Pauline Braathen has given the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience US $5 million to establish a new center at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim. The Kavli Foundation has matched this donation with NOK 50 million.
British-born Pauline Braathen announced in September that she would donate US $5 million to establish The Egil and Pauline Braathen and Fred Kavli Centre for Cortical Microcircuits at the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience at the NTNU. Braathen was married to Egil Braathens for 46 years. He died in 2009 after a prolonged period of advanced Alzheimer’s disease. Egil Braathen was an extremely successful property developer who became one of Norway’s richest men.
“I have a great love for Norway and I am very pleased at last to be able to contribute directly to the creative genius of its medical researchers and its outstanding research potential,” said Mrs. Braathen to NTNU.
Mrs. Braathen is joined in making this gift by three of her late husband’s nephews and nieces, who were also named in his will. They are making their own contribution of US $1 million in lasting memory of their uncle.
“Through this donation, I want to recognize and encourage the world-leading neuroscience research in Trondheim, which is led by the remarkable Nobel Prize winners May-Britt and Edvard Moser,” continued Mrs. Braathen. “At the same time I wish to honor my deceased husband, Egil Braathen, who had a lot to be grateful to St. Olavs Hospital for. The research led by May-Britt and Edvard Moser has great importance for a world in need of increased knowledge about how the brain works, in order to prevent and cure brain-related diseases and illnesses. I believe that this unique combination of research and clinical excellence has the qualities we need to find the answers to the Alzheimer’s mystery. It is therefore with great joy that I and some of Egil’s heirs in Norway are taking action in accordance with Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s call to give money to this purpose.”
A central part of the Institute
The grant donation will be matched with a corresponding grant of US $6 million from the Kavli Foundation in the USA, so that the total grant to the Foundation in Trondheim will be approximately NOK 100 million. The new center for cortical microcircuits will be a central part of the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience. By conducting research on cortical microcircuits, the center must necessarily take a long-term perspective on its work. The cross-disciplinary nature of research on cortical microcircuits also means different research groups at the center will be involved in the effort, which also offers an opportunity for the center to grow and expand. The new center will hopefully speed up research in the direction of diagnostics and the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
The payout by the Foundation from the NOK 100 million gift will result in a yearly research grant of NOK 5 million to the new center and to the Kavli Institute. The money will also be matched by a grant of 25 per cent through a government fund called the “gaveforsterkningsordningen” (“gift enhancement arrangement”).