Brain Capital: A new economic and investment approach

Harris Eyre
Published in
4 min readOct 26, 2020


Brain health disorders cause trillions of dollars of economic losses in our society each year. The disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these losses. Brain health is essential to ensure that people have the brain skills to flourish in the modern globalised and digitalised economy. Brain skills include self-control, emotional intelligence, creativity, compassion, altruism, systems thinking, collective intelligence and cognitive flexibility. Unfortunately, despite the critical role these skills play, we do not know enough about the impact of these brain health disorders on our workplaces, communities, economies and societies. How can we address this and effectively provide a supportive policy environment, invest in solutions and track outcomes? Enter Brain Capital, a new model for economic and investment thinking developed by an inter-disciplinary team of 33 experts and published in Molecular Psychiatry, a prominent neuroscience journal.

“Brain Capital is a form of capital relevant to a complex, interconnected and fragile global economy which puts a premium on brain skills and brain health,” noted Marion Leboyer MD PhD, CEO of Fondation FondaMental and co-author of the paper. “Brain health disorders — including depression, anxiety, addiction and dementias — touch everyone either personally or indirectly.”

“Brain Capital needs to be integral to a new narrative of growth and progress which puts people at the centre of our economic system — their well-being, their interaction with others and their psychological resilience to shocks,” suggested William Hynes, Senior Advisor to the Secretary General and Co-ordinator of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s New Approaches to Economic Challenges (NAEC) Unit and co-author of the paper.

“In this paper, we developed a Grand Strategy for Brain Capital,” mentioned Harris Eyre MD PhD, senior author and Co-Founder of the PRODEO Institute. “The Grand Strategy a multi-pronged effort to define and operationalise Brain Capital in public policy, underpinned by an investment plan and a Brain Capital Index™.” Eyre went on to note the novel investment approaches for the enhancement of Brain Capital, “These include restructuring taxation, venture capital, social impact investing and philanthropy.”

“Brain Capital defines an asset that policymakers and funders have struggled to prioritize. We traditionally think about the many, individual systems that affect brain health and functioning separately without considering the potential boon or risks to productivity, health, and well-being. Consideration of Brain Capital will require a holistic policy approach inclusive of health, education, women’s affairs, multiculturalism and immigration, military and veterans affairs, climate and environment, and criminal justice,” stated Cara Altimus, Director of Neuroscience for the Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy and co-author of the paper.

“Brain Capital is the economic benefit that accrues from keeping our brains powered at the highest level,” said Sandra Bond Chapman PhD, founder and Chief Director of the Center for BrainHealth® and co-author of the paper. The BrainHealth Index, a holistic measure of the brain’s performance created by scientists at the Center for BrainHealth, provides a new way of understanding brain health in an economy where jobs demand strong cognitive, emotional and social skills. The BrainHealth Index will be a critical metric in calculating Brain Capital and will help guide the policies and investments that form the Grand Strategy. “The BrainHealth Index could be a predictor of when a community, corporation or country have the wherewithal to be resilient in the midst of massive change,” added Chapman.

“Our Brain Capital is a critical consideration for spurring the innovation behind future brain health initiatives that seek to not only improve health and wellbeing but also economic prosperity and other major societal issues,” noted Husseini Manji MD FRCPC, Global Lead of Science for Minds at Johnson & Johnson.


Harris Eyre MD PhD, Co-Founder of the PRODEO Institute —

Publication details

Smith E et al (2020) A Brain Capital Grand Strategy: Towards Economic Reimagination. Molecular Psychiatry. Accepted and In Press.

Co-authors of this paper

Andrew Lo of MIT, Sandra Chapman of the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas, Dilip Jeste of UCSD, Howard Fillit of the School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, William Hynes of OECD, Cara Altimus of Milken Institute, Marion Leboyer of University Paris Est Créteil and Fondation FondaMental, Harris Eyre of the PRODEO Institute, Diab Ali of the Oschner Health System, Bill Wilkerson of Mental Health International, Walter Dawson of the Oregon Health and Science University, Kunmi Sobowale of UCLA, Charles Reynolds III of the University of Pittsburgh, Michael Berk of Deakin University, Helen Lavretsky of UCLA, Chee H. Ng of the University of Melbourne, Jair Soares of the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston, Gowri Aragam of the Massachusetts General Hospital and Stanford University, Zoe Wainer of the University of Melbourne, Husseini Manji of Johnson and Johnson, Julio Licinio of Syracuse University, Eric Storch of Baylor College of Medicine, Ernestine Fu of Stanford University, Marion Leboyer of Fondation FondaMental, Ioannis Tarnanas of the Global Brain Health Institute, Agustin Ibanez of Universidad de San Andrea, Facundo Manes of the INECO Foundation, Sarah Caddick of thalamic, Ryan Abbott of the University of Surrey, Ian Robertson of the Center for BrainHealth, Rhoda Au of Boston University, Jeffrey Cummings of the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and Patrick Brannelly of the Rainwater Charitable Foundation.



Harris Eyre

Brain Health Executive and Brain Capital Builder