NSF 2015 BRAIN Initiative awards

To support potentially transformative research in neural and cognitive systems, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded 16 grants to multidisciplinary teams from across the United States.

Each award brings together scientists and engineers from diverse fields to investigate brain-related mysteries. The awards fall within two themes: neuroengineering and brain-inspired concepts and designs, and individuality and variation. Each provides up to $1 million over two to four years.


NSF is the only federal agency whose mission includes support for all fields of fundamental science and engineering, except for medical sciences.

NSF keeps the United States at the leading edge of discovery in areas from astronomy to geology to zoology. In addition to funding research in the traditional academic areas, the agency also supports "high-risk, high pay-off" ideas, novel collaborations and numerous projects that may seem like science fiction today, but which the public will take for granted tomorrow.

France A. Córdova, PhD – NSF Director

Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF)

France A. Córdova, was sworn in as director of NSF on March 31, 2014. Córdova leads the only government science agency charged with advancing all fields of scientific discovery, technological innovation, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. NSF's programs and initiatives keep the United States at the forefront of science and engineering, empower future generations of scientists and engineers, and foster U.S. prosperity and global leadership.

Fay Lomax Cook, PhD – NSF

Assistant Director for the NSF Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences (SBE)
Co-lead with Jim Olds of NSF Neuroscience

In her role as head of the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences, Cook will be a key member of the National Science Foundation’s senior management and policy team. She will direct an SBE staff of 119 and manage a budget of approximately $250 million. Dr. Cook was Director of the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern from 1996 to 2012 and past President of the Gerontological Society.

Amber Story, PhD – NSF

Acting Division Director of the Division of Behavioral & Cognitive Sciences, National Science Foundation
Co-Chair Interagency Working Group on Neuroscience
Former Ex Officio Member of Multi-Council Working Group

The Division of Behavioral & Cognitive Sciences supports research in psychology, anthropology, linguistics, geography, and related fields. Dr. Story received her Ph.D. in social psychology from Cornell University and held several academic positions before joining NSF.

NSF BRAIN Initiative Videos

The National Science Foundation has assembled a number of excellent videos related to the BRAIN Initiative and neuroscience. You can browse these videos in sliders we have created with the following categories: BRAIN Initiative, Mysteries of the Brain, Neuroengineering, Phylogeny, and Theorists.

You can also view a sampling of these videos here in this post or you can find them on the NSF BRAIN Initiative YouTube Channel or on the NSF BRAIN Initiative website. Most of the videos were produced by NSF's Science Nation, "the online magazine that's all about science for the people".

James Olds

University Professor of Neuroscience, Policy, and Government, Schar School
Former Assistant Director, Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO), National Science Foundation (NSF)
Former Director, Krasnow Institute


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