The BRAIN Initiative

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The U.S. Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative (BRAIN Initiative) is a broad, collaborative research initiative to advance the science and technologies needed to unlock the mysteries of the human brain. It's goal: 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. These technologies will open new doors to explore how the brain records, processes, uses, stores and retrieves vast quantities of information, and shed light on the complex links between brain function and behavior. Learn more

The International Brain Initiative


Countries around the world are investing in basic research and new technologies that could transform our knowledge of the brain. The International Brain Initiative (IBI) is an effort to connect the large-scale, multi-institutional brain research projects that are underway. Its goal is to promote collaboration and cooperation among the emerging brain projects and to ensure that the outcomes of these projects ultimately benefit everyone. Learn more

The Brain Activity Map Timeline


Composed of federal and non-federal members and affiliates, the BRAIN Initiative Alliance mission is to coordinate and facilitate communications from its members related to the U.S. BRAIN Initiative. The Alliance seeks to inform and engage the public and the scientific community about scientific successes emerging from the U.S. BRAIN Initiative, and opportunities for further discovery. Visit the website for further information and resources.

Brain Activity Map (BAM) Project

BRAIN Initiative partners meeting President Obama before the AnnouncementThe BRAIN Initiative partners meeting President Obama before the Announcement, April 2013 (Credit: The White House)

In 2011, 13 neuroscientists and 14 nanoscientists met at the Kavli Royal Society International Centre outside London for a special symposium entitled, “Opportunities at the Interface of Neuroscience and Nanoscience.” During this meeting, the idea of mapping the functioning brain was discussed—a concept that has been described by some as “the Holy Grail” of neuroscience.

Scientific discussions continued over the course of almost a dozen formal and informal meetings, scores of teleconferences, a number of Kavli Futures Symposia and published science papers. Eighteen months later, the Brain Activity Map Project proposal would prove important to the scientific thinking behind the BRAIN Initiative, as well as a major catalyst for its launching. Learn more

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Selected News Stories

Berkeley Lab team is leading the development of NWB:N 2.0 which is poised to become a community standard

With miniature mobile microscopes, scientists uncover a map that is used by the brain to guide our movements.​

Scientists mapped the learning and memory center of the fruit fly larva brain, an early step toward mapping how all animal brains work.​

Salk and UC San Diego scientists analyzed methylation of neurons to find new subtypes.​

Researchers will aim to invent an implanted brain-interface device that could transform how artificial systems enhance brain functions.​