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Posted August 25 , 2010
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Health Research

Minister of State Steven Fletcher announces research funding to improve health of Canadians

TORONTO - The University of Toronto will undertake new research into treatments for cancer and cardiovascular disease thanks to an investment announced by the Honourable Steven Fletcher, Minister of State (Democratic Reform), on behalf of the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology).

"Our government is investing in research that will lead to innovation and better health outcomes for Canadian families," said Minister of State Fletcher. "This investment will also generate new jobs and opportunities in the health sector, improve the health of communities across the country and strengthen our health care system."

The University of Toronto will receive $3.3 million over three years to fund seven new research projects. The funding comes from the Collaborative Health Research Projects (CHRP) program, an initiative of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

The projects, each headed by a leading researcher, will explore advancements in neuroscience and human cell biology, and innovative treatments for cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Across Canada, 12 universities will undertake 31 new research projects worth $13 million that will improve health services for Canadians and economic development in the health sector. The program grants are designed to support new projects that involve partnerships between any field of the natural sciences or engineering and the health sciences with an impact on the health of Canadians.

"The CHRP program brings together the expertise of researchers in the natural sciences and engineering fields with medical researchers to find innovative solutions in key areas of health," said Dr. Suzanne Fortier, President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. "The collaborators will be working on important, cross-disciplinary projects with a direct impact on the well-being of Canadians."

The 12 universities were selected for funding following a peer-review competition. Each university will receive between $200 000 and $760 000 over three years. Among the projects funded by the CHRP program are a number of experimental treatments for cancers and cardiovascular diseases, developments for computer-assisted surgery, "smart" stents for wireless monitoring of vascular disease, a contact-lens-based drug delivery system for glaucoma treatment and the first completely automatic anaesthesia delivery system.

"By fostering collaboration between disciplines, we're opening up new avenues for research and new opportunities for innovation," said Dr. Alain Beaudet, President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. "The projects announced today may lead to new and better ways to diagnose and treat disease or to promising commercial opportunities for Canadian companies."

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada is a federal agency whose vision is to help make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators to the benefit of all Canadians. The agency supports some 28 000 students and post-doctoral fellows in their advanced studies. It also promotes discovery by funding more than 11 800 professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging more than 1500 Canadian companies to participate and invest in post-secondary research projects.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research is the Government of Canada's agency for health research. Its mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to catalyze its translation into improved health for Canadians, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health care system. Composed of 13 institutes, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research provides leadership and support to more than 13 000 health researchers and trainees across Canada.

Further information on the program is available in the backgrounder and at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research website (www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/193.html).

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