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NIH Announces Second Round of BRAIN Initiative Funding, with To-Date Total at $85 Million

Legislative Update
October 3, 2015

With the September 30 close of Fiscal Year (FY) 2015, on October 1 the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced $38 million in the second round of awards associated with the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative (BI), also known as BRAIN 2025. With $46 million awarded in FY2014, the to-date total of NIH investment is $85 million.

The $38 million reflects 67 new awards which will go to 131 investigators working at 125 institutions across the United States and in eight other countries. As NIH notes in its press release, these awards “expand its efforts to develop new tools and technologies to understand neural circuit function and capture a dynamic view of the brain in action.”

The National Eye Institute (NEI) has reviewed the grant history for all key personnel from each of the 67 new BRAIN awards, with 14 of the 67, or 21 percent, including a current or former NEI grantee. This reflects $10.7 million, or 28 percent, of the total new $38 million in funding. In the first round of BI funding, the NEI reported that “vision did very well.” Of the 58 total BI awards, 18 went to teams with NEI-supported Principal Investigators (PIs), while another six were vision-centered proposals, and out of the $46 million awarded, $16 million went to the teams with NEI-supported PIs, while another $6 million went to the vision-centered proposals.

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.