Advantages of Membership

Why should you become a member of the BRAIN Center?

Catalysts of Technological Development and Innovation


I/UCRCs, like the Brain Center, produce industrially-relevant, pre-competitive research through sustained partnerships between industry, academia and government. The BRAIN Center is a collaborative effort among universities, large and small companies, state and government agencies, and other organizations for the purpose of conducting pre-competitive research of shared value.

These centers bring together sites and members to perform cutting-edge pre-competitive fundamental research in science, engineering, technology area(s) of interest to industry and that can drive innovation and the U.S. economy. Members guide the direction of Center research through active involvement and mentoring.

NSF supports the development and evolution of I/UCRCs, providing a financial and procedural framework for membership and operations in addition to best practices learned over decades of fostering public/private partnerships that provide significant value to the nation, industry and university faculty and students.
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Financial Benefits


As a member you:

  • Pool funds together to conduct pre-competitive research of relevance to industry partners
  • Meet 2 times/year to review discoveries and collectively vote to recommend which projects to fund
  • Have access to expert faculty, highly skilled students, and center resources at all sites
  • Have rights to a royalty-free, non-exclusive license to generated intellectual property
  • Rapid response for teaming up to program announcement for large federal grants
  • Priority access for recruiting highly skilled and industry-specific graduates from the Center.
  • Short and long-term sabbatical periods from industry staff at Center labs and from Center faculty to industry
  • Opportunity for degree-granting programs for industry personnel with mentorship from Center faculty

Workforce Development


In addition to its research initiatives, BRAIN will also focus on workforce development through training and education of (a) technical and scientific visionaries who will lead industry driven neurotechnology initiatives, (b) R&D managers who can execute the technical vision, (c) engineers who can analyze, design, and maintain neurotechnologies and understand their broader environmental and social impacts, and (d) future educators in neurotechnology innovation. BRAIN Site Directors will closely interact with the Academic Advisory Board (AAB) to develop an Entrepreneurship Program across institutions that will target from pre-college students to postdoctoral fellows and Center’s faculty. The BRAIN Center’s academic goals are to:

  • Create a continuous pipeline of engineering education from K-12 through postdoctoral studies
  • Introduce undergraduate students to research
  • Attract high school students to careers in engineering
  • Enhance interactions among faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students
  • Prepare graduate students for careers in academia and industry
  • Provide active supervision and feedback at all levels
  • Broaden the training of participants at all levels and to encourage them to continue to the next level of an engineering career while developing international leadership in the field

Academic Assessments


Each institution will communicate with the Education/Outreach coordinator to evaluate education plans and impact on the participants. The Education/Outreach coordinator will gather assessment data and conduct internal reviews semi-annually in cooperation with the AAB. The AAB will assemble the assessment data annually and plan an annual assessment meeting for all participants. The Evaluator will participate in completing longitudinal data analysis using the annual assessment data from each partner university. Evaluation will be conducted via the Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model which measures four dimensions of the impact on students:

  • Reaction:
    What students thought and felt about the training
  • Learning:
    The resulting increase in knowledge or capability
  • Behavior:
    The extent of behavior and capability improvement
  • Results:
    The impact on the institution resulting from the trainee performance

The AAB will evaluate participants with respect to each of the four dimensions. BRAIN will conduct surveys at the beginning and end of each semester, interviews after each semester, and surveys after implementing each new program. Each BRAIN Director will work closely with the AAB to develop the assessment instruments for all institutions. The AAB will disseminate program information and evaluation results. BRAIN’s graduates will be engaged through their continued career development and asked to share their professional skills and expertise with the Center’s mission and activities. Finally, students engaged in Brain Center activities will also participate in a mandatory course on Ethics in Science and Engineering.

Broader impacts


The BRAIN Center will leverage ASU and UH’s engineering, neuroscience, and innovation ecosystems, and will be structured specifically to advance training of students and mentoring of postdoctoral and graduate fellows.

Both ASU and UH (a Hispanic-serving institution) are fully committed to diversity in research and education and have established programs for promoting institutional initiatives in support of these goals. The Center will foster relationships with these programs, enhancing access of underrepresented students and faculty in our research. The Center will enhance the institutional infrastructure at ASU and UH, improving our capabilities for research that will have a substantive impact on education, training, technological development and deployment of innovative neurotechnologies.

Moreover, the BRAIN Center will contribute to the local, regional and national economies, be an attractor for innovation start-ups and bridge with local and state entrepreneurial and accelerator sites. Importantly, the Center will also work closely with regulatory agencies to help develop basic regulatory science in support of translation of emergent neurotechnologies to the end users (see letter of interest from the FDA in the Supplementary Documents).