Dr. Newton Howard created the Brain Sciences Foundation in 2011. He was disenchanted with the progress of conventional neuroscience research and academic bureaucracy. He wanted to take a multidisciplinary approach to studying the brain using computational models. He started the foundation with the goal of re-establishing the links between different schools of thought and fostering dialogue as an effort to revisit fundamental assumptions about the nature of the brain, cognition, computing, and intelligence. He found that the isolation of sub-disciplines in brain science has led to a fairly fragmented state of knowledge, with significant progress in specific details and techniques, but sorely lacking the overall picture of how different structures and patterns work together to make up a conscious being. Concerned that many of the tools and approaches in neuroscience were simply variations on the paradigms tried decades ago, Dr. Howard hoped to breathe new life into the field of brain sciences with novel ideas and collaborations.

The original Brain Sciences Foundation was a spin off of the Mind Machine Project at MIT, with more focus on neuroscience. BSF sprouted from academic collaborations with start ups, and industry partners working on commercializing novel brain technology. However, Dr. Howard wanted the foundation to function purely for research and science and helping those who suffer from currently incurable, neurological and mental disorders. In 2015 he converted the Brain Sciences Foundation Corporation to The Howard Brain Sciences Foundation a 501(c)3 non-profit to refocus efforts on research, mental health awareness and patient advocacy.

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