The BRAIN initiative counteracts the widening gap between the small fraction of laboratories developing and utilizing the most recent technology and the remaining majority of neuroscientists. The successful removal of the gap will require a sophisticated national clearinghouse to ensure that the correct physics, engineering, and computer science tools are vetted and freely accessible for measurements of brain structure and functions.
Long-lasting success of the BRAIN initiative will depend on widespread access to the technological advancements, computational tools, and datasets created by the initiative. However, there are no existing mechanisms for providing national access to the increasingly technologically and computationally oriented investigations of the brain. The barriers to entry are both financial and structural which prevents the community’s efficient utilization of current technological capabilities and limits the types of questions and hypotheses driving the next generation of innovation.
The National Center for Brain Mapping is focused around existing national laboratories: Argonne National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratory, etc. The NCBM will leverage existing facilities as a scientific, engineering, and computational national resource for a variety of other scientific fields, which range from nano-material science to computation to climate change, to serve as a similar national resource for neuroscience.