The donation, by Atlantic Philanthropies (AP), is the largest in Irish history and represents 40% of a total gift of €138.4m, with the remaining 60% going to the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
The two universities were chosen by AP because of strong track records in neuroscience research, ageing and dementia, according to Professor of Old Age Psychiatry at TCD, Brian Lawlor.
“We are extremely fortune and thankful to Chuck [Feeney, founder of AP] for his far-thinking investment” Prof Lawlor said. “This is a big idea but there are times when you need a big idea to change things up,” he added.
The donation will fund a hugely ambitious project designed to “change the landscape” for people with dementia, starting with the establishment of a Global Brain Health Institute, housed at Trinity’s Institute of Neuroscience and UCSF’s Memory and Ageing Centre.
The Institute will run two programmes designed to train 600 global leaders or “agents of change” over 15 years in the US, Ireland and across the world to carry out dementia research, deliver health care, and change policies and practices.
The programmes include:
- A two-year ‘Fellows’ programme where participants receive hands-on experience in diagnosis, treatmen,t and long-term management of patients with cognitive disorders, as well as elderly people who are at risk for brain health disorders. They will also learn how to help affected families and their caregivers. It will include doctors, nurses, psychologists, health economists, and policymakers. TCD and UCSF will each train four Fellows per year;
- A one-year ‘Scholars’ programme for people from all types of environments. The two colleges will each train 16 Scholars per year.
The donation announcement will be made at joint special events in Ireland and SF today, involving Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
Applications to take part in the GBHI programmes can be made from today on www.gbhi.org