Expanding the Brain Revolution

Alejandro F. Schinder

Fundación Instituto Leloir – CONICET


In a world-wide context where governments and funding agencies prioritize support to translational science—even for illnesses with poorly understood mechanisms—at the expense of hypothesis-driven questions on fundamental biology, political decisions to launch large-scale programs addressing crucial questions about the brain are to be celebrated. This change in paradigm stands in line with the reality that we must understand the brain in depth before therapies to heal disease and trauma can be developed. How can we get the most out of this unique scenario emerging in wealthy countries, and how could developing countries be integrated into this new era? Science is a universal endeavor that benefits from diversity, because problems are faced from different perspectives, focuses, priorities, and resources. Understanding the healthy and diseased brain is a goal for the entire international neuroscience community. For agencies pioneering these initiatives, an important challenge is to distribute resources in a manner that fosters significant discovery. Substantial grants—individual or collective—awarded to high-risk hypothesis-driven projects selected through transparent peer review will be more efficient than megaprojects concentrated in a few laboratories. In developing countries, it is compelling to establish competitive neuroscience programs embracing the same philosophy to tackle fundamental problems and minimize the technological gap that separates us from the developed world, providing a bridge to join this ongoing brain revolution.

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