The President’s Fiscal Year 2015 (which starts on October 1, but likely won’t get funded until next February) budget rollout includes doubling support for the BRAIN (Brain Research though Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative. The $100 million multi-agency (National Institutes of Health, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and National Science Foundation) public-private effort will have some of its first funding awards later this year.
A compatible project in Europe, the Human Brain Project, recently announced a dramatic expansion of its consortium. While not providing funding support at a comparable level, the HBP just added 32 research organizations from 13 countries. It’s focus is on developing a model for brain function, while BRAIN is focused more on imaging and controlling brain activity. As you might suspect, there are already informal collaborations between HBP and BRAIN supported institutions. The two projects opted to make it official just recently. But it’s not publicly official, as there are still some wrinkles to be worked out. Chief among them are the differences in medical ethics and data sharing practices and regulations between the European Union and the U.S.