Ontario Investing In Science To Strengthen Economy



    McGuinty Government Launches New Fund For Genomics Research

    TORONTO, May 4 /CNW/ -

    NEWS

    Ontario is launching a new fund to attract and retain world-leading
genomics researchers in the province.
    The $100-million Global Leadership Round in Genomics and Life Sciences
will support globally-significant, collaborative research projects that are
headquartered in Ontario. This fund will create high-skilled jobs in research
and technology, and brings Ontario's commitment to funding science since 2003
to a historic high of $1.4 billion.
    Focused on genomics and gene-related research, the new fund will aim to
accelerate new knowledge that could lead to cures, better treatment and
prevention for diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease. It will also
support innovation in agriculture, environmental protection and clean
technologies.
    Investing in research and innovation has been a cornerstone of Ontario's
economic planning since 2003 and Ontario's Innovation Agenda
(http://www.mri.gov.on.ca/english/programs/oia/program.asp). The agenda is a
$3.2 billion plan to make Ontario one of the best places in the world to turn
world-class research into world-class jobs.

    QUOTES

    "At a time when economic challenges are tempting some governments to
scale back on their innovation spending, Ontario is more committed than ever
to its vision of global leadership through collaboration. The McGuinty
government is committed to growing an innovation economy that supports the
groundbreaking work of our leading scientists and their teams. New discoveries
and breakthroughs will continue to be made - and we want those people, those
ideas, and those jobs right here in Ontario," said Minister of Research and
Innovation John Wilkinson
(http://www.mri.gov.on.ca/english/about/MinisterBio.asp).

    
    QUICK FACTS

    -  Ontario currently has the most highly skilled workforce in the G7.

    -  Ontario is the largest hub of biomedical activity in Canada and the
       fourth largest biomedical research centre in North America.

    -  Ontario is leading and partnering on many global research projects
       including the International Cancer Genome Consortium
       (http://www.icgc.org/), the International Consortium on Anti-virals
       (http://www.icav-citav.ca/), the International Barcode of Life
       (http://www.dnabarcoding.org/) and the Structural Genomics Consortium
       (http://www.sgc.utoronto.ca/).

    -  Between 2005 and 2008, provincial investments in research and
       innovation leveraged $1.1 billion while helping to advance the
       knowledge, skills and training of close to 30,000 individuals.
    

    LEARN MORE

    Find out more about Global Leadership Round in Genomics and Life Sciences
(http://www.mri.gov.on.ca/english/programs/ResearchFund.asp).

    Learn about genomics
(http://www.g-sin.com/Content_Display.aspx?ContentID=1000) and how it is used
in life sciences.

    Learn more about the Ontario Genomics Institute
(http://www.ontariogenomics.ca/).

    Find out more about Ontario's Innovation Agenda
(http://www.mri.gov.on.ca/english/programs/oia/program.asp).

    
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    BACKGROUNDER
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      SUPPORT FOR THE GLOBAL LEADERSHIP ROUND IN GENOMICS AND LIFE SCIENCES
    

    "Research in genomics and the life sciences is expensive and does not
yield results quickly. It's through long-term, collaborative investments by
many - including government - that we will make the discoveries that will
improve people's lives, strengthen our economy and advance society."
    Dr. John Dick, Senior Scientist, Toronto General Research Institute and
Ontario Cancer Institute, University Health Network

    "This investment underscores the government's recognition that Ontario
must continue to invest in its strong life sciences cluster. Now more than
ever, innovative research and development is a key driver, reshaping the
knowledge economy and creating prosperity for all Ontarians."
    Dr. John Evans, Chair, MaRS Discovery District

    "Further investments in research are critical to advance revolutionary
genomics technologies. For example, Ontario-driven DNA barcoding research is
developing the protocols by which humanity will identify, observe and protect
life on our planet. Today the Ontario government has told the world that our
province will continue to lead international research programs that are
advancing education, providing training, creating job opportunities and
building a new economy."
    Dr. Paul Hebert, Director, Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, University
of Guelph

    "I welcome the bold initiative by the McGuinty government to support
Ontario researchers that have secured worldwide leadership positions in
genomics and life sciences. Their teams are poised to prototype, test and
commercialize new diagnostics and safer therapeutics that will improve health
and generate new products here in Ontario, strengthening our global
competitiveness."
    Dr. Tom Hudson, President and Scientific Director, Ontario Institute for
Cancer Research

    "Ontario is a leader in large-scale genomics and has attracted key
researchers from around the world. Provincial investments in genetics and
bioinformatics will allow Ontario to maintain its position and participate in
or lead large international efforts such as those in the EU and the USA."
    Dr. Ravi S. Menon, Deputy Director, Robarts Research Institute

    "I am heartened by the government's vision of global leadership and
commitment to funding world-class, peer-reviewed research. It is a clear
signal of the priorities of the Ontario government, a demonstration of
leadership, and a vote of confidence in us all."
    Dr. Andras Nagy, Senior Investigator, Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute

    "In a time of economic turmoil, investment in broad-based research and
innovation is a true investment in the future - a way to ensure 21st century
jobs can and will grow. SickKids Research Institute applauds the government of
Ontario for this important investment and for contributing to health science
endeavours that will keep our province at the forefront of new frontiers being
defined and re-defined by discovery. The likely benefits of the work we
undertake today will be even greater than the medical advances achieved over
the last 25 years."
    Dr. Janet Rossant, Chief of Research and Senior Scientist, Hospital for
Sick Children

    "Genomics and the related areas of biological research are essential to
help identify crops that are improved for important traits which can help
improve the economic and environmental sustainability of crop production. The
funding of this work by the Ontario government will allow researchers in
Ontario universities to be competitive internationally in this science as well
as to allow for the training of the next generation of scientists in this
important discipline."
    Dr. Steven Rothstein, Professor, College of Biological Science,
University of Guelph

    "Ontario has a tremendous history of discovery in genomics and cell
biology. Thanks to today's investment, our research community will continue to
have the tools and resources necessary to compete and excel globally - and to
pursue the discoveries and breakthroughs that will shape the future of
medicine."
    Dr. Anthony Pawson, Distinguished Investigator, Samuel Lunenfeld Research
Institute

    "With our recent exposure to the possibility of a human disease pandemic
it is important to remember that epidemics also occur in food crops. If a
disease were to attack our crops it could have a dramatic impact on Ontario's
economy and human health on a global scale. Genomics research will provide us
with the knowledge necessary to detect disease and to prevent its spread."
    Dr. Barry Saville, Associate Professor, Forensic Science Program at Trent
University

    "Increasingly, it is becoming clear that genomics underlies much of the
advances occurring in modern day health research. The provincial government's
special investment is therefore both gratifying and stimulating."
    Dr. Lou Siminovitch, Director Emeritus, Samuel Lunenfeld Research
Institute

    "In Ottawa, we have begun to put genomic advances to work for our
patients, developing novel biological and regenerative therapies for cancer,
heart attack and stroke. Ontario's investments in genomic and life science
research have been crucial for our success, and putting Ontario of the map for
innovative translational research."
    Dr. Duncan Stewart, CEO and Scientific Director, Ottawa Hospital Research
Institute

    "Research in genomics is of utmost importance to the Province of Ontario
as it provides a training ground for a large number of future scientists while
contributing directly to a greater understanding of disease, new approaches to
prevention, diagnosis and treatment and in some cases to new product
development important for Ontario's competitiveness in an knowledge-based
economy."
    Dr. Ronald Worton, Past Vice-Chair of the Ontario Research Fund Advisory
Board

    
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For further information:

For further information: Sandra Watts, Minister's Office, (416)
314-7067; Perry Blocher, MRI Communications Branch, (416) 326-7717

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