Azrieli Foundation makes $10 million gift for brain research

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The quality of our consciousness is what sets us apart from other species

The  Azrieli Foundation  of Toronto has made an extraordinary gift of $10 million in support of advanced brain function research to CIFAR, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.  It is the largest donation that CIFAR has ever received from a philanthropic foundation.

The landmark gift makes possible the Azrieli Program in Brain, Mind & Consciousness, a cutting-edge research program that brings together leading researchers from around the world to explore the biological basis of human consciousness and its role in brain function and disorders.  The program draws on an interdisciplinary team of exceptional thinkers including cognitive neuroscientists, neurologists, geneticists and other biologists, anthropologists, psychologists, computational scientists, philosophers, artists and more.

CIFAR has posted on their website: “The quality of our consciousness is what sets us apart from other species, and seems to be one of the defining traits of being human. And yet the nature of consciousness remains a mystery. The program grapples with the fundamental underpinnings of consciousness, and relates the findings to biology on the one hand and to philosophical questions on the other.,”

The gift to CIFAR also enables the launch of the CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars program, which provides funding and support to help early career scholars build their research networks and develop essential skills to become leaders in global research.

The Azrieli Foundation supports and operates a range of initiatives in various fields, including: the promotion of excellence in education and access to education, scientific and medical research, Holocaust education, and the advancement of excellence in architecture and the arts.  The Foundation was established in 1989 to realize and extend the philanthropic goals of David J. Azrieli, C.M., C.Q., M.Arch. The one constant unifying theme in David Azrieli’s philanthropy has been his dedication to education.brain_research

The Azrieli Foundation is a federally registered Canadian foundation, established according to the regulations of the Income Tax Act of Canada and subject to review by the Canada Revenue Agency.

“We are extremely grateful to the Azrieli Foundation for their remarkable generosity,” says Dr. Alan Bernstein, CIFAR`s President & CEO. “With this gift, the Azrieli Foundation is making possible new research at the frontiers of understanding, and is investing in our most precious resource – the next generation of research leaders. The Foundation’s foresight and leadership is helping CIFAR to shape a better world.”

“CIFAR’s multi-disciplinary and global approach to addressing the world’s most complex issues makes them a perfect home for the collaborative research that can bring about breakthroughs in brain research, the last frontier of science,” says Dr. Naomi Azrieli, Chair & CEO of the Azrieli Foundation. “The Azrieli Foundation seeks opportunities to foster excellence in science, investing in the work of both outstanding senior researchers and early career scholars.  We are pleased to partner with CIFAR in these programs which will have an impact in Canada and around the world.”

CIFAR formally announced the Azrieli Foundation’s gift at a special reception on Thursdayy, June 9th at Koerner Hall, ahead of the sold-out event Our Musical Brain: An evening of science and music. –  CNW

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