Brain scientists may be getting what they asked for this Christmas — six new funding opportunities to develop tools and technologies for understanding the brain. The National Institutes of Health announced the funding opportunities yesterday (Dec. 17) as part of President Barack Obama's Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative.
The NIH has pledged $40 million in funding that reflects "high-priority" research areas identified by the BRAIN Working Group in September. These include classifying cell types and mapping the brain, developing tools to record from and control brain circuits, and forming interdisciplinary teams to develop new brain imaging technologies. The agency expects to announce the awards in September 2014.
"Scientists need new tools to be able to dissect the roles of particular neurons in the circuits underlying how we think and behave, and to learn which brain cells are disrupted by neurological disorders. These initiatives should provide them,” Story Landis, director of the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, said in a statement.
The BRAIN Initiative is an interagency effort led by the NIH, NSF, DARPA and private organizations. Obama describe the effort as “giving scientists the tools they need to get a dynamic picture of the brain in action and better understand how we think, how we learn, and how we remember.”
The government agencies have pledged a combined total of $110 million in the 2014 fiscal year.