The brain science project, a 2030 megaproject, will be launched end 2017, says Pu Muming 蒲慕明 China Academy of Sciences (CAS) Neuroscience Research Institute director. Scientists decided to focus on researching the human brain, with major brain diseases and artificial intelligence (AI) as ancillary research areas, reports China Business News. CAS is working with Peking University, Fudan University and Zhejiang University on the project, says the article.

Investments will be comparable to that of the US, dominated by government funding with additional private investment, says Pu, adding details are not yet fixed. Chen Tianqiao 陈天桥 Shanda Group founder says he has begun negotiations on contributing capital and knowledge. The project will help cure brain diseases and boost AI development, say insiders. It will also improve understanding of diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and depression, says the report. Brain science and AI research are converging, says the article, noting CAS initiated a mapping project on the brain’s functional connections for AI development in 2012.

Brain science in China is developing slower than in the US and EU, say Pu and Guo Aike 郭爱克 CAS Shanghai Neuroscience Institute researcher. China especially lacks research on the mesoscopic level, says Yang Xiongli 杨雄里 Fudan University Institute of Brain Science academic committee director. The brain science megaproject will enable China to take the lead in 15 years, says Guo.