Goals of ACD BRAIN Initiative Working Group 2.0 and Neuroethics Subgroup
The BRAIN Initiative, announced in April 2013, called for a bold and ambitious ten-year effort to accelerate the development and use of tools to improve our fundamental understanding of how the human brain and nervous system function in health and disease. The Initiative’s strategic plan was initially outlined by a Working Group of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director (ACD). In 2014, after incorporating input from several public workshops, the Working Group published BRAIN 2025, a scientific vision that coalesced support for BRAIN across the neuroscience community and has been embraced by BRAIN allies both nationally and internationally.
By all accounts, the first few years of the BRAIN Initiative have been enormously successful. Through 2019, NIH’s total investment of approximately $1.3 billion has led to over 700 BRAIN awards to hundreds of investigators, resulting in myraid publications to date. This momentum is on an upward trajectory, with the 21st Century Cures Innovation Funds providing a total of $1.511 billion towards this critical research endeavor through fiscal year 2026.
As the NIH BRAIN Initiative rapidly approached its halfway point, the ACD BRAIN Initiative Working Group 2.0 was asked assess BRAIN’s progress and advances within the context of the original BRAIN 2025 report, identify key opportunities to apply new and emerging tools to revolutionize our understanding of brain circuits, and designate valuable areas of continued technology development. To read the official charge to the group and to view the roster, please visit the official ACD BRAIN Initiative Working Group 2.0 page.
Alongside, the BRAIN Neuroethics Subgroup was tasked with considering the ethical implications of ongoing research and forecasting what the future of BRAIN advancements might entail, crafting a neuroethics "roadmap" for the Initiative. To read the offical charge to the group and to view the roster, please visit the official Neuroethics Subgroup page.
Soliciting Your Input on BRAIN’s Strategic Plan
The ACD BRAIN Initiative Working Group 2.0 gathered public input to assess the neuroscience landscape broadly to help inform strategic guidance for the second half of the BRAIN Initiative.
We held a Town Hall during the 4th annual BRAIN Initiative Investigators’ Meeting to introduce our working group members and to open a discussion on how to build upon the BRAIN 2025 framework as we enter the second half of the Initiative. In addition, a videocast of the group’s announcement by NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins can be viewed.
Subsequently, both groups conducted portfolio reviews on the BRAIN Initiative, referencing the BRAIN 2025 strategic plan. Additional workshops and Town Halls were held, which are described below, leading to the release of draft reports in the spring of 2019.
The ACD Working Group 2.0 and Neuroethics Subgroup requested public input on their respective draft reports through a Request for Information (NOT-NS-19-041), before revising their findings as appropriate. The findings and analysis from the public comment period was presented to the Advisory Committee to the Director, NIH, for consideration at their public meeting on June 14, 2019. Following feedback from the ACD at that meeting, the groups worked on the documents before presenting again at a public teleconference on October 21, 2019, at which point the ACD endorsed the BRAIN 2.0 companion reports (BRAIN Initiative 2.0 report and Neuroethics Roadmap report). NIH Director, Dr. Francis Collins accepted the ACD endorsed reports and NIH will carefully consider how to integrate both sets of findings in future BRAIN Initiative priorities and investments.
The ACD BRAIN Initiative Working Group 2.0 and Neuroethics Subgroup held a series of public, cross-country workshops and events to solicit input and expert consultations from leaders in the field, as well as to hear from stakeholders in the scientific community and the general public.
These workshops and events occurred across the country, hosted by members of the working group and at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, in order to broadly gather input from the neuroscience community. Workshops, featuring sessions that were videocast and open to the public, included presentations and panel discussions by scientific speakers, broader discussion with the working group, and opportunities for public comment. Videocast links and other materials are available below.
Friday, August 24, 2018, at Harvard University in Boston, MA
- Topic: Human Neuroscience
- Register now for the August 24, 2018 workshop
- August 24, 2018 Agenda (PDF - 190 KB)
- August 24, 2018 videocast link
- August 24, 2018 Executive Summary (PDF - 135 KB)
Friday, September 21, 2018, at the University of Chicago in Chicago, IL
- Topic: Looking Ahead – Emerging Opportunities
- Register now for the September 21, 2018 workshop
- September 21, 2018 agenda (PDF - 409 KB)
- September 21, 2018 videocast
- September 21, 2018 Executive Summary (PDF - 172 KB)
Thursday, October 4, 2018, at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX
- Topic: From Experiments to Theory and Back
- Register now for the October 4, 2018 workshop
- October 4, 2018 agenda (PDF - 426 KB)
- October 4, 2018 videocast
- October 4, 2018 Executive Summary (PDF - 174 KB)
Sunday, November 4, 2018, at the annual Society for Neuroscience Meeting in San Diego, CA
- BRAIN Initiative Town Hall with BRAIN Initiative Alliance Networking Event - Sunday, November 4, 2018, at the annual Society for Neuroscience Meeting in San Diego, CA
- Time: 6:30pm - 9pm
- Location: Marriott Marquis, San Diego Ballrooms BC
Wednesday, January 23, 2019, at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
- ACD BRAIN Initiative Working Group 2.0 Neuroethics Subgroup Workshop
- Agenda (PDF - 148 KB)
- Summary (PDF - 933 KB)
Thursday, April 11, 2019, at the 5th Annual BRAIN Initiative Investigators Meeting in Washington, D.C.
- Advisory Committee to the Director BRAIN Initiative Working Group 2.0 Town Hall
- Time: 5:30pm-6:30pm
- Location: Salon 2 & 3 in the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel
Friday, June 14, 2019, at the 118th Meeting of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director
- ACD BRAIN Initiative Working Group 2.0 report presentation
- BRAIN Neuoethics Subgroup report presentation
Monday, October 21, 2019, Teleconference of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director
- ACD BRAIN Initiative Working Group 2.0 endorsed report (PDF- 2.0 MB)
- BRAIN Neuroethics Subgroup endorsed report (PDF- 687 KB)