largest sponsor—is pursuing the greatest variety of activities. Within the Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service has singled out four areas of involvement. First is the ongoing support of investigator-initiated biomedical research (as opposed to research assigned by contract) throughout the country. Many of the grant programs of NIH and ADAMHA, in particular, are directed toward investigations in neuroscience.
Second, the federal government is in the best position to amass the resources for science projects of all sizes and to coordinate major efforts with those of other countries, as is being done for the human genome project. This long-term multinational initiative, which some researchers have feared might overshadow other projects in biomedicine in terms of public support or funding, is beginning to show its usefulness for numerous research fields outside genetics. For example, it is clear that neuroscience has an interest in the mapping and sequencing of the human genome, since as many as 1,000 of the roughly 3,500 diseases and syndromes known to be carried in the genetic code affect the brain or the nervous system.
A third, essential function of the Public Health Service is to clarify the priorities for federally sponsored research in an era of deficit budgets. The fourth function may be the most urgent: developing ways to nurture the next generation of neuroscientists. The Public Health Service is considering incentives for schools and research centers to recruit bright students into the field, and new ways to increase the overall scientific literacy of the public. James Mason, in the Department of Health and Human Services, urges scientists to use the Decade of the Brain to its fullest potential in this regard. The decade offers opportunities on all sides: for conveying the excitement of working in neuroscience and the value of this work to the nation 's health; for raising public awareness of the dangers posed by avoidable injuries of the brain and spinal cord in accidents, by substance abuse, and by the presence of neural toxins in a polluted environment; and, as we come increasingly to appreciate the complexity of the brain, for nourishing the mind as well, by providing every child with a good basic education.
In the executive branch, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has responsibility for coordi-