UCL centre lauded in major brain imaging report
19 September 2011
The Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging (WTCN) at UCL is cited as a world leader in a new report on human functional brain imaging.
The report, Human functional brain imaging 1990-2009: Portfolio review, published by the Wellcome Trust, uses the 20th anniversary of the first human study using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as an opportunity to assess the key developments and the role it has played as a funder. Between 1990 and 2008, it invested £114m in human functional brain imaging research, of which nearly half (£50m; 39 grants) has gone to the WTCN at UCL.
Professor Richard Frackowiak established the WTCN (formerly the Functional Imaging Laboratory) in 1993 with an initial £20m of Wellcome Trust funds – which, at the time, was one of the largest grants ever considered by the Trust.
In that time, such investment has certainly borne fruit. Brain imaging work linked to the WTCN has been more cited than that linked to any other institute – outranking Harvard University in terms of overall citations in the period from 1989 to 2008.
Equally, of the 20 most cited authors in brain imaging today, the top four – Karl Friston, Ray Dolan, Richard Frackowiak and Christopher Frith – are currently or recently associated with the WTCN.
Researchers at the WTCN have been responsible for many of the key breakthroughs in our knowledge of the functional capabilities of the brain (see WTCN case study).
The report states: “Today, in 2011, under the direction of Professor Ray Dolan (Director, 2006–present), the WTCN is considered a world leader in brain imaging research and is a unique and valued resource for training and nurturing young scientists.”
“Many of the key breakthroughs in our knowledge of the functional capabilities of the brain from the mid-1990s to the present day emerged from or have links to the FIL or the WTCN at UCL.”