On Tuesday, December 13, 2016, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act into law. The law provides funding and support for basic neuroscience research, including $1.56 billion for the BRAIN Initiative, a massive effort launched in 2013 to develop innovative technologies to study the brain.
SCGB investigators are poised to leverage these new technologies to uncover a circuit-level mechanistic understanding of cognition. We currently support an interactive multidisciplinary community of 73 scientists led by Director David Tank and executive committee members Larry Abbott, Dora Angelaki, Adrienne Fairhall, Gerald Fischbach, J. Anthony Movshon and Bill Newsome. We will spend $110 million in our first eight years to further work in this field.
The 21st Century Cures legislation is noteworthy, too, for supporting data sharing and collaborative research, two factors that SCGB deems crucial to effectively advance neuroscience. In general, the goals of the SCGB are aligned with those of the BRAIN Initiative and the BRAIN Initiative Alliance, a group of federal agencies and nonprofit organizations that seek to inform the public and the scientific community about the advances made by the project.
Perhaps most telling, this bill received sweeping bipartisan support, passing the House by a vote of 392-26 and the Senate by a vote of 94-5. Introduced by Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), Joseph Pitts (R-Pa.), Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) and Gene Green (D-Texas), the bill was ultimately co-sponsored by 230 members of Congress and actively supported by President Obama and Vice President Biden.
The SCGB is happy to join the chorus of voices supporting the 21st Century Cures Act and the funding it provides to accelerate basic research on the brain.