State Department launches the International Brain Initiative at the United Nations

September 19, 2016: The U.S. Department of State, The Kavli Foundation, The Global Partnerships Forum, and the U.S. National Science Foundation hosted the launch of the International Brain Initiative, part of which is an International Brain Station, to enhance and facilitate global collaboration on fundamental brain science research.

The High-Level Dialogue at the United Nations, which took place at the opening of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly, brought together 35 global experts to establish brain science as a foreign policy priority and to work toward the launch of an International Brain Station. The event consisted of two fireside chats with representatives from the U.S., Japan, Germany, Argentina and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, as well as Nobel Laureate scientists, private sector, foundations and major funders of brain science research.

Neuroscience is undergoing a revolution due to technological developments in genetics, biology, engineering and computing that are providing researchers with increasingly powerful tools to understand the brain. With its genesis in the scientific community, the Brain Station will be a community-based mechanism for coordinating data and information from brain science projects around the world.  The aim is to catalyze breakthroughs in understanding the complexities of the human brain, which will be an important tool for economic prosperity and improved quality of life for all.

The International Brain Initiative will foster coordination of large-scale brain projects around the world in partnership with governments, research institutions, private sector, foundations, advocacy groups, and social innovators.

The Global Partnerships Forum was privileged to serve as a co-host for this important initiative.  For the official press release from the Office of the Spokesperson, US Department of State, please click here.

The Dialog brought together global leaders from across sectors: 

High-Level Government Dialog: H.E. Thomas A. Shannon, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs; U.S. Department of State; Dr. John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President on Science and Technology, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; H.E. Martin Lousteau, Ambassador of Argentina to the U.S.A.; Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General, UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); Dr. Vaughan Turekian, Science and Technology Adviser to the U.S. Secretary of State; Dr. Makoto Suematsu, President, Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (Japan); Dr. Pierluigi Nicotera, Scientific Director, Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (Germany)

Moderated by Dr. France Córdova, Director, U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)

VIP Stakeholder Community Dialog: Dr. Allen Jones, CEO, Allen Institute; Ms. Sue Siegel, CEO, GE Ventures & Healthymagination; Princess Khaliya, Philanthropist, Venture Capitalist, Humanitarian, Public Health Specialist; Dr. Torsten Wiesel, President Emeritus, Vincent and Brooke Astor Professor Emeritus, Rockefeller University, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine; Dr. Francis Collins, Director, U.S. National Institutes of Health; Dr. Giovanna Lalli, Acting Head of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Wellcome Trust.

Moderated by Dr. Robert Conn, President and CEO, The Kavli Foundation

The High Level Dialog and International Brain Initiative launch event was facilitated by Mr. Amir Dossal, President and CEO, Global Partnerships Forum

For more information on basic brain science research from our scientific partners:

U.S. National Science Foundation:

The Kavli Foundation:

About the Office of Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary: Since its creation in 2000, STAS has worked to enhance the capacity of the Department to respond to the evolving role of science and technology (S&T) intersecting with US foreign policy interests, by linking Department leadership with the vast U.S. S&T community and by increasing the numbers of technically trained personnel in the Department through a series of fellowships. Building on 15 years of activity, STAS remains a vibrant resource to Department leadership, senior foreign service and bureaus and offices across the department providing a focal point for science and technology as a key component of U.S. foreign policy, while at the same time serving as a central bridge between the Department and the vast science and technology community in the United States and abroad.

About the National Science Foundation: The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense..." NSF fulfills its mission chiefly by issuing limited-term grants -- currently about 12,000 new awards per year, with an average duration of three years -- to fund specific research proposals that have been judged the most promising by a rigorous and objective merit-review system. Most of these awards go to individuals or small groups of investigators.

About the Kavli Foundation: The Kavli Foundation was established in December 2000 by its founder and benefactor, Fred Kavli, a prominent California business leader and noted philanthropist whose foundation is currently actively involved in establishing major research institutes at leading universities and institutions in the United States, Europe and Asia. The Foundation is dedicated to the goals of advancing science for the benefit of humanity and promoting increased public understanding and support for scientists and their work.  Its mission is implemented through an international program of research institutes, professorships, and symposia in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, neuroscience, and theoretical physics as well as prizes in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, and neuroscience.

About the Global Partnerships Forum: The Global Partnerships Forum is a unique not-for-profit knowledge platform, providing changemakers with the tools to build innovative partnerships.  It convenes thought leaders and practitioners from across sectors to address challenges around the world and foster economic growth.  Working to support the goals and objectives of the United Nations, the GPF aspires to move the needle from aid to investment—using the power of partnerships—to accelerate achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Acknowledgements: This VIP Dialog and the Launch event was developed under the leadership of Genya V. Dana, PhD, Senior Science Policy Officer, Office of the Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State; Chris Martin, PhD, Science Program Officer, The Kavli Foundation; and Franklin A. Carrero-Martinez, PhD, Program Director, Office of International Science and Engineering, Office of the Director, National Science Foundation.

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