By Jen Buss
A year ago, the President announced the BRAIN Initiative specifically charged as “a bold new research effort to revolutionize our understanding of the human mind and uncover new ways to treat, prevent, and cure brain disorders like Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, autism, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury.” These diseases affect less than 5% of the population.
Neuroscience and technology will affect our entire society, not just people with these diseases. Neuroscience will be able to help
- veterans recover and help get them jobs,
- students excel in school and become the best and brightest in the world to stay on top of other countries, and
- bring new industries that will create jobs and new economies.
In order to do this, we need to expand the current BRAIN initiative to a National Neurotechnology Initiative (NNTI). We need an initiative that will benefit the public good and be of national interest. The NNTI will be a national effort that will affect the whole population, not just a fraction of the population. We need to do something the public can believe in, be proud of, and see results. Neurotechnology is going to revolutionize the world and have profound effects on the way society interacts together and societies interact with each other.
The government can enable these changes rather than sit back and watch them happen before it is too late to guide our society. Now is the time to act to create the National Neurotechnology Initiative. This Initiative should
- focus Federal Investment in key research areas,
- follow an investment roadmap, and
- coordinate these investment efforts through a National Neuroscience and technology Coordination Office.
Through these three tasks, the government can succeed in expanding the BRAIN Initiative. The National Neurotechnology Initiative is the only solution for the future of neuroscience in our society.