Toronto, Ontario, June 9, 2011 – The Government of Canada will provide funding for research to develop new treatments for lung, breast and ovarian cancers, as well as other life-threatening diseases. Speaking at the University of Toronto, the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology) announced that 17 universities will receive funding for state-of-the-art research that will lead to direct health benefits for Canadians, more effective health services, and economic development in health-related areas.
“Our government supports health research because it improves the lives of Canadians,” said Minister Goodyear. “These investments will bring together world-leading scientists to seek solutions to important health care problems, and lead to new treatments and technologies that will help patients across the country and around the world.”
Today’s announcement of $15 million in funding is provided through the Collaborative Health Research Projects program—a partnership between the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Collaborative Health Research Projects grants are designed to assist new projects that involve interdisciplinary collaborations between any field of the natural sciences or engineering and the health sciences.
The University of Toronto will receive over $3.2 million for seven research projects that will explore areas such as innovative cancer diagnosis and treatments, the development of low-cost devices capable of detecting infectious diseases, and furthering regenerative medicine studies.
“The Collaborative Health Research Projects program supports interdisciplinary research that is focussed on finding innovative solutions to challenges in health-related fields. Being at the forefront of discovery and innovation, there is no doubt that the impact of this research will be felt here in Canada and across the world,” said Suzanne Fortier, President of NSERC.
The grant recipients from 17 universities were selected following a peer review competition. Each recipient will receive between $150,000 and $690,000 over three years. Among the projects funded by the Collaborative Health Research Projects program are developments for a bioengineered cell delivery system to help repair spinal cord injury; risk factors and an optimization model for breast cancer screening; a new intelligent, mobile device for the diagnosis and management of respiratory disease; and the development of new technologies to assess long-term exposures of the Canadian population to air pollution.
“This interface with NSERC is one of the frontiers of the health sciences,” said Dr. Alain Beaudet, President of CIHR. “The Collaborative Health Research Projects brings scientific and engineering disciplines into the realm of health research to develop innovative technologies that are at the forefront of health care, including medical devices, robotics, and imaging. The Collaborative Health Research Projects program has a huge impact on the application of health care and is a Canadian commercialization success story.”
NSERC is a federal agency that helps make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for all Canadians. It supports some 30,000 post-secondary students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies. NSERC promotes discovery by funding more than 12,000 professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging more than 1,500 Canadian companies to participate and invest in post-secondary research projects.
The CIHR is the Government of Canada’s agency for health research. CIHR’s mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to enable its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health-care system. Composed of 13 Institutes, the agency provides leadership and support to more than 13,600 health researchers and trainees across Canada.
More information on the Collaborative Health Research Projects program is available in the backgrounder below.
For further information (media only), please contact:
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear
Minister of State (Science and Technology)
Media and Public Affairs Officer
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
The Collaborative Health Research Projects program supports collaborative research projects involving any field of the natural sciences or engineering and the health sciences. The Collaborative Health Research Projects program is jointly funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).
The Collaborative Health Research Projects program supports original research that will lead to health benefits for Canadians, more effective health services, or economic development in health-related areas. Projects may range from fundamental knowledge creation to research on knowledge application that is relevant to industry or public policy.
Collaborative Health Research Projects grants are designed to assist new projects that involve interdisciplinary collaborations that will have an impact on the health of Canadians. In 2011, the 34 recipients received an average grant of approximately $150,000 per year, for up to three years, for defined projects with clear milestones and decision points.
The objectives of the Collaborative Health Research Projects program are to:
Starting in the next competition, the active participation and support of a non-academic knowledge/technology user organization will be required to apply to this program. The knowledge/technology user must be an organization with the potential to use the knowledge generated through the research and apply it to new health-related products, policies, programs and/or practices outside the research setting.
The participation of two or more independent researchers with complementary expertise is required. Team composition must include expertise in the natural sciences or engineering and the health sciences. New collaborations between researchers in the natural sciences and engineering and medical researchers, clinicians, social scientists and humanists are strongly encouraged. Collaborators from other sectors (e.g., government and industry) and foreign researchers are welcome to participate, but are expected to bring their own resources to the project.