Transitioning brain research – From the laboratory to the field

Steve Murray, PhD, Matthew A. Yanagi

Synesis: A Journal of Science, Technology, Ethics, and Policy 2011; 2:T17-25

While brain research shows great potential for advancing critical national security interests, the products of the laboratory cannot be realized in operational practice without the polishing and maturing demanded by federal science and technology (S&T) acquisition processes, particularly those of the Department of Defense. Although many acquisition planning functions are relatively conventional, new or evolving capabilities resulting from brain research applications may impact national security doctrine in unexpected ways. Integrating brain research into operating doctrine and practice may therefore demand a fresh look at the steps of the acquisition process itself, and earlier collaborations between researchers, operational communities, and acquisition managers to ensure the significant benefits of this S&T domain without inducing unwanted surprise.


Key words: neuroscience, acquisition, transition, Technology Readiness Level, autonomous systems, human-machine interaction.