To take an idea, test it experimentally, and then use that information to help people, to develop new therapies, to improve people's lives around the world – that's a dream for all scientists. The difficulty is the slow pace of traditional knowledge translation pathways. At Baycrest, we plan to make that happen much faster, by building a knowledge translation pipeline dedicated to cognitive and mental health in aging.
In 2011 Baycrest is embarking on a strategic reorganization that will transform the way scientific discovery impacts care. After more than 20 years at the cutting edge of cognitive neuroscience and aging research, we are undergoing a strategic expansion that will see clinical, evaluative and translational research programs built around our areas of greatest scientific strength – cognitive and mental health in aging.
Scientists at the Rotman Research Institute (RRI) continue to make new discoveries in cognitive neuroscience and develop new tools and techniques to apply this knowledge across a range of disciplines. With EEG, MEG, MRI and eye-tracking facilities devoted solely to research, as well as systems enabling the use of multiple imaging facilities simultaneously, the RRI is unique in Canada and one of a few such facilities in the world.
Through major international collaborations, scientists at the Rotman are driving research agendas around the world, in the interest of learning more about the human brain and how it changes, adapts and recovers over time.
The Kunin-Lunenfeld Applied and Evaluative Research Unit (KLAERU) provides evaluative science expertise and clinical research support services to the research enterprise, essential elements in the translation of knowledge from discovery to application and impact. Working at a programmatic level of analysis, KLAERU scientists build on, contribute to and extrapolate from the world-renowned expertise in basic cognitive neuroscience found at the Rotman Research Institute. Two University Chairs provide research and mentorship cornerstones for KLAERU – the Honey & Norman Schipper Chair in Gerontological Social Work, and the Ben & Hilda Katz Chair in Gerontological Nursing Research. Recruitment for these chairs is currently underway, in collaboration with the University of Toronto.
Elements of the entire research and knowledge translation continuum will be located at Baycrest – pure, applied, clinical and evaluative sciences, plus a dedicated technology transfer and commercialization incubator, the Centre for Brain Fitness.
The interactive flow of information across the campus will allow us to create new knowledge faster than ever before, whether the knowledge is created in research, in the practice of clinical care or through commercialization activities. From the patient perspective, people who rely on Baycrest will know that we provide excellent clinical care but also do the latest and greatest research to make sure that their clinical care is, in fact, at the forefront.
This exceptional community will help train the next generation of scientists – ‘bridging’ investigators, who understand the value of a strong theoretical base, but also have the skills to link into patient care, practice or policy domains.
We will not only lead the way in creating the best, most innovative knowledge about human brain function; we will lead the way in modeling how to make that knowledge impact care.
I look forward to an exciting journey.