June 2013

Reviewing the BRAIN Project

5. Environment
Strengths 

  • • There is a strong and vibrant neuroscience research community, including a range of interdisciplinary centers and programs that are well suited to contribute to this program.

Weaknesses 

  • • Unprecedented financial challenges are gripping the American scientific community, and the laboratories of many investigators at both early and mid-career stages are downsizing or are in danger of closing down. In this context, it appears that directing resources away from the investigator-initiated grants programs has the potential to inflict additional damage and exacerbate the inefficiencies associated with investing time and financial resources in developing effective and productive laboratories only to underinvest in their continuing activities.

Budget and Period of Support: There is little clarity about whether this program is intended to be supported with additional funds or by redirection or recounting funds that already are allocated to brain research. This is true both for the proposed federal support and for the listed contributions from nonfederal agencies. The intended duration of the program is unclear.
 
This completes my initial review. I hope that others in the scientific community will contribute their perspectives so that we can have an appropriate discussion of how the BRAIN initiative moves forward.

Photo of Jeremy BergJeremy Berg (jberg@pitt.edu) is the associate senior vice-chancellor for science strategy and planning in the health sciences and a professor in the computational and systems biology department at the University of Pittsburgh.

 
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2 Comments

  • FACTUAL ERRORS OF UNQUALIFIED BIASED REVIEWERS KILLED MY GRANT!!11!! I APPEAL!!!!11!!

  • Thumbs up! As Arthur Kornberg loved to remind people, there is no more efficient way of spending NIH $$ than through the untargeted R01 pool. Thanks, Jeremy, for carrying the banner so elegantly!

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