World’s Brain Initiatives Move Forward Together
A meeting of representatives from some of the world’s major brain research projects, hosted by the Australian Academy of Science in Canberra, has made a declaration to establish an International Brain Initiative.
The declaration, made by representatives from Japan, Korea, Europe, the United States of America and Australia, is designed to speed up progress on ‘cracking the brain’s code’.
‘Researchers working on brain initiatives from around the world recognise that they are engaged in an effort so large and complex that even with the unprecedented efforts and resources from public and private enterprise, no single initiative will be able to tackle the challenge to better understand the brain,’ according to the declaration.
President of the Australian Academy of Science, Professor Andrew Holmes, said the announcement of an International Brain Initiative was one of the most exciting days of his presidency to date.
“It is very pleasing to see a global commitment to stronger collaboration on brain research. Challenges of this magnitude need a global effort ,” Professor Holmes said.
The first meeting of the International Brain Initiative steering committee will be held in January 2018. Brain research initiatives from other countries and regions are also invited to join the International Brain Initiative.
The ‘Canberra Declaration’ to create an International Brain Initiative can be read below.
Declaration of Intent to Create an International Brain Initiative (IBI)
On the Occasion of the Brains at the Dome Workshop hosted by the Australian Academy of Science in Canberra, the representatives of the current and emerging Brain Research Initiatives from
Australia, Japan, Korea, Europe, and the United States of America
make the following Declaration of Intent:
- The global Brain initiatives recognize that they are engaged in an effort so large and complex that even with the unprecedented efforts and resources from public and private resources, no single initiative will be able to tackle the challenge to measure, map, image, model, simulate, understand, imitate, diagnose and heal the brain.
- The initiatives therefore commit to forming an alliance among themselves to take stock of their efforts and resources and expected products (outcomes) so as to leverage and align these efforts to maximize efficiency and the combined impact, and in this way, maximise the value of and return on the taxpayers investment
- The initiatives recognize that they can only significantly impact society if the efforts are embedded and in cooperation with their stakeholders: government, academia, industry, and the citizens, specifically also patients and entrepreneurs. The initiatives also understand their mission to engage and benefit the developing world.
- The initiatives therefore commit to work together with their stakeholders and in close interaction with them, forming appropriate channels and activities.
- The initiatives also recognize that the challenges of data volume, data sharing, and data science is common to all of them, and indeed the wider community, including other fields of science and industry.
- The initiatives therefore commit to explore and implement convenient data sharing and standardization mechanisms, utilizing existing mechanisms where possible or creating new ones where necessary.
- The initiatives recognise that (neuro-) ethics is a key concern as citizens, policy-makers, and various communities are increasingly confronted with very significant advances in capabilities in gathering brain data, in neuro-technology, and in artificial intelligence.
- The initiatives therefore commit to collaborate in the fields of neuro-ethics, agency, responsible data stewardship, and cerebral privacy protection. They also commit to engage in a meaningful dialogue with citizens, patients, and all relevant communities to understand their concerns and communicate transparently on the opportunities and challenges arising.
To achieve these initial goals, the initiatives move forward on a previously agreed roadmap to engage more stakeholders and to set up the necessary framework to facilitate their collaboration. Initiatives from other countries and regions are invited to join.
The first meeting of the IBI is planned to be held in Korea in the first half of 2018.
This Declaration of Intent is non-binding and not a legal instrument. It specifically does not engage national or international authorities or institutional legal entities. A formalisation of the collaboration is envisaged after further consultations.
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