July 15, 2003 | MIT recently broke ground for the McGovern Institute for Brain Research, a planned 85,000-square-foot state-of-the art research facility that will become part of MIT’s larger brain and cognitive sciences research project. Nobel laureate Phillip Sharp is the new institute’s director.
The new institute was made possible by a $350-million donation from MIT alumnus Patrick J. McGovern and his wife, Lore Harp McGovern. Patrick is the founder and chairman of IDG, the publisher of Bio-IT World and leading producer of high-tech media and conferences worldwide. Lore is an entrepreneur and has founded several high-tech companies.
“My wife and I have always been very interested in communications and learning. In the mid-1990s, we realized that the tools to advance brain studies had really taken a quantum leap forward,” McGovern says.
Seven universities vied for the gift, which was awarded in 2000 and will be provided over 20 years. When finished in 2005, the new facility will join the Picower Center for Learning and Memory and the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, with a total of 376,000 square feet devoted to brain and cognitive research.
“Over the course of 25 years I would expect the [McGovern] Institute to produce more than 2,000 different fellows and scientists,” Sharp says, “[and the] three buildings should be home to about 1,500 people and produce over a five-year period 6,000 students and fellows. This is a remarkable commitment to neuroscience.”