The government has set up a target of reducing 20 percent of dementia patients by 2040 and will start building a research database such as “brain maps” that record brain cell connection.
It will also increase research investment on brain engineering such as Brain Machine Interface (BMI) and neuromorphic chips to overcome disabilities by connecting brains with computers.
The Ministry of Science and ICT held the 30th Biotechnology Policy Council Tuesday and deliberated and voted on the 3rd vision to promote brain research. The basic plan is a high-level official plan, completed by gathering opinions of more than 50 brain science and engineering experts over the last year.
It plans to double the current investment on brain science (around 170 billion won as of 2017) by 2023 to secure original technology to delay age-prevalence of brain diseases such as dementia by five years. It will also reduce the number of dementia patients to 1.73 million, which is projected to reach 2.18 million by 2040.
There will be more research cooperation with countries with advanced brain science technology. For this, it will secure brain maps (neural network circuit maps) and longitudinal study data on patients (cohort) and establish a data-sharing platform. It will also ratchet up the level of brain-related technology which is currently at around 77 percent of advanced countries by developing new brain engineering technology such as AI and BMI.
This plan benchmarked a massive scale brain research projects with the budget of several trillion won over more than 10 years such as “Brain Initiative” of the United States and “Human Brain Project” of the European Union.
“Brain research is an important area that should be supported by the country,” said ICT Minister Yoo Young-min. “We will meticulously execute the plan by cooperating with relevant departments.”