Western University is marking the start of the school year with a massive funding announcement.
On Tuesday, officials revealed that the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) is investing $66-million to Western University’s BrainsCAN initiative which works to reduce the burden of brain disorders. The funding is the largest research grant in Western’s history and is part of a total of $900-million in CFREF funding to Canadian researchers announced Tuesday.
According to a release from Western, the university will partner with researchers at McGill University to better understand conditions like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, traumatic brain injury, and schizophrenia. The McGill researchers also recieved funding from the CFREF.
“Understanding higher brain functions is central to the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric and neurological disease, for improving childhood learning and communication, for optimizing neurosurgical interventions and for the development of intelligent devices,” says Adrian Owen, Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Cognitive Neuroscience and Imaging and Co-Scientific Director, BrainsCAN. “To do this, we must aggressively pursue new technological innovations – a key strength at Western.”
Lisa Saksida, Co-Scientific Director of BrainsCAN, says the funding will help.
“This funding will help BrainsCAN researchers radically transform our understanding of brain disorders and deliver effective solutions to the grand challenge of maintaining brain function across the lifespan,” says Saksida. “With our partners at McGill, Western researchers will continue to make game-changing discoveries that benefit the health, social and financial well-being of Canadians.”
Roughly 3.6-million Canadians are affected by brain disorders and, according to BrainsCAN, neurolgoical and psychiatric disorders account for $22.7-billion in health care costs in Canada.