Following extensive individual and group submissions from staff, students and external stakeholders, the Dean and Vice Chancellor have advised that the ANU will retain the Eccles Institute of Neuroscience. This is wonderful news and I wish to thank the over 750 people who signed the ANS open letter.

The revised plan now recommends retaining capabilities in core areas, namely cellular and circuit neuroscience, and coupling this with the development of a University-wide strategic plan to transform the Eccles Institute of Neuroscience into an inter-disciplinary Eccles Institute of Neuroscience and Brain Sciences. This aligns with the original vision of the Institute and the broader interests of Eccles himself and, if successful, could provide enhanced research and education offerings across many parts of ANU.

The Dean and the members of the College Executive Committee have advised that they are very grateful for the feedback and suggestions received from academic and professional staff, students, and other stakeholders internal and external to the University.

The new plan said “The College and University has agreed to support the development of a Strategic Plan for neuroscience, and the possible development from a department of the JCSMR, to a university-wide interdisciplinary Institute. This is in keeping with the original vision of the Eccles Institute when it was established. If the delivery of the strategic objectives are successful, this would enable and support a future state in which cellular, circuit and systems neuroscience might integrate strongly with molecular neurobiology, clinical brain sciences, human psychology, data and computational sciences, brain-machine interfaces, and relevant disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. In addition, it might enable the continued delivery, innovation and evolution of brain science-related undergraduate and postgraduate courses and programs.”

The Strategic Planning process for neuroscience at the ANU will be undertaken this year by a panel established which will be chaired by Professor Sir Edward Byrne AC who is a neurologist and higher education leader with experience building successful multidisciplinary brain science entities in Melbourne and London.

Prof Peter R Schofield AO
President