OTTAWA - The federal budget announced today includes encouraging measures in support of health research discovery, innovation, and commercialization.
Research Canada is pleased with the commitment to provide $15 million per year to the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) to support advanced health-related research, such as the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research. "We are encouraged by the federal government's support of the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR)," said Mr. Jacques Hendlisz, Research Canada's Chair and Director General of the Douglas Mental Health University Institute. "With strategies like SPOR in place, it will be possible to create a national economic environment that enables the multi-sectoral partnerships required for a robust innovation enterprise that will enhance R&D capacity and accelerate the translation of discovery research into the health-care system and into the global marketplace."
Research Canada welcomes the increase of $15 million per year to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and $7 million per year to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). Research Canada is further encouraged by the federal government's continuing support of the full costs of research.
Research Canada views these investments as a positive step in the right direction and encourages the Government of Canada to maintain its ongoing commitment to the upstream investment in discovery research that keeps the commercialization pipeline rich and deep.
Research Canada is pleased with a further investment of $53.5 million over five years to support the creation of 10 new Canada Excellence Research Chairs. "The Canada Research Chairs program is a critical program for supporting established scientists," said Dr. Michael Julius, Research Canada's Past Chair and Vice-President of Research, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. "It is not; however, a replacement for a continuum of career-development programs that protects our human capital at every stage of their training. Sustainable funding models for salary support for health researchers are urgently required if we are going to protect our pool of talent for business innovation and productivity growth."
Research Canada is encouraged by the investment of an additional $65 million for Genome Canada to launch a new competition in the area of human health and sustain the operating costs of Genome Canada and the Genome Centres until 2013-14.
Further, the organization supports targeted research investments proposed in Budget 2011 including:
· the $100 million in matching funds to help establish the Canada Brain Research Fund, which will support the very best Canadian neuroscience, fostering collaborative research and accelerating the pace of discovery, in order to improve the health and quality of life of Canadians who suffer from brains disorders; and the $4 million over three years to the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute in support of the construction of a cyclotron for the production of medical isotopes at the Institute.
Research Canada is encouraged by Budget 2011's commitment to foster commercialization and business innovation through its independent expert panel established to undertake a comprehensive review of federal support for business research and development. "Research Canada underscores in its submission to the panel the need to support the entire cycle of R&D, from discovery, through to product development and commercialization, to the marketplace and to health-care settings," said Ms. Deborah Gordon-El-Bihbety, President and CEO of Research Canada. "It also underscores the need to invest in a balanced fashion across the continuum of activities that, in aggregate, comprise an innovation system that is predicated on research and development."