Congress passes budget bill: NIH BRAIN Initiative receives $60M in additional funds for fiscal year 2022

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A message to the community from Dr. John Ngai, Director of the NIH BRAIN Initiative. 

Dear BRAIN Community, 

I am pleased to share with you that the recently authorized Omnibus Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 2022 provides NIH with $45.2 billion, which reflects a $2.2 billion (or 5.2%) increase over fiscal year 2021. This appropriation authorizes $620 million for the NIH BRAIN Initiative, a $60 million increase above fiscal year 2021, including an $8 million increase to the NIH BRAIN Initiative’s base budget. We are deeply grateful for the continued and unwavering support from Congress for our mission at the NIH BRAIN Initiative. 

Announced in 2013 with the goal of supporting the development of cutting edge neurotechnologies to study the brain, the BRAIN Initiative has led the charge in developing tools that have already added to new perspectives on how the brain works. This includes a landmark set of studies in 2021 that revealed unprecedent details of the molecular composition of the brain and will undoubtedly lay the foundations for new treatments for diseases of the brain.  

However, much remains to be discovered and understood about the brain, and the generous allocation from Congress allows the NIH BRAIN Initiative to forge ahead with its mission. The $620 million appropriation for the NIH BRAIN Initiative includes $152 million in Cures Act funds. The overall appropriation includes funds designated for the three “BRAIN 2.0 transformative projects” – the Human Brain Cell Atlas ($70M); the Armamentarium for Precision Brain Cell Access ($30M); and the BRAIN Connectivity Map ($10M). In addition to the transformative projects, strong bipartisan Congressional support allows the BRAIN Initiative to continue investing in several critical areas of tool development in neuroscience. These priority areas were initially outlined in the BRAIN 2025 report, and subsequently amplified in the BRAIN 2.0 neuroscience and neuroethics reports. We remain grateful to Congress and the American taxpayers for their generous support of this audacious endeavor to revolutionize our understanding of human brain.  

In addition to the increased funds for the NIH BRAIN Initiative, the Omnibus Bill provides: 

  • $1 billion for the proposed Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H). ARPA-H will be tasked with building high-risk, high-reward capabilities (or platforms) to drive biomedical breakthroughs—ranging from molecular to societal—that would provide transformative solutions for all patients. 

The spending bill will fund the government until the end of the current fiscal year on September 30, 2022. 

With gratitude, 

John Ngai, Ph.D. 

Director, NIH BRAIN Initiative