IEEE Brain

Posted on April 10th, 2019

Institute of Electrical Electronic Engineers (IEEE) is the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity.  IEEE has 39 Societies that provide benefits to members within specialized fields of interest (e.g., communications, magnetics, and power). IEEE also has 7 Technical Councils which consist of groups of Societies working together in broad areas of technology.  IEEE Societies and Technical Councils produce over 180 publications and sponsor, co-sponsor, and technically sponsor over 1,900 conferences each year round the world.

IEEE logo

IEEE also develops Technical Communities around particular technology challenges or cutting-edge subject areas.  The IEEE Brain Initiative was formed in the fall of 2015 to create a technical community to facilitate cross-disciplinary collaboration and coordination to advance research, standardization, and development of engineering and technology to improve our understanding of the brain to treat diseases and to improve human condition.  As an IEEE-wide effort, the IEEE Brain Initiative unites engineering and computing expertise across IEEE Societies and Councils relevant to neuroscience, and provides an avenue for IEEE to work with multiple constituencies in academia, industry and government to incubate and sponsor new activities, projects, and standards that facilitate bringing neurotechnology to market in an ethical and responsible manner.

IEEE is not a funding agency.  IEEE provides benefits and resources to the community through publications,conferences, standards, education, competitions, and networking.  Below are some activities and resources by IEEE Brain that might be of interest to the brain community:


Simons Foundation

Posted on October 26th, 2016

The Simons Foundation’s mission is to advance the frontiers of research in mathematics and the basic sciences. Its Simons Collaboration on the Global Brain (SCGB) aims to expand our understanding of the role of internal brain processes in order to discover the nature, role and mechanisms of the neural activity associated with cognition. SCGB investigators seek to identify and characterize general principles of neural coding and dynamics in order to uncover a mechanistic understanding of brain function.

The Simons Foundation also supports other large-scale programs performing science consistent with that of the BRAIN Initiative: the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative, which supports basic research into the underlying causes of autism, and the neuroscience group of the Flatiron Institute’s Center for Computational Biology, which aims to understand how the brain analyzes large and complex datasets streamed by sensory organs, combining experimental and theoretical approaches.

About The Simons Foundation

Cofounded in New York City by Jim and Marilyn Simons, the foundation celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2014.

At its core, the Simons Foundation exists to support basic — or discovery-driven — scientific research, undertaken in pursuit of understanding the phenomena of our world. The foundation’s support of scientists generally takes the form of direct grants to individual investigators and projects, through their academic institutions. The foundation makes grants in four areas: Mathematics and Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, autism research (SFARI) and Education & Outreach. In 2016, the foundation also launched an internal research division, the Flatiron Institute, to advance scientific research through computational methods, including data analysis, modeling and simulation. The institute comprises centers dedicated to development of computational tools for application in astrophysics, biology, quantum physics, and a scientific computing core.

The Simons Foundation seeks to create strong collaborations and foster cross-pollination of ideas between investigators, as these interactions often lead to unexpected breakthroughs and new understanding. In an effort to directly foster such interaction between scientists, in 2012 the foundation launched a new collaborative funding model, the Simons Collaborations, which bring funded investigators — sometimes from different disciplines — together to work on a timely and important problem. To date, five Simons Collaborations have been launched in and across mathematics, physics and the life sciences.

National Science Foundation

Posted on October 26th, 2016

NSF is uniquely positioned to foster BRAIN Initiative research by bringing together a wide range of scientific and engineering disciplines from national and international communities.

NSF empowers those communities to cooperatively pursue and reveal the fundamental principles and processes underlying memories, thoughts and complex behaviors. The NSF BRAIN Initiative aims to generate an array of physical and conceptual tools needed to determine how healthy brains function over the lifespan of humans and other organisms; and to develop a workforce to create and implement these tools to establish a more comprehensive understanding of how thoughts, memories and actions emerge from the dynamic activities in the brain.



About NSF

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…” With an annual budget of $7.5 billion (FY 2016), we are the funding source for approximately 24 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing.

National Institutes of Health

Posted on October 26th, 2016

The NIH component of the BRAIN Initiative is guided by its long-term scientific plan, BRAIN 2025: A Scientific Vision, which includes seven high-priority research areas.

Scientific areas include discovering the diversity of brain cell types to determine their roles in health and disease, creating maps at multiple scales from synapses to the whole brain, imaging the brain in action, linking brain activity to behavior, developing theoretical and data analysis tools, and advancing human neuroscience with innovative stimulating and recording technologies. Finally, it will be important to integrate technological and conceptual approaches to understand brain function in both health and disease.

As the NIH BRAIN Initiative approached its halfway point, a new Working Group of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director (ACD) assessed BRAIN’s progress and advances within the context of the original BRAIN 2025 report, identified key opportunities to apply new and emerging tools to revolutionize our understanding of brain circuits, and designated valuable areas of continued technology development.  Alongside, the BRAIN Neuroethics Subgroup was tasked with considering the ethical implications of ongoing research and forecasting what the future of BRAIN advancements might entail, crafting a neuroethics “roadmap” for the Initiative. The reports, The BRAIN Initiative 2.0: From Cells to Circuits, Toward Cures and The BRAIN Initiative® and Neuroethics: Enabling and Enhancing Neuroscience Advances for Society were endorsed by the ACD on October 21, 2019. NIH Director, Dr. Francis Collins accepted the ACD endorsed reports and NIH will carefully consider how to integrate both sets of findings in future BRAIN Initiative priorities and investments.



About The NIH

NIH’s mission is to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability.

The goals of the agency are:

  • to foster fundamental creative discoveries, innovative research strategies, and their applications as a basis for ultimately protecting and improving health;
  • to develop, maintain, and renew scientific human and physical resources that will ensure the Nation’s capability to prevent disease;
  • to expand the knowledge base in medical and associated sciences in order to enhance the Nation’s economic well-being and ensure a continued high return on the public investment in research; and
  • to exemplify and promote the highest level of scientific integrity, public accountability, and social responsibility in the conduct of science.

In realizing these goals, the NIH provides leadership and direction to programs designed to improve the health of the Nation by conducting and supporting research:

  • in the causes, diagnosis, prevention, and cure of human diseases;
  • in the processes of human growth and development;
  • in the biological effects of environmental contaminants;
  • in the understanding of mental, addictive and physical disorders; and
  • in directing programs for the collection, dissemination, and exchange of information in medicine and health, including the development and support of medical libraries and the training of medical librarians and other health information specialists.

The Kavli Foundation

Posted on October 26th, 2016

After playing an important role in the development of the BRAIN Initiative, The Kavli Foundation continues to support the Initiative through a variety of mechanisms, briefly described below.

Kavli Coffee Hours

Soon after the BRAIN Initiative was announced in 2013, The Kavli Foundation introduced Kavli BRAIN Coffee Hours at university campuses across the country, aiming to help scientists forge new professional networks, and develop collaborations with entirely new disciplines that have well-established traditions of tool development and dissemination. To date, the Foundation has sponsored Kavli BRAIN Coffee Hours at 23 campuses throughout the U.S.

Neurodata Without Borders

While progress in modern science is enabled by data sharing, there are many obstacles that limit open exchange of data, particularly in neuroscience. In mid-2014, The Kavli Foundation, along with a consortium of researchers and foundations with a shared interest in breaking down the obstacles to data sharing, initiated a program called Neurodata Without Borders (NWB,  NWB continues to fund pilot programs that break down the geographic, institutional, technological and policy barriers that impede the flow of neuroscience data to the scientific community.

Kavli Institutes

In 2015, The Kavli Foundation established three new Kavli Neuroscience Institutes which joined 17 existing Kavli Institutes around the globe focusing on research in the Foundation’s core science fields of neuroscience, nanoscience, astrophysics, and theoretical physics. Kavli Institutes provide unrestricted endowed funds that enable scientists to flexibly pursue transformative research questions.  


About The Kavli Foundation

The Kavli Foundation is dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of humanity, promoting public understanding of scientific research, and supporting scientists and their work.

The Foundation’s mission is implemented through an international program of research institutes, scientific society collaborations, initiatives and cross-disciplinary meetings in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, neuroscience, and theoretical physics as well as prizes in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, and neuroscience.

Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity

Posted on October 26th, 2016

As part of its mission to invest in high-risk, high-payoff research to tackle the most difficult challenges facing the Intelligence Community, IARPA sponsors several applied research programs that use multidisciplinary approaches to advance our understanding of cognition and computation in the brain.


The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) invests in high-risk, high-payoff research programs to tackle the most difficult challenges facing the United States Intelligence Community (IC).

IARPA collaborates across the IC to ensure that our research addresses relevant future needs. This cross-community focus ensures our ability to:

  • address cross-agency challenges
  • leverage both operational and R&D expertise from across the IC
  • coordinate transition strategies with our agency partners

IARPA does not have an operational mission and does not deploy technologies directly to the field. Instead, IARPA facilitates the transition of research results to our IC customers for operational application.

Food and Drug Administration

Posted on October 26th, 2016

FDA supports the BRAIN Initiative by enhancing the transparency and predictability of the regulatory landscape for neurological devices and assisting developers and innovators of medical.

FDA remains committed to continuing its role under the BRAIN Initiative in making as transparent as possible the regulatory framework applicable to neurological devices and thereby helping to bring safe and effective products to patients and consumers.

About The FDA

FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.

FDA is also responsible for advancing the public health by helping to speed innovations that make medicines more effective, safer, and more affordable and by helping the public get the accurate, science-based information they need to use medicines and foods to maintain and improve their health. FDA also has responsibility for regulating the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of tobacco products to protect the public health and to reduce tobacco use by minors.

Finally, FDA plays a significant role in the Nation’s counterterrorism capability. FDA fulfills this responsibility by ensuring the security of the food supply and by fostering development of medical products to respond to deliberate and naturally emerging public health threats.

Allen Institute for Brain Science

Posted on October 26th, 2016

The Allen Institute for Brain Science is a leader in large-scale brain research and open, public sharing of data, tools and knowledge for scientists worldwide through

As part of a ten-year project launched in March 2012 to understand the neural code — how brain activity leads to perception, decision making, and ultimately action — the Allen Institute has created a set of large-scale programs to understand the fundamentals of the brain through its components, computations and cognition. These programs build upon the Institute’s abilities to create unique resources for scientists, exemplified in the two most recent resources: the Allen Cell Types Database, the first major scientific step to create a searchable standards database for the brain, and the Allen Brain Observatory, the first tool of its kind to provide a highly standardized survey of cellular-level activity in the mouse visual system.

About The Allen Institute for Brain Science

Our brains are what make us human. They give rise to our thoughts, actions, movements and desires, store our memories, and enable us to navigate our world every day. Yet despite decades of research—and impressive knowledge gathered about other aspects of the human body, including our entire genetic sequence—the brain remains largely a mystery.

The Allen Institute for Brain Science was established to answer some of the most pressing questions in neuroscience, grounded in an understanding of the brain and inspired by our quest to uncover the essence of what makes us human.

Our model for doing science is unlike most any other research institution. Using the original guiding principles—team science, big science and open science—and a unique program structure, the Allen Institute aims to accelerate research worldwide through public releases of new data, knowledge and tools.