McGill launches Sylvan Adams Sports Science Institute to advance world-leading research into sports science and human performance

$29-million donation is largest-ever gift to a faculty of education in Canada
Sylvan Adams. Credit: Ziv Koren
Image by Ziv Koren.
Published: 31 August 2022

A $29-million gift from Quebec-born entrepreneur Sylvan Adams will launch an exciting venture for McGill’s Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education in the Faculty of Education, ushering in a new era of world-leading research and discovery in sports science, with the long-term goal of improving elite human performance, and promoting healthier living across the human lifespan. Through its support for the science of high performance, Adams’ gift also promotes a new lens through which to conduct health research – one that focuses on learning from the study of optimal health, rather than disease.

The donation will support the creation of the Sylvan Adams Sports Science Institute (SASSI) comprising state-of-the-art testing labs, training suites, research offices, and meeting rooms, in a new facility neighbouring the Montreal Neurological Institute and adjacent to the Sir Arthur Currie Memorial Gymnasium on Pine Avenue West. Approximately $24.4 million will be used to build the facility and purchase equipment, while $4.6 million will be allocated to the development of the Institute’s sports science research program through the creation of research grants, scientific conferences, student fellowships, and international exchanges.

This gift represents the largest donation ever to a faculty of education in Canada.

“We are deeply grateful to Mr. Sylvan Adams for his generous gift in support of McGill’s Faculty of Education and its Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education,” said McGill Principal Suzanne Fortier. “This contribution will allow McGill researchers and students to develop new insights into sports science education, research and practice, elevate the performance of Canadian athletes and improve our understanding of human health.”

“Sylvan Adams’s extraordinary gift is a testament to his passion for sport and innovation,” said McGill’s Chancellor, John McCall MacBain. “Thanks to his vision and support, the Sylvan Adams Sports Science Institute will position McGill as a leader in academic sports science research in Canada and internationally, with the resources to optimize performance, recovery, and health, not just in the world’s elite athletes, but in all of us.”

Putting the focus on elite athletes

The new Institute at McGill will focus on studying elite athletes, using evidence-based approaches and best practices, knowledge transfer, and scientific innovations. SASSI researchers will partner with those at other leading institutions, notably the Sylvan Adams Sports Institute (SASI) at Tel Aviv University (TAU), established in 2017.

Sylvan Adams noted: “I am pleased to support McGill’s work in sports science research. As a former Montrealer, I am especially proud to have this opportunity to invest in McGill’s track record of research excellence and potential for innovation – and contribute to building a culture of collaboration between McGill and Tel Aviv University.”

Together, McGill and TAU sports scientists will focus on human performance during intense training, leveraging their respective and complementary research strengths in physiology, biomechanics, motor control, psychology, nutrition, and molecular biology.

“Collaboration will be one of the key pillars for the success of this institute,” said Dilson Rassier, Dean of McGill’s Faculty of Education. “This gift from Sylvan Adams will be the catalyst that will enable McGill, Tel Aviv University, and other collaborating universities from around the world to share information and ideas integral to research on sports science and advancing human performance.”

About Sylvan Adams

A former Montrealer who led one of Canada’s largest real estate development companies, Sylvan Adams now lives in Tel Aviv, Israel. A respected philanthropist and passionate supporter of sports, healthcare, education and social programs in both countries, Adams boasts an impressive and diverse resume of accomplishments. In 2015, Sylvan Adams signed the Giving Pledge, established by Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Melinda French Gates, for philanthropists devoted to giving away a majority of their wealth to charitable causes. He also excels as a champion cyclist, having won multiple World Masters Championships, Canadian Masters championships and Quebec Masters titles.

About McGill University

Founded in Montreal, Quebec, in 1821, McGill University is Canada’s top ranked medical doctoral university. McGill is consistently ranked as one of the top universities, both nationally and internationally. It is a world-renowned institution of higher learning with research activities spanning three campuses, 11 faculties, 13 professional schools, 300 programs of study and over 39,000 students, including more than 10,400 graduate students. McGill attracts students from over 150 countries around the world, its 12,000 international students making up 30% of the student body. Over half of McGill students claim a first language other than English, including approximately 20% of our students who say French is their mother tongue.

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