Neuroscience-inspired Policy Initiative

NAEC is working with the PRODEO Institute and various actors* on a Neuroscience-informed Policy Initiative on the concept of “Brain Capital” which considers brain skills and brain health as an indispensable part of the knowledge economy. NAEC promotes this concept as an approach for thinking about the economy and how it works in new ways and is laying some of the groundwork, looking at relevant metrics and building up a network of interested actors in the medical field, neuroscience, philanthropy and business. The initiative has entered a developmental phase examining the application of ideas from neuroscience and medicine to economic and social policy including topics such as productivity, gender equality, mental health, education and others.

Rethinking Productivity: Insights from Neuroscience


Our brains and minds are inextricably linked to productivity. Brain health disorders, such as depression, anxiety and neurodegeneration, cost the global economy trillions of dollars each year in lost productivity. Solutions are urgently required to address this. This seminar explores how the latest innovations in neuroscience can help us unlock insights into how to optimise productivity in the knowledge economy. A transdisciplinary group of speakers approach this topic from diverse perspectives such as neuroscience, global mental health, economics and finance.

Rethinking Productivity: Insights from Neuroscience - Summary 

Brain Capital Grand Strategy


A seminar with the Secretary General and Admiral McRaven
 on 27 January gave momentum to the initiative at a discussion of :

A Brain Capital Grand Strategy: Towards Economic Re-imagination - recently published in Molecular Psychiatry - an inter-disciplinary effort of medical doctors, neuroscientists and economists to which NAEC contributedThe paper argues that in our brain economy, investments in brain health and brain skills are critical for post-COVID economic renewal, re-imagination, and long-term economic resilience.

Innovations to Address Women’s Brain Health Inequalities

As part of the OECD March on Gender initiative, this seminar, supported by the NAEC Neuroscience-inspired Policy Initiative, looks into differences in neurological outcomes between men and women. Agenda 

The COVID-19 crisis has exposed sex and gender differences in brain and mental health disorders, as we see news of a dangerous hike in depression and suicide, particularly among women. As we try to fight the virus, we are also forced to address how our behaviours and health are impacted by brain and mental disease – the area with the highest unmet medical need. Sex differences in brain health are very marked – research shows that dementia rates are higher in women compared to men, similar figures for depression and anxiety. The brain capital (brain health and brain skills in a brain economy) of women is therefore crucial as part of a Systemic Recovery. As part of the NAEC Neuroscience-inspired Policy Initiative and the OECD gender mainstreaming work, brain experts explore explore how women and men brains are different and how understanding these differences might inform gender-sensitive policies.

Highlighting Brain-Based Inequalities for Women: From Bedside and Boardroom to Policy 
Psychiatric Times (5 May 2021)

Closing the Brain Health Gap: Addressing Women’s Inequalities
Oxford University Press's Academic Insights for the Thinking World (21 August 2021)

Women's Brain Health: It's Time to Invest Brain Health, and Recognise Gender Differences
Chief Finance International (Summer 2021)

How to Build "Brain Capital" in Nigeria, Andrew Nevin, Arise News (September 2021)

Boosting brain health is key to a thriving economy
Megan Greene, The Financial Times (12 August 2021) [download pdf]

The Brain Economy

Modern Capitalism Must Prioritize Our Minds and Brains, Psychiatric Times (22 July 2021)

Buyer Beware: Why Investors and Mental Health Practitioners Must Sit on the Same Side of the TablePsychiatric Times (18 May 2021)

Building Brain Capital, Neuron (5 May 2021)

A Brainier Approach to ESG InvestingPsychiatric Times (26 March 2021)

Feeling Lucky? Convergence Mental Health as a Mechanism for Serendipitous InnovationPsychiatric Times (23 March 2021)

Smart Growth: the Case for Measuring Brain Capital, Psychiatric Times (18 February 2021)

Boosting Global Confidence amid Covid-19RSA Comment (1 February 2021)

Convergence Mental Health, Oxford University Press (21 January 2021)

Move Over Data, Brain Capital is the New Oil, Psychiatric Times (14 January 2021)

Digital decision making and safety in the COVID world, Today's Geriatric Medicine (Vol 14, 2021) 

The Brain EconomyRSA Journal Issue 3 2020

The necessity of diplomacy in brain health, Lancet Neurology (Vol 19, Issue 12, 2020)

Responsible innovation in technology for mental health care, Lancet Psychiatry (Vol 7, Issue 9, 2020)

Brain health living labs, American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry (2020)

Focusing on employee brain health could relaunch the economy, ScienceBlog, University of Texas (27 October 2020)

Team proposes a holistic economic reimagination that focuses on brain health to improve employees' resilience, Center for Brain Health, Medical Xpress (27 October 2020)

The BrainHealth project could create a resilient economy, Center for Brain Health, EurekAlert (26 October 2020)

Brain Capital: A new economic and investment approach, Prodeo Institute, (26 October 2020)

Admiral William McRaven, NAEC, January 2021


  • William Hynes DPhil, OECD
  • Harris Eyre MD PhD, PRODEO Institute

Steering Committee:

  • Husseini Manji MD, Johnson & Johnson
  • Patrick Brannelly, Gates Ventures 
  • Rym Ayadi PhD, Euro-Mediterranean Economists Association and CASS Business School
  • Marion Leboyer MD PhD, Fondation FondaMental
  • Andrew S. Nevin DPhil, PWC Nigeria
  • Cara Altimus PhD, Milken Institute
  • Erin Smith, PRODEO Institute, Global Brain Health Institute and Stanford University
  • Andy Keller, CEO/President of Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute
  • Karen Rommelfanger, PhD, Neurotech Ethicist and Neuroinnovation Strategist, Neuroethics Co-Lab