A time of transformational change at Neuroscience Research Australia

This year is a time of transformational change at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), driven by the evolving impact of brain disorders on the health needs of our community and the changing operating environment for research and research funding. NeuRA’s new organisational strategy will see a much sharper focus on neurodegeneration, mental health and ageing well; an emphasis on clinical outcomes; and a search for partnerships which can enable greater scale and impact.

After over 18 years of exemplary service to NeuRA, Professor Peter R Schofield AO will be stepping down from his role as Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, effective 31 December 2022. Professor Schofield will remain in his current role until the end of the year and will continue to conduct the research activities for which he is renowned at the institute. The Board has launched its search for a new CEO and asked Ms Carole Renouf (currently Executive Director, NeuRA Foundation) to serve as Interim CEO.

Professor Schofield joined the Institute in 2004 and since that time, has implemented an expansive vision that has transformed the original institute into the vibrant institute we see today. Notable highlights of his nearly two-decade tenure include expanding both laboratory and clinical research in ageing and neurodegenerative disorders and in mental health; establishing the NeuRA Foundation, which has raised over $75M to date; rebranding the institute as Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA); the conception and delivery of the $74M Margarete Ainsworth Building, which was made possible by securing major Commonwealth and State government grants along with substantial philanthropic support, in particular from Mrs Ainsworth; the growth of the institute from 120 to over 300 staff, income from $8M to over $40M, and assets from $10M to over $100M; and the development and adoption of the current Strategic Plan which has led to the appointment of Prof Carolyn Sue AM as the inaugural Kinghorn Chair, Neurodegeneration, the first step in implementation of the new strategy.

During his tenure at NeuRA, two personal recognitions of Professor Schofield’s research and community contributions are especially salient. The first was his election to Fellowship of the Australia Academy of Health and Medical Sciences in 2015 and the second was his appointment in 2019 as an Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to medical and scientific research in the field of neuroscience, and to professional institutions.

Mr James MacNevin, NeuRA Chair said, “I congratulate Professor Schofield for his truly extraordinary contribution to the life, growth and identity of our institute, as well as for advancing a vision for cross-campus partnerships on which we can build into the future.”

“On behalf of the Board and staff, we wish Professor Schofield all the very best in his future endeavours and thank him for always acting in the best interests of the institute.”

Professor Schofield said “It has been my privilege and honour to serve as NeuRA’s leader for so many years. I thank our research and support team leaders and all our staff and students for helping me to make this vision a reality, and I especially acknowledge our generous supporters. I hope that my work has laid the foundations for many years of future growth and success.”

To read more about Professor Schofield’s broader contributions to the Randwick Health and Innovation Precinct, to Australian health and medical research generally and his research into Alzheimer’s disease and mental illness specifically, click here to read the full letter from NeuRA’s Chair.