Department of Energy Teams Up with Private Sector on AI, Neurological Disorders

The Department of Energy (DOE) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Weill Family Foundation to cooperate on Artificial Intelligence (AI) projects as they relate to multidisciplinary and translational research of neurodegenerative disorders, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and other priorities.

The Weill Family Foundation (WFF) is a philanthropic organization which provides funding for cultural, educational, and health related causes. WFF contributions fund the Weill Institute for Neurosciences at the University of California San Francisco, which works to improve translational neurosciences patient care and research.

The agreement seeks to allow the DOE and WFF to share data on advancing AI technology “to further the scientific understanding of neurological disorders and acquired traumatic brain injury.”

The goal of the collaboration is to create new opportunities within biomedical research and public health research. It is also to advance progress in AI development and the medical communities understanding of neurological disorders and TBI.

The MOU notes, “This collaboration seeks to greatly advance knowledge and understanding of the brain and will have a profound impact on the lives of patients and families worldwide. The Parties will coordinate their activities through identified points of contact for their respective organizations in addition to a variety of mechanisms such as joint steering group meetings and workshops to review progress in the science, identify areas for collaboration, and identify opportunities to bring scientists and other relevant third parties together.”

DOE Secretary Rick Perry and WFF Founder Sandy Weill formally initiated the partnership during the MOU signing event last week.

“By signing this MOU, we’re collaborating at the critical nexus of leading-edge technology, our own national labs, world class capabilities at [University of California, San Francisco] — the research excellence and health care expertise that’s there,” Secretary Rick Perry said. “I know [University of California, Berkeley is going to be involved with this as well, and there’s just this vast potential of philanthropy from the private sector.”

Under the agreement, the DOE and WFF will identify focus areas for collaboration and include interested third parties in academia, industry, philanthropy, and government in their research.

“This is where we should have more public-private partnerships,” Weill said. “We should think about the companies — both new ones and established ones — that would be great partners with what we’re doing, as well as the smartest, brightest people.”

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