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.
The Human Connectome Project will use state-of-the-art neuroimaging technology to explore the connectivity of the healthy adult human brain. By systematically collecting brain imaging data from hundreds of subjects, the Human Connectome Project (HCP) will yield insight into how brain connections underlie brain function, and will open up new lines of inquiry for human neuroscience. In addition to brain imaging, the HCP will involve collection of DNA samples, demographic information and behavioral data from the subjects. For more information, see this news release about the HCP.
The Grand Challenge on Pain supports research to understand the changes in the nervous system that cause acute, temporary pain to become chronic nerve pain (neuropathic pain). One goal of the initiative is to enhance collaboration between researchers in the pain field and researchers with expertise in neuroplasticity. Funding has been made available for:
- Multi-PI R01 grants that propose highly collaborative, multidisciplinary research projects focused on understanding the maladaptive changes that occur during the transition from acute to chronic pain.
- Competitive revisions that propose a collaborative, one year pilot study or a new specific aim associated with an active NIH grant. The parent grant may be focused on pain or on neural plasticity outside the area of pain. It is anticipated that these initial studies will lead to long term collaborations focused on the transition from acute to chronic pain.
The Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network will set up a pipeline to move candidate drugs for neurological disorders through preclinical development into early clinical trials. Successful applicants to the program will receive funding to conduct biological testing in their laboratories and unprecedented access to a full range of industry-style drug development services and expertise. The investigators will retain the intellectual property for compounds they develop through this program.