An Israeli nonprofit group announced on Wednesday a $1 million prize program to encourage innovation in brain-research technology.

Israel Brain Technologies says it hopes the initiative will help turn Israel into an international hub for innovation in the field.

"It's an invitation to the world to eradicate brain disease," said the group's executive director, Miri Polachek.


The prize, funded by private donors in Israel and abroad, is open to researchers from around the world. The money will be awarded next year to a single individual or team, said Dr. Rafi Gidron, the group's founder and chairman.

Organizers said the prize was inspired by the vision of President Shimon Peres, who wants Israel to be a global leader in brain research.

"There is no doubt that brain research in the next decade will revolutionize our lives and impact such major domains as medicine, education, computing, and the human mind, to name but some. Moreover, it will not only relieve the suffering of patients of such debilitating diseases as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, but it will also engender large economic rewards as well," Peres said at a technology conference where the prize was unveiled.

Editor's Note: In a Sept. 12 story about an Israeli research fund, The Associated Press reported erroneously that President Shimon Peres had launched a $1 million grant for brain research. The program is actually a prize that is being awarded by Israel Brain Technologies, a private nonprofit group.