Ian Robertson, PhD

Institute of Neuroscience & School of Psychology
Trinity College Dublin

Global Brain Health Institute

TCD Faculty Profile
Key Areas: neuropsychology of attention and awareness, neurorehabilitation, brain health

As co-director of the Global Brain Health Institute, Ian Robertson shares his years of experience in analyzing risk factors of dementia and scalable models to delay the start of dementia in a person.

This is a unique attempt to train the leaders who will get much more rapid translation of new science as it comes on board into implementation.

Robertson held the chair in psychology at Trinity College Dublin and was the founding director of Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience (TCIN), a multi-disciplinary research facility where social scientists, psychologists, geneticists, biochemists, engineers, physicians, psychiatrists, physiologists, and physicists work to solve some of the most pressing problems of human health, particularly those related to brain health, aging, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Robertson’s focus on the human brain’s attention systems has led to a number of innovative ways to measure how humans pay—or fail to pay—attention. He has extended this research to help develop new therapeutic methods that have resulted in improved cognitive function in aging and other populations. This work on attention has also created an important new theory about how socio-economic factors, such as poor education and social deprivation, interact with the biology of the brain to increase the risk of dementia.

Robertson has also served as the co-director of the Neuroenhancement for Independent Lives (NEIL), a research program that aims to find scalable methods for delaying dementia.

His work has been recognized globally and published in more than 300 papers in journals such as Nature, Psychological Bulletin, Journal of Neuroscience, and Neuropsychologia, and in several books, including the leading international textbook on cognitive rehabilitation.

Robertson is a prominent lecturer and mentor, holding visiting professorships at University College London, University of Bangor, the Rotman Research Institute, and the University of Toronto. In 2014, Robertson was elected a Fellow of the American Association for Psychological Science in recognition of “sustained and outstanding distinguished contributions to psychological science.”

Robertson’s work focuses on improving the brain health of aging populations by collaborating with local and international experts to help understand the effects of external risk factors on dementia.

Bio: Ian Robertson was professor of psychology at Trinity College Dublin 1999–2016 and was the founding director of Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, as well as dean of research of Trinity College from 2004–2007. He earned his master's and doctoral degrees at the University of London, where he qualified in clinical psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry.