CALGARY -- Thanks to a $10 million philanthropic gift, the University of Calgary Hotchkiss Brain Institute is launching the Hopewell MIND Prize, offering up to $1 million a year over the next decade to fund "innovative, high-impact brain and mental health projects."

"It will fund research projects that are ‘ahead of the curve’ and at a critical crossroads where an injection of funding has the potential to transform the project into significant community impact," read a release.

MIND stands for Maximizing Innovation in Neuroscience Discovery and the gift came from Sanders Lee, a Calgary philanthropist and founder of the Hopewell Group of Companies.

“I've always been a supporter of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, and Dr. David Park approached me with what he called a bold idea,” says Lee. “I think at the end of the day, I’m a risk taker, and I loved the idea.

"I want this research prize to be a catalyst for ground breaking discoveries in brain and mental health, and to help us expand our innovation ecosystem with breakthroughs that benefit humankind.”

Funding will be awarded to one individual each year and submissions will be judged by three top international neuroscientists, including Dr. Beth Stevens, associate professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School; associate professor of Neurology, F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center, Boston Children’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, along with Dr. Alon Chen, PhD, president of the Weizmann Institute of Science and head of the Max Planck Society in Munich, Germany, and Dr. Nelson Spruston, PhD, senior director of scientific programs at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Ashburn, Va.

The first prize will be awarded in fall 2022 and applications are being accepted now. Winning researchers must be members of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute when their prize is awarded. More information is available online.

“This prize will continue to put UCalgary at the cutting edge, allowing researchers to be creative, bold and transformational, said Park, director of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute.  "And this will attract the best and brightest to Calgary, to UCalgary and to Alberta.”