We are multidisciplinary in the truest sense of the word. We view the work we do as product generation, so we have teams working together toward the common goal of putting resources out there to make an impact on the field.

John Phillips, Ph.D., Executive Director of Structured Science

Building on the traditions of large-scale scientific endeavors begun in the twentieth century, such as the Hubble Telescope, the Large Hadron Collider and the Human Genome Project, we are driving big science into the 21st century. Our focus is on the brain and our purpose is clear: to drive brain research forward, accelerate progress and enable discoveries with real-world utility.

Our model for doing science is unlike most any other research institution. Using the original guiding principles—team science, big science and open science—the Allen Institute aims to answer some of the biggest questions in neuroscience and accelerate research worldwide through public releases of new data, knowledge and tools.

Team Science

Teams at the Allen Institute are composed of neuroscientists, engineers, mathematicians, physicists and computational scientists—each bringing a new perspective to the challenges faced by modern brain science. By working collaboratively across disciplines, our scientists are pioneering new technologies and developing new approaches to pursue challenging scientific questions at large scales.

Big Science

Big science sets clear goals or milestones for large-scale projects, oriented towards serving the broad scientific community. Our big science projects yield rich, robust data sets that can lead to unprecedented discoveries about the brain. We tackle ambitious projects with a purpose-driven, milestone-oriented approach, while maintaining the freedom to explore new ideas and generate new technologies. We collect, standardize and share data in multiple modalities in order to make our science as valuable to the larger community as possible.

Open Science

Our intention from the very beginning has been to openly share our data, tools and knowledge with the scientific community through the Allen Brain Atlas data portal. We share our data as soon as it is useful, whether we have published it or not. Open science is a core principle of the Allen Institute’s identity, and an integral part of our goal to accelerate the pace of science worldwide.