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Brain, Mind & Consciousness

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What are the origins and mechanisms of consciousness?

The quality of our consciousness is what sets us apart from other species, and seems to be one of the defining traits of being human. Yet the nature of consciousness remains a mystery. The Brain, Mind & Consciousness program grapples with the fundamental underpinnings of consciousness, and relates the findings to biology on the one hand and to philosophical questions on the other.

Technological advances in medical imaging make it possible to see the brain in action. The new technology for the first time gives an opportunity to scholars from fields as different as genetics, cognitive neuroscience, artificial intelligence, and philosophy of mind to come together and work to understand consciousness. By creating the opportunity for deep collaborations, the CIFAR program will allow fellows to solve one of the most profound questions about human nature.

The Brain, Mind & Consciousness program is developing a framework to help fellows from across disciplines understand how our brains give rise to consciousness and our unique perspective on the world around us.

Detailed Program Description for Applicants to the CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars Program, 2021-2023

Path to Societal Impact

We invite experts in industry, civil society, healthcare and government to join fellows in our Brain, Mind & Consciousness program for in-depth, cross-sectoral conversations that drive change and innovation.

Leaders in extended reality (XR, including virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality) and CIFAR fellows in the Brain, Mind & Consciousness program are developing more immersive XR experiences, while deepening the understanding of how our minds perceive reality.  

Areas of focus:

  • Understanding what makes an experience immersive 
  • Developing immersive extended realities
  • Using XR as a tool to study the brain and body

Do you want to shape the future of brain science and XR technology development?

Contact:
Amy Cook, Senior Director, Knowledge Mobilization

Founded

2014

Renewal Dates

2020

Partners

Brain Canada Foundation through the Canada Brain Research Fund, Anonymous

Supporters

The Azrieli Foundation, Canada Life, Michael and Sonja Koerner, The Lawrence and Judith Tanenbaum Family Foundation

Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Neuroscience, including cognitive neuroscience
Biological and cognitive psychology
Computer science, including artificial intelligence
Genetics
Philosophy, including ethics
Law

CIFAR Contact

Kate Geddie

Fellows & Advisors

Program Directors

Adrian M. Owen

Program Co-Director
Koerner Fellow

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
Western University
Canada

Anil K. Seth

Program Co-Director

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
University of Sussex
United Kingdom
Fellows

Tim Bayne

Fellow

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
Monash University
Australia

Axel Cleeremans

Fellow

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
Université Libre de Bruxelles
Belgium

Melvyn Goodale

Fellow

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
Western University
Canada

Atsushi Iriki

Fellow

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
RIKEN
Japan

Robert Kentridge

Fellow

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
University of Durham
United Kingdom

Sid Kouider

Fellow

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
École normale supérieure
France

Rafael Malach

Tanenbaum Fellow

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
Weizmann Institute of Science
Israel

Marcello Massimini

Fellow

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
University of Milan
Italy

Jason B. Mattingley

Fellow

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
University of Queensland
Australia

Aniruddh Patel

Fellow

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
Tufts University
United States

Isabelle Peretz

Associate Fellow

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
Université de Montréal
Canada

Lisa M. Saksida

Fellow

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
Western University
Canada

Catherine Tallon-Baudry

Fellow

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
École normale supérieure
France

Laurel Trainor

Fellow

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
McMaster University
Canada

Nicholas Turk-Browne

Fellow

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
Yale University
United States

Sandra Waxman

Associate Fellow

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
Northwestern University
United States

Robert Zatorre

Fellow

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
McGill University
Canada
Advisors

Stanislas Dehaene

Advisor

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
Collège de France
INSERM-CEA Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit
France

Daniel Dennett

Advisor

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
Tufts University
United States

Nancy Kanwisher

Advisory Committee Chair

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
United States

David K. Menon

Advisor

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
Cambridge University
United Kingdom

David Sherry

Advisor

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
Western University
Canada

Janet Werker

Advisor

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
University of British Columbia
Canada
CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars

Sahba Nomvula Besharati

CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars 2021-2023

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
University of the Witwatersrand
South Africa

Craig Chapman

CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar 2016-2018

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
University of Alberta
Canada

Michael Cohen

CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars 2021-2023

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
Amherst College
United States

Alona Fyshe

Fellow
Canada CIFAR AI Chair
CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar 2016-2018

Learning in Machines & Brains
Pan-Canadian AI Strategy
Amii
University of Alberta
Canada

Katherine McAuliffe

CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar 2017-2019

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
Boston College
United States

Megan Peters

CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar 2019-2021

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
University of California Irvine
United States

Adeel Razi

CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars 2021-2023

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
Monash University
Australia

Joshua Shepherd

CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar 2019-2021

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
Carleton University
University of Barcelona
Canada

Lucina Q. Uddin

CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar 2018-2020

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
University of Miami
United States

Filip Van Opstal

CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar 2019-2021

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
University of Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Yaniv Ziv

CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar 2018-2020

Brain, Mind & Consciousness
Weizmann Institute of Science
Israel

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Support Us

CIFAR is a registered charitable organization supported by the governments of Canada, Alberta and Quebec, as well as foundations, individuals, corporations and Canadian and international partner organizations.

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