Blueprint makes collaboration a day-to-day part of how the NIH does business in neuroscience, complementing the basic missions of Blueprint partners. During each fiscal year, the partners contribute a small percentage of their funds to a common pool. Since Blueprint's inception in 2004, this pool has comprised less than 1 percent of the total neuroscience research budget of the partners.
During 2012 and 2013, as the Grand Challenges (described below) moved forward successfully, the Blueprint Directors considered additional projects, including suggestions from both internal and external sources. Within the wider community beyond NIH there had also been recognition that recent technical advances have brought neuroscience research to a watershed moment. In April 2013, President Obama unveiled the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies℠ (BRAIN) Initiative, a coordinated effort among public and private institutions and agencies aimed at revolutionizing our understanding of the human brain. NIH has a large role in this effort and Blueprint will be focusing its efforts and a large portion of its funding in 2014 on the initial high priority research areas established by the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director BRAIN Working Group.
In 2009, the Blueprint Grand Challenges were launched to catalyze research with the potential to transform our basic understanding of the brain and our approaches to treating brain disorders.
Since its inception in 2004, Blueprint has supported the development of new resources, tools and opportunities for neuroscientists. For example, Blueprint supports several training programs to help students pursue interdisciplinary areas of neuroscience, and to bring students from underrepresented groups into the neurosciences. Blueprint has also funded efforts to develop new approaches to teaching neuroscience through K-12 instruction, museum exhibits and web-based platforms. From fiscal years 2007 to 2009, Blueprint focused on three major themes of neuroscience - neurodegeneration, neurodevelopment, and neuroplasticity. These efforts enabled unique funding opportunities and training programs, and helped establish new resources that continue to be available to researchers and the general public today. These resources include the following:
Further information about the Blueprint's history and goals is available in a 2006 article in the Journal of Neuroscience.
THE BRAIN INITIATIVE and BRAIN RESEARCH THROUGH ADVANCING INNOVATIVE NEUROTECHNOLOGIES are service marks of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).