Neuroscience was designated by the University of Sydney as a major research strength in the year 2000 following a submission by Max Bennett, Professor of Neuroscience.
As a result, Sydney University Neuroscience (SUN) was established, an organisation representing the many laboratories contributing to neuroscience research at the Sydney and its teaching hospitals. The purpose of SUN was to unite and integrate the neuroscience research laboratories, provide a common point of reference for those working within SUN, to educate the community in the brain sciences and to showcase the many research threads currently pursued at the University of Sydney.
On 15 October 2002 – the 150th anniversary of the University of Sydney Act was celebrated by a dinner in the Great Hall.
Professor Bennett was asked by the University Executive to speak on behalf of the University, with the Chief Justice and other community representatives contributing. A month earlier, Bennett had made a request to the Vice Chancellor Gavin Brown of $3 million towards establishing a Brain and Mind Research Institute (BMRI).
The aim of this new institute would be to make significant contributions to the amelioration of diseases of the brain and mind.
At the end of his presentation, the Vice Chancellor agreed to meet Bennett’s request and on 3 March 2003, the University Senate approved and established the BMRI as a Centre of the University of Sydney.
Professor Ian Hickie was appointed Executive Director, Professor Bennett, holder of the first University chair for research recognised internationally to be of exceptional distinction was appointed Scientific Director. Professor John Pollard was appointed as another director.
In keeping with the original vision, the people who make up the BMRI have increased the capability and capacity in neuroscience and mental health research, education and training at the University of Sydney for the purpose of responding to a long-neglected area of community concern.
We have also created something quite unique by housing basic science researchers alongside clinical researchers and the clinics treating patients suffering the debilitating diseases of the brain and mind that we are determined to prevent, treat and cure.
It is this intermingling of basic and clinical research and clinics that creates the interdisciplinary and collaborative environment necessary to generate new insights into the causes of these diseases and their treatment. The research, education, training and clinical activity housed by the BMRI has been recognised by our peers, State and Commonwealth Governments, and the community for the impact it has delivered in a very short period of time.
We are indebted to our many supporters who continue to devote their energy and time, and also provide much needed financial support. A special thanks to the members of our original Foundation and now Advisory Committee, without whose support and guidance there would not be a Brain and Mind Research Institute.