Grand Challenges Canada Created to Energize and Harness Canadian and
Developing World Innovation to Address Developing World's Most Pressing
Health Problems

Grand Challenges Canada Launches its First Grand Challenge, Point-of-Care Diagnostics, with the Goal of Saving Lives through Innovation.

TORONTO, May 3 /CNW/ - The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance for Canada, today announced the launch of Grand Challenges Canada, an innovative initiative that will help redefine Canada's role in the developing world by bringing together Canadian scientists, developing world scientific researchers, and the private sector to solve some of the most persistent health challenges facing poor countries.

Grand Challenges Canada's mission is to identify global Grand Challenges, fund researchers and organizations to address them, and support the implementation and commercialization of the solutions that emerge.

The Government of Canada is committing $225 million over five years to the Development Innovation Fund, announced in the 2008 Budget, to support the best minds in the world in a collaborative search for solutions to global health challenges.

Grand Challenges Canada was created to implement the realization of this goal working with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), a Crown Corporation and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), a Government of Canada Agency.

Grand Challenges Canada is an independent not-for-profit organization governed by its own Board and guided by a Scientific Advisory Board, whose members are some of the world's most distinguished medical scientists from both the developed and developing world. Grand Challenges Canada is hosted at the McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health.

A Grand Challenge is a specific critical barrier that, if removed, would help solve an important health problem in the developing world with a high likelihood of global impact through widespread implementation. Grand Challenges Canada will identify, fund and support a total of five Grand Challenges in global health.

"Grand Challenges Canada will lead the way in making a better, safer and healthier world", said Minister Flaherty. "It is an ambitious new Canadian organization aimed at supporting global partnerships to solve the developing worlds most difficult and pressing health challenges."

"The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is supportive of the mission of Grand Challenges Canada and pleased to work together on the Grand Challenge of Point-of-Care diagnostics," said Dr. Carol Dahl, Director of Staff for the Global Health Program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The purpose of this challenge is to improve the diagnosis of diseases afflicting millions in the developing world by bringing diagnostic tools to the patient's bedside.

"Innovation saves lives," said Dr. Peter A. Singer, Chief Executive Officer of Grand Challenges Canada and Director of the McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health, University Health Network and University of Toronto. "Diagnosis is the prelude to effective treatment. Bringing diagnostic tools to the patient's bedside is better, faster, and cheaper than sending a sample to a laboratory 100 km away."

Diagnostic improvements could save more than 100,000 lives annually from malaria-related deaths alone and could reduce more than 365 million unnecessary treatments, which can lead to wasted resources and drug resistance.

Said Mr. Joseph L. Rotman, one of Canada's most philanthropic business leaders and Chairman of Grand Challenges Canada, "once these innovative solutions are created, it is up to a collaboration of business, academia, government and philanthropy to invest in and develop these advances and make them available and affordable to all who need them. It's gratifying to see that the Canadian Government has the far-sighted vision to support this extraordinary venture which will make such a difference in the world and to Canada's role in international development."

About Grand Challenges Canada

Grand Challenges Canada is a unique and independent not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the health and well-being of people in developing countries by integrating scientific, technological, business and social innovation. Grand Challenges Canada works with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and other global health foundations and organizations to find sustainable long-term solutions to the most pressing health challenges. Grand Challenges Canada is hosted at the McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health.

About Canada's International Development Research Centre

IDRC supports research in developing countries to promote growth and development. IDRC also encourages sharing this knowledge with policymakers, other researchers, and communities around the world. The result is innovative, lasting local solutions that aim to bring choice and change to those who need it most. As the Government of Canada's lead on the Development Innovation Fund, the International Development Research Centre will draw on decades of experience managing publicly funded research projects to administer the Development Innovation Fund. IDRC will also ensure that developing country researchers and concerns are front and centre in this exciting new initiative.

About Canadian Institutes of Health Research

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada's agency for health research. CIHR's mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to catalyze its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health-care system. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 13,000 health researchers and trainees across Canada. CIHR will be responsible for the administration of international peer review, according to international standards of excellence. The results of CIHR-led peer review will guide the awarding of grants by Grand Challenges Canada from the Development Innovation Fund.

About McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health

The McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health is based at University Health Network and University of Toronto. We develop and evaluate new models of global health innovation and, working with partners, facilitate their adoption where they are most urgently needed. The McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health hosts Grand Challenges Canada.

Editors Note: A photo for this release will be available on The Canadian Press picture wire.

A playback of today's announcement is available at

SOURCE Grand Challenges Canada

For further information: For further information: For Media Enquiries: Ms. Lyn Whitham, Grand Challenges Canada, (647) 519-3579,; Mr. Terry Collins, Grand Challenges Canada, (416) 538-8712, (416) 878-8712,; Isabelle Bourgeault-Tassé, Senior Media Advisor, International Development Research Centre (IDRC), (613) 696-2343,; David Coulombe, CIHR Media Specialist, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), (613) 941-4563,

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