Obama announces plans to fund brain research project

Nicole Lafond | Contributor

President Barack Obama announced Tuesday that he plans to include a $100 million brain research initiative in his budget proposal to Congress next week.

The $100 million of federal funding will kick start the BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies).

The initiative will be similar to the Human Genome Project, and will help find cures for brain diseases as well as create jobs and grow the economy, Obama said at the pitch of the research project Tuesday morning at the White House.

“The BRAIN Initiative will accelerate the development and application of new technologies that will enable researchers to produce dynamic pictures of the brain that show how individual brain cells and complex neural circuits interact at the speed of thought,” the White House said in a statement preceding the official announcement Tuesday morning.

The president believes the project will pay for itself eventually, much like the Human Genome Project did, which mapped the entire course of human DNA. Completed in 2003 the project had paid $140 for every federally invested dollar, ABC News reported.

The funding for the brain project will be made available in the fiscal year of 2014 and will come from the National Institute of Health, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Science Foundation, CNN reported.

Obama alluded to requesting this type of funding to increase levels of research in the U.S. during his State of the Union Address in February.

Although Congress is working to decrease the federal deficit, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said the brain research initiative is the kind of research that the federal government should be funding.

“[We should] reprioritiz[e] the $250 million we currently spend on political and social science research into expanded medical research, including the expedited mapping of the human brain. It’s great science,” Cantor said in a statement, according to ABC News.

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