Azrieli Foundation and Brain Canada mark Brain Awareness Week with $1-M grant program for Early-Career Investigators

Montreal, March 11, 2019. The Azrieli Foundation in partnership with the Brain Canada Foundation are pleased to mark Brain Awareness Week with the announcement of the 10 recipients of the Early-Career Capacity Building Grants competition. The grants support early-career investigators who are conducting transformative research to advance understanding of the brain, in illness or health.

Naomi Azrieli, Chair and CEO of the Azrieli Foundation, feels strongly about funding this research. “We are committed to these investigators who are in the early stages of their careers as they are in a unique position to advance innovative research projects. They often have difficulty securing their first grant through traditional funding, yet they approach their research with a high risk/high reward approach, and that is something that we want to support.”

This initiative provides an opportunity for the researchers to begin building their careers in Canada, and is in alignment with the federal government’s priority of supporting early-career researchers conducting world-class research.

The funding, provided by the Azrieli Foundation and Brain Canada, with the financial support of Health Canada through the Canada Brain Research Fund, provides each of the 10 recipients a $100,000-grant, for a total investment of $1M.  The grantees were selected from 84 applicants, following a national open call and rigorous review process involving Canadian and international researchers and clinicians.

“Brain Canada has always believed in the importance of supporting the next generation of researchers,” said Inez Jabalpurwala, President and CEO of Brain Canada.  “With this new grant program we are helping ensure that Canada has a robust pipeline of talent, and remains at the forefront in the field of brain research”.

The researchers are located at institutions across Canada, with some of the funded projects focusing on specific diseases and disorders such as Alzheimer’s, autism, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and others targeting multiple areas.  The findings from their research have the potential to fundamentally change our understanding of nervous system function and dysfunction and the impact on health.

Grant recipient, Matthew Parsons, PhD, a researcher at Memorial University of Newfoundland noted: “Most funding opportunities require the applicant to show a significant amount of preliminary data that support the hypothesis of the project. This requirement makes it difficult for a new lab to explore new territory and take risks – risks that often times lead to great discoveries. The Early-Career Capacity Building Grant will enable my lab to think outside the box when researching brain cell communication in neurodegenerative disease, and provides the perfect complement to our research that is funded through more conventional funding opportunities.”

For a complete list and photos of the recipients, click here.

About the Azrieli Foundation:

For 30 years, the Azrieli Foundation has funded institutions as well as operated programs in Canada and in Israel. It invests in eight priority areas, with the common thread of education running throughout its funding. The Foundation generously supports scientific and medical research, higher education, youth empowerment and school perseverance, Holocaust education, music and the arts, architecture and quality of life initiatives for people with developmental disabilities.

About Brain Canada and the Canada Brain Research Fund

Brain Canada is a national registered charity that enables and supports excellent, innovative, paradigm-changing brain research in Canada. Since 1998, Brain Canada has made the case for the brain as a single, complex system with commonalities across the range of neurological disorders, mental illnesses and addictions, brain and spinal cord injuries. Looking at the brain as one system has underscored the need for increased collaboration across disciplines and institutions, and a smarter way to invest in brain research that is focused on outcomes that will benefit patients and families. Brain Canada’s vision is to understand the brain, in health and illness, to improve lives and achieve societal impact.

The Canada Brain Research Fund is a public-private partnership between the Government of Canada and Brain Canada, designed to encourage Canadians to increase their support of brain research, and maximize the impact and efficiency of those investments. Brain Canada has committed $115 million from private donors and non-federal partners—now numbering more than 100—which Health Canada has matched with $120 million. For more information, visit

For more information:

Theodora Samiotis

Brain Canada – 514-989-2989