ACD Working Group

Goals of ACD BRAIN Initiative Working Group 2.0

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. As of January 2018, NIH’s total investment of approximately $559 million has led to 368 BRAIN awards to more than 500 investigators, resulting in more than 330 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 approaches its halfway point, the ACD BRAIN Initiative Working Group 2.0 will 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.

Soliciting Your Input on BRAIN’s Strategic Plan  

The ACD BRAIN Initiative Working Group 2.0 will be gathering public input and assessing the neuroscience landscape broadly to help inform strategic guidance for the second half of the BRAIN Initiative. Please check back often for opportunities to offer input and feedback into this process.

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.

We addressed all the questions we could, and encourage you to submit additional questions to: In addition, a videocast of the group’s announcement by NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins can be viewed.

The ACD Working Group on BRAIN 2.0 Neuroethics Subgroup (BNS) was formed to develop a Neuroethics Roadmap for the NIH BRAIN Initiative; review priority areas identified in the BRAIN 2025 (pdf, 1.2 mb) Strategic Plan, incorporating updates from the broader BRAIN 2.0 Working Group; and characterize the neuroethical implications that may arise as BRAIN Initiative investments produce new tool/neurotechnologies, and/or those tools/neurotechnologies are applied to advancing the goals of the NIH BRAIN Initiative.

The BNS has conducted a portfolio review and held a public workshop on neuroethical issues posed by research through the BRAIN Initiative. The BNS would now appreciate comments from the public on draft findings and analysis detailed in a Neuroethics Roadmap. The Neuroethics Subgroup has also provided analysis and findings to the Working Group on BRAIN 2.0 for inclusion in the Working Group’s initial thoughts. The public comment period on the Neuroethics Roadmap has closed. The findings and analysis from the BNS will be presented to the Advisory Committee to the Director, NIH, for consideration at a public meeting on Jun 13-14, 2019.


The ACD BRAIN Initiative Working Group 2.0 is holding 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 are taking place 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 will be videocast and open to the public, will include presentations and panel discussions by scientific speakers, broader discussion with the working group, and opportunities for public comment.

If you are unable to attend the workshops in-person, they will be available via videocast. Please check back for the videocast links.

Workshop Details:

Friday, August 24, 2018, at Harvard University in Boston, MA

Friday, September 21, 2018, at the University of Chicago in Chicago, IL

Thursday, October 4, 2018, at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX

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
    This open event will solicit input on the planning efforts of the BRAIN Initiative Working Group of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director (ACD) through a public town hall and networking session. It will offer the opportunity for BRAIN Initiative grantees, BRAIN Initiative Alliance members, and interested researchers and other public/private groups, to meet the BRAIN ACD Working Group, network, and learn more about the BRAIN Initiative and its wide range of public and private BRAIN funders.
    This event is open to the public and registration at the annual SfN meeting is not required to attend.
  • Videocast
  • Contact: Kristin Dupre, PhD, NIH NINDS, Email: Phone: 301-496-1673
    Stephanie Albin, PhD, The Kavli Foundation, Email: 
  • View the full list of Satellite Events