This week, the American National Institute for Health (NIH) released the first funds (46 billion dollars) for “The Brain Initiative”, the project launched by President Obama in April 2013 and dedicated to research on the human brain.
According to an NIH press release, “this initial funding for research contracts is part of a twelve-year programme aimed at developing the necessary tools and technologies to advance our understanding of the brain”. Fifty-eight projects in the United States and abroad will be financed and based on three key research strategies:
- To create the next generation of brain imaging techniques,
- To develop methods for recording brain activity on a major scale,
- To devise computer models to understand the functions of specific neurone circuits.
Dr.Thomas Insel, Director of the National Institute for Mental Health stated that the ultimate aim of The Brain Initiative is to “understand how billions of brain cells control our thoughts, feelings, emotions and movements” in order to find new treatments for diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and autism, etc.
The Brain Initiative will be largely financed by private funds (Simon’s Foundation, Pittsburgh University, General Electric, Google and GlaxoSmthKine, etc.).
Remember that The Brain Initiative is “competing” with the Human Brain Project, the European brain research project, which is currently flailing (Gènéthique press review on July 9th, 2014).