Krembil Foundation and Women’s Brain Health Initiative, with the support of The Erika Legacy Foundation and Power Corporation of Canada, are joining forces with Brain Canada to provide new funding for basic mental health research.

To address the sex gap in basic mental health research, Brain Canada, Krembil Foundation, and Women’s Brain Health Initiative (WBHI), with the support of The Erika Legacy Foundation and Power Corporation of Canada, are launching the Basics of Better Mental Health Program, which funds experimental research that will provide insight into the causes and onset of mental illnesses, explore the neuropathological changes and information-processing deficits that may eventually lead to new directions for treatments and interventions, and explore the role of sex and gender in mental health.

There is a dire need for mental health research funding in this country, and as the leading convenor and funder of brain research in Canada we must act now to address these gaps. That is why we are so pleased to work with our dedicated donors and partners to support bold and transformative evidence-based research that will benefit people in Canada, and our mental health needs.”

Dr. Viviane Poupon, President and CEO of Brain Canada

Mental illness is the leading cause of disability in Canada and accounts for approximately half of the overall burden of disease for young people between the ages of 15 and 29. Basic brain research contributes to a greater understanding of how the brain functions in health, as well as in illness.

“We are proud to support this ambitious initiative. It is critical to integrate basic science in mental health research if we want to move the needle on prevention, detection and treatments,” says Mark Krembil, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Krembil Foundation. “This partnership with Brain Canada and WBHI is happening at a critical juncture, as many Canadians urgently need mental health support.”

The Competition

Brain Canada and its donors and partners have invested a total of $3.3 million to support three teams by awarding a grant of $1.1M each. Successful applicants must demonstrate an interest in fundamentally changing our understanding of the long-term role of sex-specific biological factors in mental health. Researchers are required to submit applications that apply innovative techniques in the characterization and understanding of the role of sex-specific biological factors in mental illness in a basic research context.

“Historically, women have been underrepresented in basic research,” says Lynn Posluns, Founder and President of WBHI. “By exploring the role of sex and gender in mental health conditions, we’re investing in better mental health support and treatments for the next generation of women in Canada.”

Mental health conditions that may be explored, but not limited to, in this competition, are depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, personality disorders, schizophrenia, and substance use disorders.

The competition officially launches today, and the deadline to submit registration forms is June 27, 2023.

To learn more about this funding opportunity or to apply to the program, visit:

This program has been made possible by the Canada Brain Research Fund (CBRF), an innovative arrangement between the Government of Canada (through Health Canada) Brain Canada Foundation, Krembil Foundation, and Women’s Brain Health Initiative, with support from The Erika Legacy Foundation and Power Corporation of Canada. To date, Health Canada has invested $200 million through the CBRF which has been matched by Brain Canada Foundation and its donors and partners.

About Krembil Foundation

The Krembil Foundation is a Canadian family-led non-profit organization which supports medical research. The goal of the Foundation is to accelerate research, expand knowledge and ultimately impact lives through discoveries that will lead to scientific advancements in medicine. With this goal in mind, the Foundation focuses it’s funding on areas that have been historically underfunded: neurodegenerative diseases, and autoimmune diseases. The Foundation supports research with the intention of bridging gaps in knowledge, and ultimately helping discover treatments and cures for neurodegenerative diseases.

About Women’s Brain Health Initiative

Many disorders associated with brain aging inexplicably affect women, and there has been a lack of research to understand why. Taking sex (biological factors) and gender (social influences) into account is necessary for equality in health and precision medicine. Women’s Brain Health Initiative (WBHI) is a Canadian and U.S. charitable foundation established in 2012 and is solely dedicated to protecting the brain health of women. WBHI helps protect women’s brain health by focusing its resources on research to combat brain-aging disorders that disproportionately affect women, and by creating compelling preventative health programs, grounded in science, so there is a greater understanding of the best ways to prolong our cognitive vitality. To learn more, please visit