A symposium underway in Des Moines is the third in a series that’s seeking to increase funding for research on the mind. Rob Shumaker of the Great Ape Trust of Iowa is one of the co-organizers of the "Decade of the Mind" symposium.

Shumaker says the initiative has the core mission of increasing federal funding for science to increase understanding of the mind and conscious by four billion dollars over ten years. Jim Olds of the Krasnow Institute at George Mason University is the co-organizer with Shumaker. Shumaker says the symposium in Des Moines is the third in a series, and focuses on the minds of non-human primates.

He says the first two meetings at the Krasnow institute focused on the pieces most essential about the human mind, and how to go about increasing the government funding. Shumaker says the Great Ape Trust isn’t doing this in hopes of getting some of the money earmarked for ape research.

Shumaker says they aren’t guaranteed any money, but are doing this because of the good the research can do for the country. He says getting the money will be a competitive process through federal agencies. Shumaker says there are many areas where increased knowledge of the mind can help the world, such as finding a cure for things like Alzheimer’s disease that rob people of the use of their mind.

Shumaker says he believes there’s a very compelling case for increasing the funding, as it is in the national interest, and so far they’ve gotten favorable response from the federal government. The symposium will continue through Friday at the Des Moines Art Center. You can find a complete schedule of events on the Great Ape Trust website.