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Hopewell M.I.N.D. Prize

Maximizing Innovation in Neuroscience Discovery

What is the Hopewell M.I.N.D. Prize?

The Hopewell M.I.N.D. Prize (Maximizing Innovation in Neuroscience Discovery) was created through a generous $10M philanthropic commitment from Mr. Sanders Lee to the Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI). Mr. Lee, the Founder and Executive Chairman of the Hopewell® Group of Companies is a visionary leader who embraces the idea of technology and science for the betterment of society.

This prize will serve as a catalyst to launch innovative, bold, high-impact research projects in brain and mental health at the University of Calgary. The Hopewell M.I.N.D. Prize – unique in Canada – offers up to $1 million per year for the next ten years to fund research projects that are “ahead of the curve." These projects would be at a critical crossroads where an injection of funding has the potential to transform the project into significant community impact.

2024 Innovation Prize Jury

Dr Fernando Cendes

Dr Fernando Cendes

Professor of Neurology at University of Campinas – UNICAMP, and Director of The Brazilian Research Institute for Neuroscience and Neurotechnology (BRAINN)


Prof Tarja Malm

Professor Tarja Malm

Professor in Molecular Neurobiology and the head of the Neuroinflammation research group at the A.I.Virtanen Institute, University of Eastern Finland


Dr Else Charlotte Sandset

Dr Else Charlotte Sandset

ESO Secretary General and Consultant Neurologist at the Stroke Unit, Department of Neurology, Oslo University Hospital


Dr Nelson Spruston

Dr Nelson Spruston

Laboratory Head and Chief of Scientific Operations and Programs at the Janelia Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute


Dr Mriganka Sur

Professor Mriganka Sur

Newton Professor of Neuroscience,  
Director, Simons Center for the Social Brain, MIT


$10 million to create Hopewell M.I.N.D. Prize

Calgarians are known for making big, bold things happen. Sanders Lee is one of them. A record-breaking new prize in brain and mental health research will bring new ideas to the fore – sparking innovation through cutting edge research at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI).

“I've always been a supporter of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, and Dr. David Park approached me with what he called a bold idea,” says Lee. “I think at the end of the day, I’m a risk taker, and I loved the idea.”

Hopewell M.I.N.D. Prize 2023 Finalists

Dr. Aaron Phillips

A hemodynamic neuroprotection paradigm for spinal cord injury

Hundreds of promising therapies have been developed to protect and regenerate neurons after spinal cord injury, unfortunately with unsatisfying results with respect to both efficacy and translation. Our innovative and bold concept is centred around understanding if stabilizing blood flow in the spinal cord early after an injury can improve neurorecovery.

Dr Deborah Kurrasch

The neurobiology and drug discovery of psychedelics

Psilocybin is the psychoactive ingredient in ‘magic mushrooms’ and is the leading contender for clinical use. Despite its positive advantages over other psychedelics, its pharmacological profile is not perfect. Our prototype allows the clarity of thinking and open mindset required for easy articulation of problems, and only lasts a few hours in duration.

Dr. Wee Yong

Overcoming CNS fibrosis for neuroregeneration

Injuries to the central nervous system can cause fibrotic scars form, composed of many different cell types. There are still many gaps of knowledge on the impact of these cell types on healing. To address these gaps, we bring together world class expertise to overcome CNS fibrotic scars to enhance recovery from injury.