UK Minister to Visit McGill and Talk “Science in Cities”

Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014
The Rt. Hon. David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and Science, United Kingdom, will be on campus on Feb. 11.

The Rt. Hon. David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and Science, United Kingdom, will be on campus on Feb. 11.

By Meaghan Thurston

On Tuesday, Feb. 11, Research and International Relations will host the Rt. Hon. David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and Science, United Kingdom. At a luncheon event he will deliver a keynote address, considering the “opportunities and challenges for science in future cities.”

Minister Willetts champions policies that allow universities to drive local growth plans and support entrepreneurship and innovation.

Minister Willetts has voiced his support for the Brain@McGill-Oxford-ZNZ (Neuroscience Center Zurich) partnership, which he says “aims to bring together some of the leading minds in translational neuroscience, to address some of the most complex health problems facing our societies today and into the future.”

Established in 2009, Brain@McGill brings together a dynamic network of scientists, teaching hospitals, research labs, clinics and institutes from across the University that share an advanced interest in molecular, cellular, systems, behavioural and cognitive neuroscience.

“We are very honoured to have the support of UK Minister David Willetts for the work Brain@McGill has undertaken in partnership with Oxford and ZNZ,” says Dr. Anne McKinney, Vice‐Chair of Brain@McGill. “Given McGill’s long history of contributions to the field of Neuroscience, as well as our esteemed Montreal Neurological Institute and Douglas Mental Health Institute, it was a natural next step to partner with other leading institutions in the field like Oxford and ZNZ, to build upon complementary strengths and enhance our capacity to advance our understanding and develop novel therapies to treat neurological disorders. We look forward to good things in the years ahead.”

Tours of McGill’s Green Chemistry Laboratories and the Montreal Neurological Institute’s Brain Imaging Centre are on the Minister’s agenda for the day.

“Minister Willet’s interest in universities driving entrepreneurship and innovation resonates very well with many initiatives at McGill – certainly our efforts in Green Chemistry are one excellent example,” says Professor Bruce Lennox from the Department of Chemistry. “We look forward to hearing his perspective on how policy can be used to sustain initiatives once they leave the university environment.”

An MP since 1992, Willetts was educated at King Edward’s School, Birmingham and Christ Church, Oxford, where he studied philosophy, politics and economics. Hailed as a “thinking person’s MP” by Guardian columnist Richard Reeve in his review of Willetts’s book, The Pinch: How the baby boomers took their children’s future – and why they should give it back (2011), Willetts has also written widely on economic and social policy.

Members of McGill’s leadership and research community, government representatives, community members, including Quartier de l’innovation collaborators, as well as alumni, and members of Montreal’s business community will be in attendance at the luncheon event.


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