expected to be released early next week.