According to the NY Times. "The Human Genome Project cost $3.8 billion. It was begun in 1990 and its goal, the mapping of the complete human genome, or all the genes in human DNA, was achieved ahead of schedule, in April 2003. A federal government study of the impact of the project indicated that it returned $800 billion by 2010."
President Obama used his State of the Union speech to emphasize that payback and announce his Brain initiative. “Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy — every dollar,”
"Today our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer’s. They’re developing drugs to regenerate damaged organs, devising new materials to make batteries 10 times more powerful."
The Boston Globe describes the origins of the Brain project
"In September 2011, a group of “nano” people focused on engineering materials at the smallest scales and “neuro” folks who study the black box of the brain gathered at Chicheley Hall outside London for a meeting. It was something of a scientific mixer—an attempt to bridge the gap between two fields that sat on the scientific equivalent of different continents.
One of the attendees who had dabbled in both fields, Harvard Medical School genome pioneer George Church, saw it as a fun meet-and-greet, although he wasn’t convinced it would lead to anything bigger.
But early on, California Institute of Technology physics professor Michael Roukes laid out a possible convergent frontier for the two fields: Nanoscientists were developing ever-more-capable technologies, which could enable a generation of new sensors that could record activity from thousands or millions of brain cells.A handful of published papers have described new technologies that range from the plausible to the far-fetched, which could be used to monitor activity in the brain. But which technologies will be chosen, and at what level of detail the mapping should take place remains unclear."
The White House fact sheet highlights 4 areas of initial focus:
a) The National Institutes of Health, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the National Science Foundation will support approximately $100 million in research beginning in FY 2014. b) The National Institutes of Health will establish a high-level working group co-chaired by Dr. Cornelia “Cori” Bargmann (The Rockefeller University) and Dr. William Newsome (Stanford University) to define detailed scientific goals for the NIH’s investment, and to develop a multi-year scientific plan for achieving these goals, including timetables, milestones, and cost estimates. c) Federal research agencies will partner with companies, foundations, and private research institutions that are also investing in relevant neuroscience research, such as the Allen Institute, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Kavli Foundation, and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. d) Pioneering research often has the potential to raise new ethical challenges. To ensure this new effort proceeds in ways that continue to adhere to our highest standards of research protections, the President will direct his Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues to explore the ethical, legal, and societal implications raised by this research initiative and other recent advances in neuroscience.