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At the advice of the UT Neuroscience Council and others, the U.T. Board of Regents authorized in 2014 the U.T. BRAIN initiative which funds $20 million in support of a virtual U.T. System Neuroscience and Neurotechnology Research Institute. The institute’s purpose is to promote trans-disciplinary, multi-institutional research projects focused on neuroscience and neurotechnology challenges that will transform the fields of imaging, neurocomputation, and molecular mapping; the development of neuro-devices; and basic/translational/clinical investigations in intractable neurological diseases.
In 2015, U.T. BRAIN seeks applications for seed research grants. Applications and peer-review processes will be managed in collaboration with the University of Texas at Austin Department of Neuroscience. Seed funding is expected to assist U.T. investigators in developing new multi-disciplinary, and in many instances cross-institutional, research partnerships or teams. Funds may also be valuable to awardees in collecting preliminary data or early to mid-stage proof of concept data that will advance competitiveness within the greater national BRAIN initiative. While it is expected that lead investigator(s) will be a University of Texas institutional researcher, collaborating investigators from other Texas institutions are welcomed.
U.T. Brain’s emphasis on multidisciplinary approaches is aligned with the recent and upcoming NIH BRAIN RFAs, http://www.braininitiative.nih.gov/nih-brain-awards.htm. UT has remarkable scientific breadth and resources that speak to effective competition through collaboration. The U.T. System is the only university system in the nation to date to create convergent BRAIN research teams across the entire system. An important intent is to create trans-institutional investigations, providing a cultural shift towards solving grand scientific challenges and creation of unique competitive advantage in for securing external funding.