Research Strategic Plan

Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Health Sciences

Foreword

Dr-Randy-McIntosh-StratAs we approach the 25th anniversary of the Rotman Research Institute (RRI) at Baycrest Health Sciences, I am pleased to present a new five-year research strategic plan.

Inspired by the Baycrest strategic plan 2013-2018, which focuses on brain health and aging, the research five-year plan is grounded in our historic focus on cognitive neuroscience, and the belief that a basic understanding of brain functions like memory and attention will help us devise new ways to recognize and treat brain disease and disorders.

Crafted by RRI scientists – leaders in the field of cognitive neuroscience – the research directions articulated in the plan emphasize our unique capacity and capabilities. stratplan-flipbookThe plan addresses three challenges: first, to define the key elements that predict brain health as we age, focusing
on the brain and our environment; second, to better engage our clinical partners in defining the critical path for translational research so that there is a direct health benefit from our research; and finally, to establish new mechanisms to share our knowledge and dynamic innovations, to strengthen RRI’s position as a global leader in brain health research.

On the dawn of our 25th anniversary, I am confident that our endeavours from 2013 to 2018 will set the stage for our continued success in the next 25 years.

Mission

The mission of the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest is to advance knowledge in the cognitive neuroscience of healthy aging and age-related brain disorders.  With this focus, we ensure Baycrest’s impact spans from increasing scientific understanding to informing and advancing healthcare practice and health promotion in clinical and community settings.

Vision

We will build on our seminal theoretical foundation in cognitive neuroscience, and our leadership position in the innovative use of informatics and technology, to understand human cognitive and emotional function and the determinants of brain health across the lifespan. 

Values

Discovery: Theoretically driven discovery is key to developing novel technologies and therapeutic techniques for the effective diagnosis, treatment and prevention of brain disorders. 

Quality: We remain committed to the standards of excellence for our scientists, students, staff and facilities that have made the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest a leader in the field of cognitive neuroscience.

Partnerships & Collaboration: Significant advancement in understanding human cognitive function will only occur through combined effort and multidisciplinary collaboration, within the institute and with others around the world.  

Education and Dissemination: Knowledge is only useful if it is shared. We will continue to lead in knowledge translation by disseminating new discoveries in scientific and public media.



Advance the field of cognitive neuroscience through theory-driven research that seeks to understand the complexity of human brain function.

Strategic Imperatives and Initiatives:

A. Maintain our leadership position and generate new knowledge about the interactive contributions of the brain, the body and the environment to healthy brain aging.

  1. Recruit and retain the highest calibre people possible.
  2. Increase our success at obtaining external awards.
  3. Increase collaboration among existing researchers.

B. Maintain and leverage world class technological, informatics and computational infrastructure.

  1. Maintain and support the use of all neuroimaging modalities and a convergent technology methodological approach (MRI, MEG, EEG, PET). 
  2. Expand the use of neuroimaging modalities (i.e. NIRS, portable EEG, TMS).
  3. Maximize our ability to use different forms of imaging data.
  4. Maximize the utility and usability of existing neuroinformatics datasets.
  5. Support enhanced scientific productivity through a high quality, reliable computational infrastructure.  

C. Exploit the power of population-level studies to further our understanding of resilience, reserve and the multifactorial determinants of brain health.

  1. Engage with existing population-level research projects (e.g. OHS, ADNI, CLSA, TDRA, BrainCODE, ICES, CIHI)

Increase our clinical and scientific capacity to understand and impact human brain function in real-world environments and to translate discoveries into new prevention and treatment strategies.

Strategic Imperatives and Initiatives:

A. Conduct more research involving clinical and community partners.

  1. Establish specific mechanisms to integrate research into existing clinical programs, encourage interdisciplinary collaborative projects & foster partnerships between Baycrest clinicians and scientists.
  2. Leverage community and academic partnerships to facilitate research in real-life settings (community services, outreach programs, virtual reality centres s/a TRI, etc.).

B. Exploit our expertise in the use of technology to assess and assist brain function in real-life settings.

  1. Participate in the development and/or validation of mobile cognitive assessment and neuroimaging technologies.

C. Increase our capacity for knowledge translation.

  1. Increase capacity to conduct clinical evaluations and trials of novel interventions (proof-of-principal experiments; randomized controlled trials, etc.), incorporating neuroimaging outcomes with behavioural outcomes when possible.
  2. Inform and educate researchers about the knowledge translation and commercialization process.

Increase our capacity to transfer knowledge.

Strategic Imperatives and Initiatives:

A. Attract more trainees of exceptional calibre to Baycrest.

  1. Increase local student exchange partnerships (e.g. TRI, St. Mikes.).
  2. Increase the number of international research trainees at Baycrest.

B. Provide superlative research training at Baycrest.

  1. Continue to provide a comprehensive training program for research trainees through the Baycrest Research Training Centre (RTC).
  2. Expand the mandate of the RTC to include educational opportunities in research methods for clinical students and staff.

C. Disseminate our expertise.

  1. Provide specific expertise to the general public, healthcare communities and the scientific community.

D. Measure our success and tell the world about it.

  1. Implement an information management system to manage, share and track information about research productivity – funding opportunities, grant submissions, awards, REB submissions (active studies), publications and impacts. 
  2. Develop mechanisms to share information about ongoing research within RRI and across the Baycrest campus.
  3. Share research successes through digital and print publications.