Brown University has signed a memorandum of understanding with Lifespan, Care New England, the University of Rhode Island, and the Providence VA to share information and collectively plan in support of each other’s programs in brain science research, teaching, and health care.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — To advance science, education, and care for patients across Rhode Island and beyond, Brown University has engaged in an agreement with four other prominent institutions engaged in brain science around the state. A memorandum of understanding calls for collaboration among Brown, the University of Rhode Island, and the Lifespan, Care New England, and Providence Veterans Affairs Medical Center hospital systems.

Brown President Christina Paxson noted that collaboration among the research partners is not new, but the new agreement will make the collaborations stronger.

“We believe that this new level of partnership stands to improve our ability to attract more funding and the best faculty and students,” Paxson said. “It will accelerate the pace at which we can do research and magnify the reach of our teaching and the diversity of ideas in our classrooms.”

The research partners have long worked together to achieve significant advances in many areas of brain science, including work Brown has done with the VA on BrainGate to help people with paralysis, with Butler Hospital on neurotechnology to fight depression and OCD, and with the Bradley Hospital on conditions such as autism.

In many of these collaborations, Brown’s role is to provide the foundation of basic, laboratory science to discover what is possible.

“As we produce those inspiring insights, we then work to make them translatable in work with patients,” said Dr. Jack A. Elias, Brown’s dean of medicine and biological sciences, chief of translational medicine, and head of Warren Alpert Medical School. “In all, the Brown Institute for Brain Science brings together more than 100 members of our faculty, whether they are entirely based at Brown or jointly affiliated with the Alpert Medical School and one of our hospital partners.”

The MOU will strengthen the partners’ ability to rise to the challenges of confronting pain, addiction, autism, and Alzheimer’s disease in Rhode Island and beyond.

The MOU establishes a committee among the five institutions that will share information and identify, plan, and act on opportunities for collaboration in areas such as research, training, sharing of equipment, and recruiting new faculty and physicians. Brown’s representatives will be Diane Lipscombe, professor of neuroscience and interim director of the Brown Institute for Brain Science (BIBS), and John Davenport, BIBS associate director.

Each partner brings important programs closer together under the agreement, according to the MOU. In addition to the 100 faculty members BIBS encompasses who are based at Brown and its seven affiliated hospitals, Lifespan hosts the Norman Prince Neurosciences Institute, URI hosts the George and Anne Ryan Institute for Neurosciences, and the VA Medical Center is home to the VA Center of Excellence for Neurorestoration and Neurotechnology. Care New England operates Butler Hospital, the state’s only nonprofit, free-standing psychiatric hospital serving adults, seniors, and adolescents. Lifespan operates the E.P. Bradley Hospital, the nation’s first psychiatric hospital devoted exclusively to children and adolescents.