CANADA: Universities receive health research funding

The Canadian government has announced a major $13 million (US$12.5 million) investment in healthcare-related studies in 12 universities across the country.

One example is funding of $1.7 million from Canadian federal ministers for researchers at the University of British Columbia to aid their work on health-related projects including prostate surgery, scar tissue reduction, drug monitoring and vascular disease monitoring.

The Collaborative Health Research Projects (CHRP) funding, announced by Minister for Science and Technology Gary Goodyear and the President of the Treasury Board, Stockwell Day, will financially encourage collaboration between the natural sciences or engineering and health sciences at the university.

"Our government supports innovation because it creates jobs, strengthens the economy and improves the quality of life of Canadians," said Goodyear. "These research partnerships will lead to new health benefits for Canadians and more effective health services."

Each year university research teams across the country apply for funding through CHRP, which in turn is funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

This year more than 110 applications were submitted and of those only 31 projects from 12 universities were chosen to receive funding.

As well as the University of British Columbia (UBC), the CHRP funding will be allocated over the next three years to: Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia; Quebec's McGill University, Université de Montréal and Université de Sherbrooke; Ontario's University of Ottawa, University of Waterloo, Queen's University, University of Toronto and McMaster University; Alberta's University of Calgary, and Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.

"We are grateful to the government of Canada for its vision and ongoing support of leading-edge research and graduate education," said Stephen Toope, President of UBC.

"This research funding highlights the quality of UBC graduate students and our strong track record in multidisciplinary collaborations that are aimed at solving real problems in the world while generating economic impact."

Of the 31 approved projects, four are from research teams at UBC including a new smart stent project that could help save and improve the lives of people with vascular diseases. Electrical and computer engineering assistant professor Kenichi Takahata, Dr York Hsiang and Dr Joel Gagnon have come together to develop a stent that, once implanted into a patient, acts as a wireless sensor to allow doctors to monitor the patient's heart and detect changes.