New institute pushes neuroscience excellence forward

Western will continue to build on more than a half century of neuroscience research excellence thanks to the recent approval of the Western Institute for Neuroscience.

“The need for neuroscience research continues to grow due to its potential to impact the health, security and vitality of society in this time of shifting age demographics, new therapeutic options, advanced research tools, globalization of knowledge and the rapidly expanding digital world,” said Sarah Prichard, Acting Vice-President (Research).

The Western Institute for Neuroscience will provide a framework that coordinates and unifies neuroscience expertise at Western, Lawson Health Research Institute, London Health Sciences Centre and other campus and community collaborators by creating an entity that provides academic leadership related to a shared vision, program alignment and advocacy.

The new institute will also enable sustained advances in neuroscience research through support of novel and high-risk collaborative ventures, emerging opportunities and the attraction and retention of high-quality personnel.

University Senate approved the formation of the institute at its regular meeting June 4.

At Western, neuroscience is a core research strength that engages more than 100 investigators – including 14 Canada Research Chairs plus Canada Excellence Research Chair (Cognitive Neuroscience and Imaging) Emeritus Adrian Owen.

Successes have included the emergence of several new centres like the Centre for Functional and Metabolic Mapping; rapid expansion of the Brain & Mind Institute; and a successful $66-million Canada First Research Excellence Fund grant, leading to the creation of BrainsCAN – a research initiative that transforms the way brain diseases and disorders are understood, diagnosed and treated.

“Our vision for the Western Institute for Neuroscience (Research) is to unlock the mysteries of the brain for societal benefit,” said Kevin Shoemaker, Acting Associate Vice-President (Research). “To pursue this vision, our overarching goal is to elevate and accelerate impactful neuroscience research that would otherwise be impossible without a unifying organization.”

Additionally, the Senate approved a five-year renewal of the Bone & Joint Institute.