The project

The CINQ, which is led by Dr. Tremblay and Dr. Jackson, received a platform grant from Brain Canada in 2015, in partnership with the CERVO Brain Research Centre, to boost the regional brain imaging ecosystem by increasing the number of scientific activities, student and training opportunities, and research and technical-support capacity. The grant ended in 2018 and the team has accomplished a tremendous amount over the three year period. Since receiving the grant, they have organized 39 scientific talks, four hands-on workshops on brain imaging methods that were attended by over a hundred graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, four scientific days, two international summer schools and one international symposium. One of the summer schools on the topic of brain connectivity was the largest event ever organized by the CINQ and included 15 speakers from Canada, Italy, France, and the US. The sold-out event attracted 90 participants from across Quebec and was very well received. They also launched a knowledge translation program to promote (and demystify) brain research to the general public, as well as a student award program, which allowed several students to attend international conferences while promoting Canadian brain research and expertise abroad. They created an equipment-sharing program and a start-up program to help launch novel brain imaging protocols, both of which were important levers to increase their researchers’ productivity.

These programs and activities have had immense impact, enabling the CINQ to expose their community to world-renowned experts in various disciplines of neuroscience. It has also improved the quality and diversity of graduate student training offered, boosted the productivity of researchers, and created a stronger community of students and researchers interested in brain imaging . This in turn has increased the profile of Université Laval and CERVO.

Most importantly, the grant was instrumental in the awarding of a $29-million infrastructure project from the government of Québec in November of 2016. This project involves the creation of a new translational brain imaging facility in Québec City, which will be spearheaded by the CINQ. This centre will contribute to bridging the too often wide gap between animal research and discoveries about the human brain and its diseases. This new facility will bring Québec City, Université Laval and the CERVO research centre at the forefront of brain imaging research.

As funds to support research training opportunities, international scientific activities, and to operate research infrastructure are rather scarce these days through regular operation grants, the contribution of the Brain Canada Foundation to the vitality and growth of the Canadian brain research ecosystem is extremely important.– Pascale Tremblay, CERVO Brain Research Centre & Université Laval