Western makes a bold ‘brain gain’ investment

Western University is investing in a ‘brain gain’ initiative to attract and secure elite academic talent, allocating up to $30 million to a pair of new strategic programs that will recruit and support the very best students, postdoctoral fellows and researchers from around the world.

The Western Clusters of Research Excellence program will provide up to $5 million over five years to support the establishment of up to four internationally prominent clusters of interdisciplinary research and teaching. Western will provide the resources to keep these researchers at the University and put them in a position to succeed on a global scale.

Cognitive Neuroscience has been recognized as the first of these clusters.

This area builds upon established research strengths at Western’s globally-renownedBrain & Mind Institute, which leads efforts to understand consciousness, various cognitive disorders, and how our brains see, learn and think about the world. In 2010, Western recruited one of the world’s foremost neuroscientists, Adrian Owen, to the Institute from the University of Cambridge.

Up to three remaining clusters will be identified through ongoing strategic planning efforts over the coming year.

“We need to be strategic with limited funds, and proactive in planting our flag for areas in which we are global leaders,” said Western Vice-President (Research), John Capone. “We have planned for this investment and believe now is the time to bring it to fruition.”

“We are fortunate to already be home to some of the world’s leading neuroscientists. By expanding this area of strength across disciplines, we will be even better positioned to train and mentor future leaders, while advancing understandings of the brain that improve health and quality of life around the world.”

The University is also introducing the Western Research Chairs program to recruit up to 10 high-calibre researchers who will support the development of these identified research clusters. These mid- to senior-level researchers will build capacity across disciplines, and come to Western with established reputations for producing research with global implications.

“These are investments in our community, in training future leaders and in research with global impact for our health, financial, cultural and social well-being,” said Western Provost and Vice-President (Academic), Janice Deakin. “With these and other programs, we plan to bring some of the very best research talent to London, and to provide them with the tools to change the world.”