Launching of The Brain Initiative

02/04/2013View on timeline


[…] by the early twenty-first century it had taken shape in an immense range of products and initiatives, from amateurish self-help booklets to the one-billion-euro Human Brain Project and the three-billion-dollar BRAIN Initiative, both launched in 2013.


A central feature of such range is that, instead of composing a hierarchy where the 'scientific' merely inspires the 'popular,' it configures a sort of endless ribbon where forms of knowledge and practice circulate in all directions, sometimes colliding but generally driving one another and feeding into one another. In the early twenty-first century, those processes belong in a framework where, as the projects just mentioned illustrate, neuroscience has turned into 'big science' and increasingly into a science of 'big data' (see, for example, Cunningham and Yu 2014) that has even opened itself to crowdsourcing and citizen participation.

Vidal, Fernando and Ortega, Francisco. Being Brains: Making the Cerebral Subject (Forms of Living) (...

President Barack Obama is introduced by Dr. Francis Collins, Director, National Institutes of Health...
If we want to make the best products, we also have to invest in the best ideas... Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy... Today, our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer’s… Now is not the time to gut these job-creating investments in science and innovation. Now is the time to reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the Space Race.
President Barack Obama, 2013 State of the Union

On April 2, 2013, at a White House event, the President Barack Obama unveiled a bold new research initiative designed to revolutionize our understanding of the human brain. Launched with approximately $100 million in the President’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget, the BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative ultimately aims to help researchers find new ways to treat, cure, and even prevent brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury.

By this occasion, the BRAIN Initiative main enunciated objective was to accelerate the development and application of new technologies that will enable researchers to produce dynamic pictures of the brain that show how individual brain cells and complex neural circuits interact at the speed of thought. These technologies are supposed to open new doors to explore how the brain records, processes, uses, stores, and retrieves vast quantities of information, and shed light on the complex links between brain function and behavior.

This initiative was announced as one of the Obama's administration “Grand Challenges” – ambitious but achievable goals that require advances in science and technology. In his remarks at the launching of the Program, the President called on companies, research universities, foundations, and philanthropists to join with him in identifying and pursuing the Grand Challenges of the 21st century.

Learn more on the link below:

White House Archives

President Obama Speaks on the BRAIN Initiative and American Innovation

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Published in 25/09/2018

Updated in 19/02/2021

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Invalid DateThe Decade of the BrainThe Decade of the Brain
Invalid DateLaunching of The Brain InitiativeLaunching of The Brain Initiative