Major brain initiatives around the globe

Large-scale brain projects have been launched or are being planned in multiple continents and countries

Major decade-long brain initiatives have been launched in US, Europe, Japan and Korea, as well as by the privately funded Allen Institute for Brain Science. Additional projects are being planned in China and Taiwan. The projects differ in scope and detail, but all aim to vastly improve our understanding of the brain. The big, collaborative nature of these brain initiatives drives a need for development of neuroscience standards, infrastructure and data management to make collaborations within and between projects possible - as a recent report from brain project discussions puts it, "it takes the world to understand the brain" (Huang & Luo, Science 02 Oct 2015 pp 42-44). INCF helps coordinate standards development and other efforts between the initiatives.


The US Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative was launched by President Obama in 2013, to advance the science and technologies needed to study and understand the human brain. It is a broad, collaborative effort to accelerate the development and application of new ground-breaking tools. Beside several large funding agencies being involved, substantial efforts have also been made by privately funded organisations. INCF collaborates with several BRAIN-related community-driven projects in standards development, such as Neurodata Without Borders and BigNeuron, that also involve e.g. the Human Brain Project. 

Human Brain Project (EU)

The EU Human Brain Project (HBP) was launched in 2013 to bring together researchers in neuroscience, information technology, medicine and other scientific and technical fields. It aims to apply advanced computer technology to neuroscience and medical research, in order to bring fragmented brain research and data together and accelerate our understanding of the brain and how it works. HBP will build an integrated system of research platforms, accessible to scientists for basic and clinical research, drug discovery and technology development. INCF collaborates with HBP in several community-driven projects in standards development, such as Neurodata Without Borders and BigNeuron, that also involve the US BRAIN initiative. INCF and HBP also collaborate on development of the INCF DataSpace and on a community-based encyclopedia for Neuroscience, KnowledgeSpace. In addition, HBP is committed to using INCF-developed standards.

Brain/MINDS (Japan)

The Japanese Brain/MINDS (Brain Mapping by Innovative Neurotechnologies for Disease Studies) was launched in 2014 at several institutes and universities across Japan, with aims of global collaboration. Brain/MINDS will concentrate on structure and functional mapping of non-human primate brain, in particular the brain of the common marmoset Callithrix jacchus, and develop knowledge-based strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric and neurological disorders.

Korea Brain Research Institute (Republic of Korea)

The Korean Brain Research Institute was established in 2011, as an affiliated institute to the government-funded research university DGIST (Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology).