NeuroDevNet welcomes Mr. Tom Philpott as its Executive Director

March 10, 2015

On the eve of its second five-years as a national research network, NeuroDevNet is welcoming a new leader.

Tom Philpott joins the Vancouver-based national Network of Centres of Excellence as Executive Director after holding a variety of administrative positions at the McGill University Health Centre, as well as working as a strategy and management consultant, most recently for Capital District Health Authority in Halifax, NS. From 2009-2012, he was at helm of the Community for Excellence in Health Governance, a national non-profit that promoted excellence in corporate governance and leadership through education, partnerships and collaborative projects.

“Tom comes to the Network with great experience in the health care sector, and leading initiatives that are multi-faceted and complex – perfect training for his new role with NeuroDevNet,” said Scientific Director Dr. Daniel Goldowitz.

“I like to view myself as a creative catalyst for social change,” said Philpott. “I was drawn to NeuroDevNet because the world-class research being done within the Network is going to make meaningful impacts on the lives of children and families, and society as a whole. With one in six children worldwide affected by a neurodisability, NeuroDevNet is making an incredibly important contribution.”

“The Board of Directors is really pleased we were able to attract some outstanding candidates for the ED position, and delighted that Tom was selected,” observed Board Chair Patrick Lafferty.

“Our team of top researchers from over 20 Canadian and six international universities deserve the type of wise leadership and energy that Tom brings,” added Lafferty. “We support more than 40 individual research projects that depend on synergies with others. We also support over 100 academic, hospital, health charity, government, and industry financing and research partnerships. All will benefit from Tom’s direct experience in developing agreements with each of these sectors, as well as his background in project management and information technology.”

“The Network has done excellent research in its first cycle, and other projects are underway that also have great potential,” Philpott added. “In our second cycle, we have to do what we can to accelerate uptake and implementation into practice, and we still want to be doing first-rate research.

“I see grass roots initiatives, such as the Community for Brain Development, and our knowledge translation programs and services as vital to the growth of the network,” he said. “Mutual leveraging of capability and expertise will be key, as will technology, in the process of discovery, and making our discoveries available – getting results out there to make a difference as soon as possible. Neuroethics and neuroinformatics will make qualitative – and quantitative -– differences in the relevance and uptake of our research.”

With so many significant stakeholders, ranging from researchers to provincial governments, universities, the federal government, the tri-councils, and national, regional and community service organizations to families and children with neurodisabilities, Philpott’s top priority is the development of a focused strategy. “It will be important align our objectives and resources,” he said.

“The number one challenge for NeuroDevNet going forward is sustainability. How do you sustain an organization in a research field so that it can have the time to prove itself and make a difference? As well, much of our research does not have immediate commercial value, although the value to the lives of the children and families affected can be immeasurable. Results are expected quickly, but high quality research takes time to conduct and deliver. We need to find the sweet spot.”

“We face fabulous opportunities to break new ground in pursuing new research and funding opportunities to sustain the network in the long term,” said Lafferty. “We welcome Tom. His timing is excellent to lead a decade of progress. We look forward to his contributions to serving the more than 700 thousand Canadian children with neurodisabilties and their families.”