Advancing the Brain Industry Together

National Neurotechnology Initiative
National Neurotechnology Initiative (NNTI) opens up innovation bottlenecks and accelerates the development of neurotech treatments for the brain and nervous system

View summary of National Neurotechnology Initiative Act legislation

National Neurotechnology Initiative Overview

Neurotechnology holds the potential to transform nearly every aspect of our lives and revolutionize our conception of the human mind. The science of the brain is moving forward more rapidly than any other science today. Federal leadership is needed to guide development of this technology and bring its benefits to those who need it.

The National Neurotechnology Initiative (NNTI) will establish a Federal R&D program, based in a National Coordination Office (NCO), to direct multi-agency efforts in neurotechnology. It will provide an opportunity for balanced and focused strategic investment across Federal agencies to accelerate development of vitally important areas of the field.

Neurotechnology is Vital to the Nation

While the field of neuroscience is highly advanced, our understanding of how the brain works still has many gaps and our ability to repair damage remains limited. Recent discoveries are revolutionizing our understanding of the human brain, and new applications are emerging almost daily, ranging from neuropharmaceuticals to neurostimulation devices to advanced prosthetics. But critical unmet medical needs remain in almost every area of brain and nervous system disorders, including:

Alzheimer's disease, addiction, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, obesity, chronic pain, sensory disorders, spinal cord injurystroke, schizophrenia, sleep disorders, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson's disease

The national economic burden from these disorders is estimated at $1 trillion and is growing alarmingly due to an aging population. Investigation into the mechanisms and functions of the brain will lead to vastly improved understanding of brain disease and injuries, human cognition and behavior, and will give us an unprecedented ability to treat and heal those in need.

A Coordinated National Effort is Needed

Previous successful models of coordinated Federal investment initiatives include the Human Genome Project and the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). Like these two programs, the NNTI would lead to a cascade of investment, discovery, applications, and benefits that can only be imagined today. At the same time, a Federal research effort can help ensure the responsible development of neurotechnology by establishing ethical guidelines and policy for research, development, and applications.

The United States Must Lead the Neurotechnology Revolution

In addition to the race to uncover the workings of the mind, there is another race underway: one that will determine where the neurotechnology industry will reside and prosper. Huge economic payoffs will accrue to the countries that successfully nurture the emerging neurotechnology industry, and the growth of strong neurotech regions will have long lasting implications on employment, infrastructure development and regional competitiveness. The 21st century race has begun with the United States in the lead, but the United Kingdom, China, Sweden, Japan and Germany are developing centers of neurotechnology excellence. Neurotechnology applications have the potential to transform highly specialized areas of medicine, computing, and defense, but also will affect the everyday lives of Americans. How this revolution plays out, and the benefits or consequences of new technologies, will depend on the US Government taking a leadership role in neurotechnology R&D.

View summary of National Neurotechnology Initiative Act legislation

Read Op-ed "Brain Tech is Here, Waiting for a Policy Push" written by NIO Executive Director

Please contact Zack Lynch for more information on this important initiative.