The McKnight Foundation announces support of the McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience with $38 million over 10 years.
The McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience (MEFN), now in its 46th year, has always sought to support basic research that will increase our knowledge of brain function. From its inception, the MEFN has aligned itself with the overarching mission of the McKnight Foundation to improve the quality of life for present and future generations. Our mission is to bring science closer to the day when diseases of the brain and behavior can be accurately diagnosed, prevented, and treated.
The MEFN has always encouraged innovative and adventurous science. We believe that the MEFN can and should continue to play the role of bringing McKnight’s values – stewardship, respect, equity, and curiosity – to the brain sciences. In 2019, the McKnight Foundation reaffirmed its core mission to advance a more just, creative, and abundant future where people and planet thrive. In response, the MEFN developed a strategy to increase inclusion and equity to enhance the excellence and impact of our work. Specifically, we will
- Expand the Scholar Awards program to include 10 awards each year, and enhance the program’s commitment to equity and inclusion.
- Expand the focus of the Neurobiology of Brain Disorders program to include environmental influences on brain health and disease.
- With regret, discontinue the highly successful Technology Awards program, whose mission has largely been adopted by the NIH BRAIN Initiative, whose creation it stimulated.
A shared strategy for both the Scholar and the Neurobiology of Brain Disorders programs will be to promote excellence by increasing the inclusivity of our selection of awardees. We are all aware of the many good reasons for the MEFN to address the need for a more equitable environment in its programs, stemming from the fundamental principle that better science comes from embracing a diversity of opinions and perspectives.
In the coming weeks, the MEFN will roll out new guidelines and mechanisms to achieve these goals, and to prepare the Fund for another decade supporting spectacular neuroscience.