Government of Canada announces new research networks in Montréal



    Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence
    solve problems, advance innovation and create jobs

    MONTREAL, Feb. 23 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister
of State (Science and Technology), and the Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn,
Minister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture), today
announced the establishment of two new Business-Led Network of Centres of
Excellence (BL-Network) in the Montréal area.
    "These new networks will help Canadian researchers and entrepreneurs get
more of their innovations from the lab to the marketplace," said Minister of
State Goodyear. "Our government is committed to investing in research and
development to create jobs, improve the quality of life of all Canadians and
strengthen the economy for future generations."
    "This is one of the Government of Canada's key investments that will
ensure the country's long-term prosperity and growth," added Minister
Blackburn. "These two new networks will encourage more private sector
investment in research and development and will train the next generation of
researchers, while helping to close the gap between research and
commercialization."
    BL-Networks are large-scale, collaborative research networks led by the
private sector and focused on specific business research needs. The Minister
announced that the Canadian Forest Nanoproducts Network (ArboraNano) in
Pointe-Claire will receive $8.9 million and the Québec Consortium for Drug
Discovery (CQDM) in Montréal will receive $8 million over four years. More
information on these networks is provided in the attached backgrounder.
    These two BL-Networks bring the total number to four. The Green Aviation
Research and Development Network in Ottawa was announced on January 7, while
the Sustainable Technologies for Energy Production Network in Regina was
announced on January 20. The total funding requested by the four successful
BL-Networks came to $39.2 million.
    This program is a key commitment of Canada's Science and Technology
Strategy, Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada's Advantage, announced
in May 2007. Budget 2009 - Canada's Economic Action Plan provides almost $5.1
billion toward science and technology initiatives. These investments
complement the more than $2.2 billion the government has pledged in the
previous three budgets in new science and technology funding.
    The BL-Networks are administered by the Networks of Centres of Excellence
(NCE) Secretariat. Launched in 1989, the NCE is an initiative of the three
federal granting agencies - the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research
Council of Canada (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
of Canada (SSHRC) and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) - in
partnership with Industry Canada.
    "The NCE program is proud to be a part of the government's vision for a
more prosperous, advanced and competitive Canada," said Dr. Suzanne Fortier,
Chair of the NCE Steering Committee and President of NSERC. "These new
BL-Networks will work on important, multifaceted Canadian problems while
bringing the very best ideas to the marketplace. We look forward to helping
them achieve their maximum potential and impact."

    
                                 BACKGROUNDER

               Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence
    

    Business-Led Networks are large-scale, collaborative research networks
led by the private sector and focused on specific business research needs.
They are a key element of the Government of Canada's Science and Technology
(S&T) Strategy, Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada's Advantage,
introduced in May 2007. This multi-year framework is creating an environment
that encourages innovation partnerships between the academic, private and
public sectors, and guides the intelligent, strategic investment of public
funds.
    Budget 2007 provided $46 million to create the BL-Networks. The
competition was launched in October 2007 and targeted aimed at creating
Centres in the four S&T priority areas: health and life sciences, information
and communications technologies (ICT), natural resources and energy, and
environmental sciences and technologies, plus management, business and
finance. The BL-Networks are funded for four years.

    Canadian Forest Nanoproducts Network (ArboraNano), Pointe-Claire, QC

    The Canadian Forest NanoProducts Network (ArboraNano) will build a new
Canadian bio-economy based on innovative, highly-engineered, nanotechnology
products created from Canada's vast forest resources. ArboraNano will forge
alliances between the forest sector manufacturing industry and the aerospace,
automotive, medical, composites, coatings and chemical industries. ArboraNano
will create opportunities for the forest sector to become a supplier of
high-value nanoproducts and nanomaterials. These new products will have
superior performance attributes and will be manufactured from renewable
resources. The Canadian manufacturing and forest sectors will be revitalized
by being able to design, manufacture and sell nanotechnology-enhanced products
with unique performance attributes. Through ArboraNano, industrial sectors
that are disconnected and rely on raw materials from external sources will be
integrated with Canadian-based sources. This will allow them to develop their
own local supply chains.

    Network Leader: Dr. Reinhold Crotogino, FP Innovations.

    Quebec Consortium for Drug Discovery (CQDM), Montreal, QC

    The Quebec Drug Discovery Consortium (CQDM) brings together players from
the pharmaceutical/biotechnology industry and the university and hospital
communities to subsidize Canadian pre-competitive research in the field of
drug discovery. The CQDM is the first initiative emerging from the Canadian
life sciences sector which directly addresses the issue of creativity,
productivity and industrial impact in drug discovery. Established along the
lines of an innovative public-private partnership model, the CQDM takes
advantage of the established, dynamic cluster of life sciences in Quebec and
puts the needs of the pharmaceutical industry at the very centre of its
concerns. The Network will foster the development of new companies by
prolonging their incubation period and strengthen their technical "proof of
concept" projects before building new management teams and financial
strategies. CQDM will bring biotechnology companies and the academic world
into closer contact with pharmaceutical powerhouses, regulators and investors,
promoting the creation of innovative partnerships.

    Network Leader: Dr. Max Fehlmann, CQDM




For further information:

For further information: Gary Toft, Director of Communications, Office
of the Minister of State (Science and Technology), (613) 943-7599; Natasha
Gauthier, Communications Manager, Networks of Centres of Excellence, (613)
996-0390, (613) 878-8048 (cell)


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