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Viviane Poupon, Brain Canada President & CEO

Through the Brain Canada lens, to future-proof our society is to address the rising tide of brain disorders, which affect all of us at some point in our lives and cause tremendous suffering. To effectively treat these disorders, we need to understand how the brain functions in health and what changes lead to illness. We need bold science and big teams collaborating across disciplines to find solutions. And most importantly, we need bright minds leading the way.

Brain Canada is a charitable foundation that aims to accelerate, amplify and fund brain research in Canada. Brain Canada’s strategic value is the ongoing connecting and strengthening of Canada’s entire brain research community, with support from the Government of Canada (through Health Canada) and matched funds from partners and donors.

A cornerstone of Brain Canada’s work to date is fostering the development of a pipeline of talent along the innovation continuum – that is, to support trainees and early-career researchers with inclusive programs tailored to support them as the next generation of research leaders. Brain Canada’s Future Leaders Program, for example, addresses the lack of opportunities for early-career researchers to be successful in a competitive funding landscape to pursue high-risk, high-reward research projects.

Supported by the Azrieli Foundation, this program provides funding at a critical time for early-career researchers. It helps them to explore new lines of research, apply sex and gender analysis in their projects, gather preliminary data, and recruit excellent trainees and highly qualified personnel. It enables them to build the foundation of their research programs, establish themselves as independent thinkers, and make discoveries that contribute meaningfully to the research and innovation landscape in Canada.

But to truly boost innovation in Canada, we need to do more. We need to create research environments that allow early-career researchers to thrive, and we also need to create opportunities that help to keep their discoveries and homegrown ideas here in Canada. Brain Canada is developing translational research programs that will essentially de-risk the innovations emerging from our brain research community. These programs will help to move promising ideas along the innovation continuum, from the early stages of translation toward impact, in an effort to ensure that Canadian researchers don’t have to leave the country to find the investments they need to more their discoveries forward.

As a key funder of brain research in this country, we have an important role to play in taking risks that an investor might not take when it comes to brain health innovations. Our goal is to accelerate the translation of discoveries and ultimately address the unmet needs of patients and families facing brain diseases and disorders.

Advertising feature produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.