BRAIN Initiative Updates: NSF encourages researchers with expertise in data science; Initiative seeks to include more diverse fields of science

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BRAIN Initiative Updates: NSF encourages researchers with expertise in data science; Initiative seeks to include more diverse fields of science

Sherry Ward, AltTox

NSF Announces Data Resources for the BRAIN Initiative

September 22, 2016

…NSF, a partner in the BRAIN Initiative® supporting fundamental research across a spectrum of disciplines within neuroscience, has released a Dear Colleague Letter (see below) encouraging researchers with expertise in data science to partner with BRAIN Initiative projects, including projects funded by the NIH, to enhance the dissemination and utilization of BRAIN Initiative data sets….

Dear Colleague Letter: Data Resources for the BRAIN Initiative

August 5, 2016

NSF supports fundamental research across the broad spectrum of disciplines associated with Understanding the Brain (see https://www.nsf.gov/brain), and is a partner in the federal “Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies” (BRAIN) Initiative. This broad interagency effort is supporting projects that are using different combinations of technologies and model organisms, generating multi-modal data sets aimed at understanding specific circuit contributions to brain function. These data sets include systematic collections of molecular profiles, anatomic information, functional properties of brain cells, as well as neuronal activity data, connectivity maps and high-resolution data on complex behaviors. Current Brain Initiative projects, thematic areas and programs supported by NIH or NSF can be found at the following websites:

NIH Link: http://www.braininitiative.nih.gov/funding/fundedAwards.htm
NSF Link: https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/brain/initiative/

The large and complex datasets generated by these projects are representative of trends in the field, and NSF recognizes the need for novel approaches to manage, integrate and analyze these diverse data types. With this Dear Colleague Letter, NSF calls attention to core programs at NSF that support informatics, software and cyberinfrastructure projects in a broad range of disciplines, including neuroscience. More specifically, NSF is encouraging researchers with expertise in data science to partner with BRAIN Initiative projects to enhance the dissemination and utilization of these data sets. This DCL is part of NSF’s phased approach to develop a national research infrastructure for neuroscience as outlined in the Dear Colleague Letter NSF 16-047.

The standing core programs or solicitations at NSF that are most relevant to this effort include:

In order to take advantage of this Dear Colleague Letter, please contact a relevant Program Officer listed on the Program websites above.

The BRAIN Initiative Seeks to Include More Diverse Fields of Science

July 8, 2016

Researchers from many scientific fields such as chemistry, physics, and engineering will be essential to the development of new tools and technology for studying the brain…

The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative® aims to revolutionize our understanding of the brain, particularly how individual cells and complex neural circuits interact in both time and space. The first phase of the BRAIN Initiative focuses on accelerating the development and use of new research tools to gain fundamental insight into how the nervous system functions. This requires not only neuroscientists, but experts from a wide variety of disciplines including analytical, organic, and inorganic chemists, nanotechnology researchers, materials scientists, physicists, engineers, and informatics experts. An article in Chemical and Engineering News outlines the importance of recruiting chemists into the BRAIN Initiative for collaborative, “high-risk” research. The unique expertise and perspective of multiple fields of science are essential to creating truly innovative methods to study the brain.

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