The Kavli Foundation has announced a commitment of more than $100 million in support of research on the brain and brain-related disorders such as Alzheimer's and autism.
The funds will be used to establish new Kavli neuroscience institutes at Johns Hopkins University, Rockefeller University, and the University of California-San Francisco, expanding an existing international network of seven Kavli Institutes carrying out fundamental research in neuroscience and a broader network of twenty Kavli institutes dedicated to astrophysics, nanoscience, neuroscience, and theoretical physics. Among other activities, the funding will support efforts at the three institutes to investigate neural development, neuronal plasticity, perception, and cognition (Kavli Neuroscience Discovery Institute at Johns Hopkins); promote high-risk, high-reward projects and the development of new research technologies (Kavli Neural Systems Institute at Rockefeller University); and gain a better understanding of brain plasticity (Kavli Institute for Fundamental Neuroscience at UCSF).
To that end, each institute will receive $20 million from the foundation to create an endowment supported equally by their respective universities, along with start-up funding. The foundation also is partnering with four other universities — Columbia University, the University of California-San Diego, Yale University, and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology — to boost their Kavli Institute endowments.
Grant funds also will be used to advance the national Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative, a public/private collaboration launched by the Obama administration in 2013 that is working to foster new interdisciplinary collaborations aimed at creating novel technologies for visualizing the brain at work.
"The president launched the BRAIN Initiative to help unlock the mysteries of the brain, to improve our treatment of conditions like Alzheimer's and autism, and to deepen our understanding of how we think, learn, and remember," said John P. Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. "The Kavli Foundation is responding to the president's call to action by making investments to advance the goals of the BRAIN Initiative. I hope this spurs other private, philanthropic, and academic institutions to support this important initiative."