Posts tagged ‘life science funding’
VANCOUVER – More than $5 million in federal and provincial funding will help Genome BC support commercialization of genomics discoveries and technology.
The Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, and Joan McIntyre, MLA for West Vancouver-Sea to Sky, announced the joint funding for Genome BC’s new proof-of-concept program that will help to commercialize genomics-based applications.
“We are proud to support an initiative that will help build stronger linkages between scientific discovery and commercialization,” said Minister Yelich. “With this investment, B.C. will further advance its important role in developing the life sciences cluster.”
Local organizations will apply to Genome BC for funding to help advance their discoveries and bridge the gap between technology development and commercialization. Over the next three-and-a-half years, Genome BC will accept and review the applications and fund an anticipated 30 projects, several of which are expected to lead to spinoff companies and technology licensing deals. For information on how to apply for funding, please visit http://www.genomebc.ca.
“We recognize that converting cutting-edge, genomics-based discoveries into useful, clinic-ready and market-ready applications is challenging,” said Alan Winter, president and CEO of Genome BC. “Through this exciting and unique funding program we will be able to support projects that have demonstrated proof-of-concept, but require additional funding for development before they can be licensed or commercialized.”
The Government of Canada and Province of British Columbia are delivering the investment through the Western Economic Partnership Agreement, a joint, multi-million-dollar agreement designed to encourage economic development in the West. The provincial funding is part of the B.C. government’s $50-million commitment to Genome BC’s 2010-to-2015 strategic plan, announced in 2008.
Both governments are contributing $25 million each to WEPA, over four years, to strengthen economic activity and improve quality of life in B.C. communities.
source: Genome British Columbia
While CFI Funding is alive and well in Canada, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has injected a huge amount of cash into basic science research in the United States. Considering the current economic environment and the free flow of money into science should we expect the renewal of Canadian biotechnologist “brain drain” that was typical of the early 90s?
Although the emigration of Canadian talent is a tremendous loss for our great nation, Canadian intellectuals often retain strong influences from their Canadian upbringing. Take for example molecular biologist Dr. Shirley Tilgman, a native of Toronto who was educated a Queen’s University and is the current president of Priceton University in New Jersey. Shirley maintains a very Canadian attitude and tells how Canadian values have been a big influencing factor in her life.
Last week finance minister Jim Flaherty announced that the Canadian government will invest almost $1.9B in post-secondary education infrastructure, research, technology innovation and environmental protection as part of its $19B stimulus plan for 2010.
The specific perks for life scientists include:
- Providing $45 million over five years to establish a post-doctoral fellowship program which will provide $70,000/yr for 2 years to 140 post-doctoral fellows.
- Increasing the combined annual budgets of Canada’s research granting councils by an additional $32 million per year ($16M to CIHR and $13M to NSERC), plus an additional $5 million per year to foster closer research collaborations between academic institutions and the private sector through NSERC’s Strategy for Partnerships and Innovation the Indirect Costs of Research Program.
- Providing Genome Canada with an additional $75 million for genomics research.
- Providing $135 million over two years to the National Research Council Canada’s regional innovation clusters program.
- Providing $48 million over two years for research, development and application of medical isotopes.
- Launching a new Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Innovation Commercialization Program with $40 million over two years.
- Renewing and making ongoing $49 million in annual funding for the regional development agencies to support innovation across Canada.
According to Rebecca Trager of the Royal Society of Chemistry the budget has drawn a mixed reaction from Canada’s academic research community. Trager reports that Paul Davidson of The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada gave the budget an overall positive review while The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and The Canadian Consortium for Research both claim that the current budget doesn’t make up for the shortfall of previous years and further financial stimulus is required to maintain Canada’s competitive research edge.
On the commercialization front, Dr. Philip Schwab, Vice President, BIOTECanada also expressed disappointment with Flaherty’s announcement. Dr. Schwab writes that despite the government’s commitment to basic research, it must build a “commercialization eco-system” where public and private partners are empowered to build linkages and bring products to market. He cites a figure from the Industrial Journal of biotechnology that biotech contributes $78.3 billion dollars to Canada’s GDP PER YEAR and laments that unfortunately, commercialization of scientific research was not a strong focus of the government’s current budget.
While the majority of professional opinions presented here tend to paint a negative picture of the recent stimulus plan, it would be interesting to solicit the gut reaction from the “guys at the bench.” Quite often these types of announcements seem far removed from our everyday experience and its impact is only felt during the next grant funding season or when looking for a post-doc position following graduation.
Have you given any thought to how the current budget will affect your research? Have previous government announcements influenced the way you do research (like producing more “home brews” rather than purchasing off the shelf kits in order to save money)?