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Message from the Director: March 2017

Dear Colleagues,

This month I am very pleased to share with you some highlights from the HBI’s budget for 2017-18.

Every year, the budgets for the HBI’s three major areas: research, education, and community & partnerships – as well as central administration – undergo a six to eight-week process of discussions. Following this process, a consolidated budget is presented, reviewed and approved by the HBI’s Executive Committee and Strategic Advisory Board. The internally reviewed and approved budget is then presented to the Dean of the Cumming School of Medicine for final approval.

This year’s budget is the largest in the history of the HBI, primarily due to the exceptionally high number of recruitments this year. We also have new investments into core facilities, and substantial commitment to studentships, fellowships and international partnerships. 

The total operating expenses for the 2017-18 year are estimated at $12.2 million, with 81 per cent invested in research, 10 per cent in education, two per cent in community and partnerships, and 7 per cent for central administration.

I would like to highlight for you a few points of interest from our three primary areas. 

First, our research budget, accounting for 81 per cent of the total annual funding, includes investments received from the CMRF for our NeuroTechnology platforms – comprising 32 per cent of our total research dollars. Additionally, a substantial 37 per cent of our funding in this area has been allocated to recruitment, which reflects the great deal of opportunity at the HBI currently. Lastly, 14 per cent of our research funding has been allocated to donor-directed projects, including new funding for discovery-driven early stage clinical trials. These funds will advance the HBI’s hallmark tradition of translational “bench-to-bedside” research, and support clinical human trials of novel therapeutics developed directly from basic laboratory research.

Next, our education budget demonstrates a strong commitment to trainees. Fifty-eight per cent of the total funding in this area will go directly to HBI studentships, fellowships and undergraduate awards, and an additional 10 per cent has been allocated to career training and development, including international exchanges. Our trainees will go on to influence the academic, government, business and not-for-profit sectors, and it is important that we demonstrate this commitment to providing them with the skills and knowledge to succeed not only in research, but also as leaders in the brain-health workforce.

The last item that I would like to touch on is our community and partnerships budget. Eighty three percent of this budget has been committed to support the international research activities and international partnerships that are critical to the HBI’s continued advancement. One recent highlight from this area includes the visit of Dr. Menashe Zaaroor, a neurosurgeon and pioneer in the field of MR-guided Focused Ultrasound. He is here from the Technion Institute in Israel on a four-month sabbatical and we are extremely grateful for the opportunity to learn from him while he is here. In addition, the institute is very pleased to be partnering with the Melbourne Neuroscience Institute and the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health to present the HBI-Melbourne Epilepsy Symposium, on May 1-2. Featuring presentations from the Brain and Mental Health Epilepsy NeuroTeam and Melbourne researchers, this event will promote valuable collaborations in epilepsy-related research. Registration for this event is open now.

You may also be aware that the HBI is currently involved in a substantial campaign to raise additional funding. In our 2017-18 budget, 72 per cent of total funds are sourced from donor dollars. This value reflects the consistent and overwhelming commitment to the HBI from our community, and is something that we are working very hard to steward and cultivate going forward. 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank: Carlos Arenas, Senior Manager, Business and Operations; Dr. Keith Sharkey, HBI Deputy Director; Dr. Cam Teskey, HBI Education Director; as well as the rest of the HBI staff for their contributions to the budgeting process.

It’s going to be another great year for the HBI. As we look forward to spring, I hope to see everyone at HBI Research Day, featuring keynote speaker Lorna Role, PhD, on May 19. Be sure to RSVP here and if you’re a trainee, make sure you register to participate in the poster session, which you can do here. I hope you take the time to benefit from this tremendous event that the HBI is very proud to present every year.