About this author
Zack Lynch is author of The Neuro Revolution: How Brain Science Is Changing Our World (St. Martin's Press, July 2009).
He is the founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) and co-founder of NeuroInsights. He serves on the advisory boards of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, Science Progress, and SocialText, a social software company. Please send newsworthy items or feedback - to Zack Lynch.
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March 21, 2007

The National NeuroTechnology Initiative (NNTI)

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Posted by Zack Lynch

NIOsmall.pngOn March 29th the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) is hosting our first neurotechnology public policy tour in Washington DC. Over twenty neurotech executives are flying in from across the country for morning meetings with more than a dozen Senators, Representatives of the House and their staffers, as well as, afternoon meetings with key teams at the FDA and NIH. At these meetings members will be discussing several ways that the Federal government could better support neurotech companies in their quest to develop next generation treatments for brain and nervous system illnesses. One of the programs we will be proposing is the development of a National NeuroTechnology Initiative (NNTI).

The National Neurotechnology Initiative (NNTI) seeks to establish a federal research and development program, based in a National Coordination Office (NCO), to direct interagency efforts in neurotechnology. The NNTI provides an opportunity for organized, strategic investment across federal agencies to accelerate development of vitally important areas of neurotechnology research and development. Four key program areas will be discussed including: the establishment of national research centers in neurotechnology; major research initiatives in neurotechnology; translational development of neurotechnology; and research in consideration of ethical, legal and social issues related to neurotechnology.

The national economic burden from brain and nervous system illnesses has reached over $500 billion a year and is growing alarmingly due to an aging population. Investigation into the mechanisms and functions of the brain will lead to vastly improved understanding of brain disease and injuries, human cognition and behavior, and will give us an unprecedented ability to treat and heal those in need.

A coordinated national effort is needed across Federal agencies to accelerate development of vitally important areas of neurotechnology. Like previous successful models of coordinated Federal investment initiatives including the Human Genome Project and the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), we know that the NNTI would lead to a cascade of investment, discovery, applications, and benefits that can only be imagined today.

More to be revealed next Thursday.

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: NIO


1. A.T. Murray on March 24, 2007 12:43 PM writes...

If there were not only the National NeuroTechnology Initiative (NNTI) but also the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative (NAII), the two "Manhattan Projects" might fertilize and cross-pollinate each other. Free Open Source AI has reached the point where it may shed light on cognitive brain function, since any AI design worth its salt must rest upon a fully articulated, neuroscientific theory of mind -- or the AI mind designer does not know where to start in the construction and implementation of even the most primitive artificial mind, such as the free AI tutorial in JavaScript for Microsoft Internet Explorer -- which ought to be carried around on laptop computers and demonstrated to participants in the discussions with government. If an AI Mind can be created for free in Open Source software, think what strides could be made with a modicum of government funding for the NAII and the NNTI.

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