BRAIN Initiative Request for Information (RFI) 2019

The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative is a trans-agency effort with public and private partners started in 2014 with the goal of understanding how the brain works. The NIH has been guided thus far by BRAIN 2025: A Scientific Vision, which outlined a set of Advisory Committee to the NIH Director (ACD) recommendations, endorsed by the NIH, based on scientific input from the community. This document describes the overarching vision, scientific priority areas, and specific goals for the BRAIN Initiative® that NIH has used to guide its investments. In the last five years, NIH has implemented the recommendations from this strategic vision and issued multiple Funding Opportunity Announcements aimed at reaching its goals. From these awards, the scientific community has made much progress in identifying and manipulating neural circuits using newly developed neurotechnologies (see This scientific progress necessitates, as the original Working Group of the ACD anticipated, revisiting the BRAIN 2025 recommendations and updating the prospective implementation of the BRAIN Initiative accordingly.

In 2018 NIH established both a new BRAIN Initiative Working Group of the ACD and a BRAIN Initiative Neuroethics Subgroup to review recent scientific progress and propose updates to the BRAIN Initiative scientific and neuroethical strategic plans for the ACD’s consideration. The Working Group has hosted multiple public workshops, town halls, and a previous request for information to obtain feedback on the progress and future of the BRAIN Initiative.

Using this information, the Working Group of the ACD is sharing its initial thoughts for guiding the next stage of the BRAIN Initiative (, and is requesting public input. The BRAIN Initiative Working Group of the ACD will use the responses received through this request for information (NOT-NS-19-041) to revise their findings as appropriate before finalizing a plan for ACD consideration in June 2019.

NIH is soliciting input from all interested stakeholders, including members of the scientific community, the private sector, health professionals, professional societies, advocacy groups, patient communities, and other interested members of the public.

Executive Summary

The Advisory Committee to the NIH Director BRAIN Initiative Working Group 2.0, formed in April 2018, has been working tirelessly to understand how best to adapt the strategic plan for the NIH BRAIN Initiative in response to the evolving scientific landscape. Through portfolio review, public scientific workshops, and public town hall dialogues, the Working Group has learned much about the progress and potential for the Initiative. The text represents their thoughts on potential changes to the specific goals outlined in BRAIN 2025: A Scientific Vision, including the identification of new opportunities for research and technology development, within a solid ethical framework, to ensure BRAIN Initiative research is of the utmost value to the public it intends to serve. Following a 30-day public comment period, the Working Group will review all responses as they iterate the final version of a Report that they will present to the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director (ACD) at their meeting on June 13th and 14th, 2019.  The ACD will consider the Working Group’s findings before providing their recommendations to NIH Director, Dr. Francis Collins. 


Responses to this request for information must be submitted electronically using this web-based form or via email to with "BRAIN RFI" in the subject line. To ensure consideration, your responses must be received by May 15, 2019.

Responses to this request for information are voluntary. Individual feedback will not be provided to any responder. Proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information should not be included in your response. This request for information is for planning purposes only and is not a solicitation for applications or an obligation on the part of the United States (U.S.) Government to provide support for any ideas identified in response to it. Please note that the U.S. Government will not pay for the preparation of any comment submitted or for its use of that comment.



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