Newswise — Tulane University’s Brain Institute has received a $1 million pledge from the Priddy Family Foundation to endow and establish the Priddy Family Spark Research Endowed Fund. The fund will provide competitive awards to faculty for early-stage research support that advances the research priorities of the brain institute. 

“We are very excited about our involvement with the Tulane Brain Institute and are honored to be a part of such a great undertaking,” said Robert Priddy.  “After years in venture capital, I know when I see a quality venture and investing in early-stage scientific research at Tulane will have tremendous returns for humanity in the future.”

The criteria for awards from the Priddy Family Spark Research Endowed Fund will be based on the scientific merit of the project, the potential to elevate the national visibility and reputation of the Tulane Brain Institute and the potential for future support from competitive national funding agencies.

“Robert Priddy is one of our most distinguished and loyal alumni. He and his wife Kikie share a passion for encouraging academic excellence at all levels - from K–12 to graduate school and beyond,” said Tulane President Mike Fitts.  “This latest act of generosity from the Priddy Family Foundation will provide opportunities for Tulane students to join the efforts of Tulane Brain Institute researchers in exploring age-related dementias and other neurodegenerative diseases, stroke, posttraumatic stress, autism, schizophrenia and a host of other issues critical to understanding the brain and improving lives worldwide.”

The awards will support early-stage research and bridge funding, including stipends for graduate and undergraduate research assistants. 

“This remarkable gift will allow the Tulane Brain Institute faculty to take risks in their research as they test early-stage ideas and gather pilot data to increase their competitiveness for external funding,” said Laura Levy, vice president for research at Tulane. “The gift will provide long-term support for the kind of bold and innovative research that could lead to real breakthroughs in our ability to understand and treat brain disease.”

Robert Priddy spent 30-plus years in aviation, starting three airlines from scratch, all of which were successful operations and ultimately sold to larger airlines. He then spent several years in personal venture capital investing before co-founding Comvest Investment Partners, a private equity fund managing over $3 billion in assets in both equity and debt funds. Since retiring, he manages his personal investments as Chairman of RMC Capital, LLC.