World-Class Research In London Boosts Health Care And Economy



    McGuinty Government Investing In New Health Care Discoveries

    LONDON, ON, Jan. 29 /CNW/ - Improved techniques to better diagnose
diseases such as brain cancer, epilepsy, stroke, and Alzheimer's disease is
the goal of new research in London funded by the McGuinty government.
    The research project is one of two world-class projects in London that
will boost the local economy and support better healthcare, Minister of
Research and Innovation John Wilkinson announced today. Wilkinson was joined
by MPP for London West, Chris Bentley and MPP for London-Fanshawe, Khalil
Ramal in making the announcement.

    
    Ontario is investing:

    -   More than $4 million to support researchers at Robarts Research
        Institute develop new techniques to better diagnose and monitor
        treatments for neurological diseases - such as brain cancer,
        epilepsy, stroke, and Alzheimer's disease.

    -   More than $6 million to support researchers at the University of
        Western Ontario to improve the therapeutic properties of Ontario-
        grown ginseng, which ranks as Ontario's fifth largest cash crop.
    

    The $11 million for these projects is part of nearly $115 million
invested by the government to support 19 cutting-edge research projects across
Ontario. The research at universities, institutes and hospitals will receive
matching funding from 107 major industry and other partners.
    These projects are part of the province's plan to help Ontario's top
researchers develop new ideas and turn these ideas into products and services
that can be marketed to the world.
    "By investing in research and innovation and the skills and knowledge of
our people today, we will ensure Ontario remains the best place in the world
to live, work and raise a family," Wilkinson said. "Ontarians will benefit
from better healthcare services, new technologies, a cleaner environment and
more opportunities for success."
    "Today's investment is a part of our government's plan to invest in
research and innovation that will build on regional strengths to improve our
quality of life, boost Ontario's economy, and spark the next generation of
highly skilled, good-paying jobs for families living here in London and all
across our province," Bentley said.
    "UWO and Robarts Research Institute boast world-renowned facilities that
attract researchers from around the world to London," said Ramal. "These
projects will further enhance their international reputation, and ensure that
the London region can attract and retain the top research talent and skilled
workforce that Southwestern Ontario needs to prosper in the 21st century."
    "The Ontario government firmly recognizes that research and innovation is
the way to compete in the global knowledge-based economy," said President and
Vice-Chancellor of The University of Western Ontario, Paul Davenport.
"Ontario's investments in this cutting-edge research will help push medical
and healthcare discoveries to market faster, improving economic and social
prosperity in the process."
    The Ontario Research Fund is just one of the ways the McGuinty government
is creating a stronger economy and supporting Ontario families. Other
initiatives include:

    
    -   Launching the $160 million Ideas-to-Market strategy that supports
        emerging companies, which includes the Ontario Venture Capital Fund;
    -   Providing a 21 per cent Capital Tax rate cut for all businesses
        retroactive to January 1, 2007, on the way to full elimination in
        2010;
    -   Announcing in the 2007 Fall Economic Statement an additional
        $50 million in strategic investment to further strengthen Ontario's
        environment for scientific research that will lead to new
        discoveries, higher quality of life and new jobs.
    

    For more information about the Ontario Research Fund, please visit
www.ontario.ca/innovation.

    
    Disponible en français

                          www.ontario.ca/innovation


    Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                            ONTARIO RESEARCH FUND
    

    The Ontario government is investing $527 million over five years through
the Ontario Research Fund to support leading-edge research and development in
Ontario's universities, institutes and hospitals, and to leverage support from
the federal government and private industry.
    The fund is a key part of the province's plan to support scientific
excellence that can be developed into innovative goods and services that will
boost Ontario's economy.

    
    The fund is made up of two streams:

    -   The Research Excellence program funds project operating costs, such
        as researchers' salaries
    -   The Research Infrastructure program supports the acquisition of new
        research infrastructure.
    

    The Ontario Research Fund is designed to provide one window for research
funding. Proposals for funding are evaluated through a competitive,
peer-review process. For more information, please visit
www.ontario.ca/innovation.

    Research Excellence Program - Round Two

    Today's announcement represents the second round of funding under the
Research Excellence program. In this round, the government is providing
$114,709,614 to support 19 projects. Funding will be matched by 107 major
industry and other partners participating in the projects.

    
    The research will:

    -   Support a cleaner, greener environment
    -   Support better health for Ontarians
    -   Support world-class science in a number of fields such as computing
        and astrophysics.
    

    Including this round of funding, the Ontario Research Fund will have
invested a total of $230 million for 45 projects and leveraged $460 million
from 280 industry and other partners.

    
    Disponible en français

                          www.ontario.ca/innovation


    Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                   LONDON RECEIVES $11 MILLION FOR GLOBALLY
                     SIGNIFICANT HEALTH-RELATED RESEARCH
    

    Today's announcement represents part of the second round of funding under
the Ontario Research Fund's Research Excellence program. In this round, the
government is investing $11,089,235 to support two world-class research and
innovation projects in London. Funding will be matched by 10 industry and
other partners participating in the projects.

    Robarts Research Institute

    Making a Better Brain: An Ontario Neuroimaging Consortium
    Taking neuroimaging research from the lab to the marketplace
    Lead researcher: Ravi Menon
    Total project cost: $12,484,784
    Provincial funding: $4,161,595

    Key private sector partners:
    Varian, GE Healthcare, Siemens Canada, Philips Medical Systems

    Ontario's new Neuroimaging Consortium at Robarts Research Institute will
move quickly to translate advances in neuroimaging science into new products
and services that can improve healthcare delivery in Ontario, and be marketed
globally.
    Internationally renowned researchers, known for their expertise in
neuroimaging (the use of various techniques to study the structure and
function of the brain) will work under the leadership of Dr. Ravi Menon, to
develop new techniques to better diagnose and monitor treatments for
neurological diseases - such as brain cancer, epilepsy, stroke, and
Alzheimer's disease. The researchers will work closely with scientists at
partner companies to move their new medical discoveries from the lab to the
marketplace. The goal of this project is to translate new discoveries into
healthcare products and services that can benefit Ontario families, and be
marketed globally.

    The University of Western Ontario

    New Technologies for Ginseng Agriculture and Product Development
    Developing a unique Ontario ginseng variety
    Lead researcher: Dr. Edmund M. K. Lui
    Total project cost: $20,782,919
    Provincial funding: $6,927,640

    Key private sector partners:
    Ontario Ginseng Growers Association, Jamieson Laboratories Ltd, Naturex

    Canada is the world's largest producer of North American ginseng, the
bulk of which is grown in Ontario. Ontario is a world leader in the
$88-million North American ginseng export industry.
    The province has a strong industry with over 220 growers and
approximately 6,000 acres in production - harvesting almost 4 million pounds
of ginseng per year. Ginseng ranks as Ontario's fifth largest cash crop.
    However, most of this raw material is exported to other countries where
it is made into more valuable healthcare products. The goal of this research
project is to study ways to keep that value-added business in Ontario.
    Through a dynamic collaboration between academia, government and
industry, the entire value chain for ginseng production and export will work
together to improve the quality, safety and therapeutic properties of
Ontario-grown crops. The new network will be centred at The University of
Western Ontario and bring together researchers from a number of universities
(McMaster, Guelph, Ottawa and Toronto) with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada,
the Ontario Ginseng Growers Association and the natural health product
industry.

    Ontario Research Fund - Research Excellence Program
    ----------------------------------------------------
    This second round of funding under the Research Excellence program will
invest $114,709,614 to support 19 world-class projects at nine Ontario
universities, institutes and hospitals. Funding will be matched by 107 major
industry and other partners participating in the projects.
    For more information about the Ontario Research Fund, please visit
www.ontario.ca/innovation.

    
    Disponible en français

                          www.ontario.ca/innovation
    




For further information:

For further information: Perry Blocher, Ministry of Research and
Innovation, (416) 326-7717; Sandra Watts, Minister's Office, (416) 314-7067

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ONTARIO MINISTRY OF RESEARCH AND INNOVATION

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