November 12, 2021
The Weizmann Institute of Science recently announced a lead philanthropic donation of $US50 million from the Azrieli Foundation, to enable catalytic brain research with the establishment of The Azrieli Institute for Brain and Neural Sciences. The donation is among the largest of its kind for the Foundation.
The Azrieli Foundation is a longstanding supporter of research at the Weizmann Institute, and this generous donation adds to its past philanthropic investments of nearly $30 million USD towards Weizmann research facilities and faculty and student fellowships.
The launch of the new institute was announced at the gala that opened the 73rd Annual General Meeting of the International Board of the Weizmann Institute of Science. The gala was held earlier this week in the presence of the President of the State of Israel Isaac Herzog, Dr Naomi Azrieli who joined virtually from Canada, Danna Azrieli, and Weizmann Institute scientists, supporters and members of the International Board.
Weizmann’s Azrieli Institute for Brain and Neural Sciences, which will be located at the Weizmann Institute campus in Rehovot, Israel, will promote the full spectrum of neuroscience research, from basic, curiosity-driven studies to translational work of high clinical relevance, with global impact. The donation will enable the construction of a new building that will serve as a hub for neuroscience activities, facilities, and state-of-the-art technologies.
“The new Azrieli Institute for Brain and Neural Sciences embodies one of the Weizmann Institute’s fundamental values – interdisciplinary collaboration. It will create a home for all the Weizmann researchers studying neuroscience, who will, under one roof, work together to gain a detailed understanding of how the brain develops and how it functions. I’m confident that this new and unique research environment will enable the next major leap in brain research,” said Weizmann Institute President, Professor Alon Chen.
“The Azrieli Foundation’s commitment to the Weizmann Institute is extraordinary and we are deeply grateful for their longstanding support and partnership.”
The Weizmann Institute of Science and the Azrieli Foundation have maintained a special partnership over many years, supporting a spectrum of biomedical and life science research from systems biology to neuroscience and beyond.
“The Azrieli Foundation seeks to nurture networks of excellence and out-of-the-box thinking, and we are passionate about supporting the next generation of researchers. In addition to Weizmann’s outstanding record in science writ large, and neuroscience specifically, we are excited that this new institute will facilitate and amplify collaborative work across 40 groups in multiple disciplines. This is how breakthroughs in brain research will happen,” said Dr Naomi Azrieli, Chair and CEO of the Azrieli Foundation.
Danna Azrieli, Co-Chair, Azrieli Foundation Israel, added: “Our mission is to open doors for people, from the most vulnerable to the most exceptional. As builders, we open doors literally and metaphorically, so we are thrilled that the Azrieli Institute for Brain and Neural Sciences will enable these brilliant scientists to explore brain research. We look forward to seeing what lies ahead through the doors of this new Azrieli Institute of Brain and Neural Sciences.”
The Azrieli Institute will focus on cutting edge research in the following areas: the development of neural networks; perception and action; mental and emotional health; positive neuroscience; learning, memory and cognition; the aging brain; neurodegeneration; injury and regeneration; theoretical and computational neuroscience; development of innovative neurotechnologies; and, integrative brain disorders.
Rendering of the building that will house the Azrieli Institute for Brain and Neural Sciences on the Weizmann Institute of Science campus, Skorka Architects: Photo credit: Skorka Architects
(l-r) Weizmann Institute President Prof. Alon Chen; Co-Chair, Azrieli Foundation Israel Danna Azrieli; and President of the State of Israel Isaac Herzog, following the announcement of the establishment of The Azrieli Institute for Brain and Neural Sciences at The Weizmann Institute of Science