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NIH Announces Third Round of BRAIN Initiative Funding, Nearly Doubling Its Investment

Legislative Update
October 13, 2016

With the September 30, 2016, end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, on October 13 the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced its third round of grants to support the goals of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, bringing NIH’s total FY2016 investment to more than $150 million. With $46 million initially awarded in FY2014 and $38 million of new funding awarded in FY2015 for a two-year total of $84 million, the FY2016 new funding of more than $70 million—reflecting more than 100 new awards to over 170 investigators working at 60 institutions—nearly doubles the NIH’s total investment in the BI.

The FY2016 awards expand upon NIH’s efforts to develop new tools and technologies to understand neural circuit function and capture a dynamic view of the brain in action.

Vision researchers have successfully competed for BI funding Of the new FY2016 projects, 42 percent engaged vision investigators—either NEI-funded or those studying the brain through the visual route—reflecting $34.1 million, which is 51 percent of the funds for new projects. To-date, vision-related BRAIN awards total $66.4 million, with $32.3 million received in combined FY2014 and FY2015 awards.

The BI, announced in April 2013 by President Obama, was proposed to be funded in FY2014 at $110 million, with $40 million from NIH, $50 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and $20 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF), in addition to funding from private foundations, private research institutions, and industry. NIH’s initial $40 million commitment grew by $6 million by the time that the initial awards were announced.