The University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) began working towards the creation of a neuroscience institute in 2011. The driving force behind the Queensland Mind and Neuroscience Institute (QMNI) concept was to integrate clinical services with research and teaching to tackle some of the most serious mental health issues present in Australia and at the same time to help reduce their impact in the underserviced local Sunshine Coast community.
In 2015 Sunshine Coast philanthropists Roy and Nola Thompson agreed to assist the development of the QMNI by means of a generous donation to purchase a building. This was a tipping point for the project, resulting in the University committing additional funds to advance the project and to appoint the inaugural director, Professor Jim Lagopoulos.
On Tuesday, 28 July 2015 Professor Greg Hill, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of the Sunshine Coast signed a contract for the purchase of a three story building with 4400m2 of floor space at 12 Innovation Parkway, Birtinya. This building was to become a hub for mental health research, teaching and clinical services and was named the “Sunshine Coast Mind and Neuroscience – Thompson Institute”.
A QMNI Foundation Board was brought together to guide the development, strategic positioning and resourcing of the Institute. The Board, chaired by Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston AC, AFC (Ret’d) includes Professor Greg Hill, Dr Paul Alexander, Professor Max Bennett, Professor Patrick McGorry, John Mendoza, Jenny Morawska, Mick Palmer and Chris Raine.