Canadian Science Policy Conference 2021

The CBRS organized a panel discussion titled, “A Canadian BRAIN Initiative?” at the Canadian Science Policy Conference on November 25th, 2021.

In 2016, the science academies from 14 nations, including Canada, declared: The human brain is civilization’s most precious resource. Investment in brain science is, therefore, an investment in the future of society, and nations must cooperate to understand, protect, and foster optimal development of the brain (

CBRS has represented Canada on the Strategy Committee of the International Brain Initiative since its first convening in early 2018, but we do not yet have a national brain research initiative. This panel discussed the need and opportunity to develop a strategy where Canada can distinguish itself by setting the standard for a new model of neuroscience that is open, collaborative, transdisciplinary and ethical.

Moderated by Dr. Yves De Koninck, panelists presented examples and lessons learned from established transnational brain initiatives and emerging national efforts, while taking into account the realities of the Canadian research landscape and the needs of patients in order to maximize societal, health and economic impact.

Conference Panel proceedings and panel recording are available here.

Watch here:

Panel Members

  • Ms. Deanna Groetzinger directs Neurological Health Charities Canada, a coalition of organizations that represent people with brain diseases, disorders and injuries. NHCC provides leadership in working collaboratively to advance advocacy, education and research to benefit all people affected by brain conditions.
  • Dr. Jan Bjaalie is the Vice-Chair Science and Infrastructure Board of the Human Brain Project, as well as Chair of the International Brain Initiative.
  • Dr. Jason Mattingley is the Executive co-Chair of the Australia Brain Alliance.
  • Dr. Shernaz Bamji, as President of the Canadian Association for Neuroscience, is ideal to present the strength of the neuroscience and mental health research community in Canada.
  • Moderator: Dr. Yves De Koninck is Chair of the Canadian Brain Research Strategy.

Outcomes from this panel informed a brief we submitted to the Standing Committee on Science and Research.