The Winners of the BRAIN Initiative Challenge announced at this year’s 8th Annual BRAIN Initiative meeting

An icon for the BRAIN Initiative Challenge, showing a brain icon, a light bulb, scales, and a brain circuit.

This spring, the BRAIN Initiative launched an essay and video challenge for high school students to discuss their perspectives on the ethical considerations of emerging brain technologies. The winners were announced live last week via an online broadcast. 

This year’s winners and honorable mentions of the BRAIN Initiative Challenge were invited to attend the 8th Annual BRAIN Initiative Meeting: Open Science, New Tools to be recognized for their achievements. The BRAIN Initiative Challenge: Ethical Considerations of Brain Technologies, was the second annual federal prize competition for high school students to discuss the ethical implications of emerging brain technologies being developed to understand the brain and treat brain disorders.  

The winners and honorable mentions were announced last week during a live BRAIN Initiative Meeting broadcast by Drs. John Ngai, Director of the NIH BRAIN Initiative, Walter Koroshetz, Director of the National Institute and Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Debara Tucci, Director of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, and Richard Hodes, Director of the National Institute on Aging. Winners and honorable mentions were selected from many excellent submissions and represented 12 high schools across eight states (CT, CA, MO, WA, MD, TX, VA, NJ) in the U.S! 

At the live event, the winners read excerpts from their essays or played a segment of their videos and discussed their key takeaway ethical considerations. Winning topics included the ethical implications of neurocognitive enhancements, personality changes associated with deep brain stimulation, and the future of brain technologies and informed consent. You can see the prize-winning submissions by visiting the updated challenge submission page! The winner announcements were followed by a lively discussion between the students and Drs. Ngai, Koroshetz, Tucci, and Hodes, and audience members submitting live questions.