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About the Endowment Fund for Neuroscience  

Black & white photo of McKnight's founder, William McKnight

The McKnight Foundation began supporting basic neuroscience research in 1977, in accordance with the wishes of its founder, William L. McKnight (pictured). He was interested in diseases affecting the brain and memory, especially as a person ages.

In 1986, after 10 years of supporting investigators at different levels of neuroscience research, the Foundation established The McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience as a permanent commitment to fundamental research in the field. In 2000, the Endowment Fund revised its awards program to take into account rapid progress in the field during the 1990s and to encourage neuroscientists, individually and in collaboration with other scientists, to explore new approaches to understanding the brain and its diseases.

In 1994, The McKnight Foundation commissioned an evaluation by ABT Associates of Cambridge, Massachusetts. The evaluation reported that Endowment Fund awards were important "in helping young researchers to establish productive research programs early in their careers, and in allowing established researchers to explore new directions." They concluded that "McKnight funding has been associated with many of the most important developments in fundamental neuroscience in recent years."