McGill-Oxford join in neuroscience partnership


Creates framework for research, joint grant bids, and student and faculty exchanges

Two of the world’s leading centres in neuroscience, McGill University and the University of Oxford, have established an important partnership to broaden understanding of the human brain and take research to new heights.

Collaborations in training and research in neuroscience will be backed by competitive peer-reviewed funding and significant philanthropic support and will provide the opportunity for graduate-student exchanges and cross-appointments with visiting professors at Oxford and adjunct professors at McGill. This new partnership will encourage joint research grant applications in support of the research collaboration and create a dynamic framework for regular academic exchanges between the two universities.

“I am absolutely delighted to formalize this historic collaboration between our two great centres of learning in this important field,” McGill Principal and Vice-Chancellor Heather Munroe-Blum said. “Our respective distinguished records in neuroscience research on both sides of the Atlantic suggest that, in joining forces, we can have a powerful impact. Together, we will attract new funding, accelerate the pace of research and, most important, the delivery of results.”

“The partnership will bring together the world-class research expertise of Oxford and McGill Universities in one of the great challenges of this century: understanding how the brain works,” said the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, Dr John Hood. “By working together, we can increase the scope of our research and teaching and look forward to new advances in a wide range of conditions, from autism to Alzheimer’s.”

McGill has long been known as a leader in neurosciences research and has taken this field as one of its top institutional priorities, building on the distinguished history and current strengths of its Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) and the Douglas Mental Health University Institute. More than 200 McGill faculty across a range of disciplines focus teaching and research activities on areas directly related to neuroscience. McGill’s integrated program in neurosciences is one of the largest contemporary neuroscience graduate programs in North America. There are nearly 270 Masters and PhD students registered in the program at present and more than 100 graduate students registered in Basic Sciences departments across the campus. Research, conducted in laboratories throughout the greater Montreal area and on campus, covers such thematic areas as molecular, cellular, systems, behavioural and cognitive neuroscience.

Oxford University’s world-class research in neurosciences provides opportunities for leading researchers and clinicians to show how individual neurons acquire their specific properties and assemble into complex interactive circuits, how defects in these circuits lead to neurological and psychiatric illness, and perhaps even how brains generate consciousness. More than 130 principal investigators at Oxford are involved in neuroscience research and their groups include approximately 250 research assistants and more than 200 postgraduate research students. Oxford’s strengths in preclinical studies are coupled with rapidly expanding clinical research and translational medicine, where the aim is to take new treatments from the bench to the bedside. This means research spans every level, from molecules and cells, through cognitive science and the genetic basis of common diseases, to the neurobiology of psychiatric disorders and the prevention and management of stroke. The Centre for Functional MRI for the Brain also offers the latest developments in brain imaging.

McGill University, founded in Montreal, Que., in 1821, is Canada’s leading postsecondary institution. It has two campuses, 11 faculties, 10 professional schools, 300 programs of study and more than 34,000 students. McGill attracts students from more than 160 countries around the world. Almost half of McGill students claim a first language other than English – including 6,000 francophones – with more than 6,400 international students making up almost 20 per cent of the student body. For information, please visit


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