NSF Launches Initiative in Cognitive Neuroscience

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is launching a new initiative in the area of cognitive neuroscience. NSF is seeking highly innovative, interdisciplinary proposals aimed at advancing the understanding of how the brain supports thought, perception, action, social process, and other aspects of behavior. NSF is encouraging research into how such processes develop and change in the brain through time.

The last decade has seen cognitive neuroscience emerge as an influential discipline, growing out of an interaction between cognitive sciences, neurology, neuroscience, and other fields. This cross-disciplinary integration has generated rapid growth in knowledge about sensory processes, higher cognitive functions, language, and social processes. Among other things, it is anticipated that cognitive neuroscience research will help pinpoint functional brain organization, such as the operations performed by a particular brain area.

“This is really the first time NSF has studied the human brain, per se, in a core program,” said Lawrence Parsons, NSF’s program director for the cognitive neuroscience initiative. “There is a tidal wave of need in the research community at large for people interested in doing this kind of work.”

NSF is particularly interested in supporting the development of new techniques and technologies for recording, analyzing, and modeling complex brain activity as well as foster projects that integrate perspectives across disciplines.

“We want to create frontiers and breakthroughs for science,” Parsons said.

Three different funding opportunities exist within this program announcement: Individual investigator research projects; workshops that will bring together diverse scientific partners around specific topics; and doctoral dissertation improvement grants.

The Cognitive Neuroscience Program Announcement (NSF 02-031) can be found online at www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?nsf02031. Please note that the initial target date has been extended – for 2002 only – until March 15, 2002. For more information, please contact Parsons at lparsons@nsf.gov.

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