Prof Colin Blakemore appointed Director of CenSes

Wednesday 15 May 2013

Press Release

Professor Colin Blakemore joins the Institute of Philosophy

Distinguished neuroscientist appointed as as Director of the Institute’s Centre for the Study of the Senses

The Institute of Philosophy, a member institute of the University of London’s School of Advanced Study, is delighted to welcome Professor Colin Blakemore as Director of the Institute’s Centre for the Study of the Senses.

Professor Blakemore, a renowned vision scientist, is one of Britain’s leading scientists, who speaks and advises on a number of public issues, including chairing the Royal Society’s recent Brain Waves project, reviewing the policy implications of developments in neuroscience, including a report on Neuroscience and the Law. Colin Blakemore is a Fellow of the Royal Society, and was a previous head of the Medical Research Council. He has been a Reith Lecturer and given the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures. He has been honoured by many countries, including India and China, and has ten honorary degrees.

Colin‘s research on the neuronal plasticity of the brain has wide implications for learning and memory. He has shown how the visual cortex adapts shortly after birth, helping the brain to match itself to the sensory environment, and this process of reorganisation helps to explain how some parts of the brain can take over the function of others after damage. Professor Blakemore will direct the work of the Centre for the Study of the Senses, which pioneers collaborative sensory research between philosophers, psychologists and neuroscientists, looking at the way our senses cooperate to create perceptions of the world around us.

Colin Blakemore commented: “For many years I have thought that philosophy has much to contribute to the exploding field of neuroscience – and vice versa. I am very excited about the challenge of facilitating new interactions and collaborations across the traditional boundaries between the humanities and neuroscience.”

Professor Barry Smith, Director of the Institute of Philosophy, said: “We are delighted to have Colin Blakemore joining us. He will play a vital role in leading a new generation of philosophically-minded neuroscientists and scientifically-minded philosophers.”

Notes for Editors:
1. For further information please contact Dee Burn at the School of Advanced Study at or +44 (0)20 7862 8670.
2. The Centre for the Study of the Senses (CenSes) at the Institute of Philosophy has an international Scientific Board comprising philosophers, psychologists and neuroscientists. The aim of the centre is to foster interdisciplinary research on the senses by identifying research groupings to pursue specialised topics of benefit to the participating disciplines.
3. The Institute of Philosophy (IP) was founded in 2005, building upon and developing the work of the Philosophy Programme from 1995–2005. The Institute’s mission is to promote and support philosophy of the highest quality in all its forms, both inside and outside the University, and across the UK. Its activities divide into three kinds: events, fellowships and research facilitation.
4. Colin Blakemore has been a Professor of Physiology, and then Neuroscience, at the University of Oxford since 1979. He was also Director of the Oxford Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience. From 1 October 2012, he will have the title of Emeritus Professor of Neuroscience at Oxford in addition to his new appointment at the University of London.
5. The School of Advanced Study (SAS) at the University of London is the UK’s national centre for the facilitation and promotion of research in the humanities and social sciences. The School brings together the specialised scholarship and resources of 10 prestigious research institutes to offer academic opportunities, facilities and stimulation across a wide range of subject areas for the benefit of the national and international scholarly community. The member institutes of the School are the Institutes of Advanced Legal Studies, Classical Studies, Commonwealth Studies, English Studies, Germanic & Romance Studies, Historical Research, Musical Research, Philosophy, Study of the Americas, and The Warburg Institute.