MSFHR program heralds a new way of doing business in health research

    VANCOUVER, April 3 /CNW/ - The Michael Smith Foundation for Health
Research (MSFHR) announced today the successful applicants for funding from an
innovative new program designed to pave the way for sharing research
resources, information and expertise across the province's health research
    MSFHR is the provincial support agency for health research in British
Columbia. With this new program, the Foundation will provide funding to
support the initial development of six provincial research technology and
methodology platforms. In making the announcement, MSFHR President and CEO Dr.
Aubrey Tingle noted that the six represent priority "big science" and
"applied" platforms that are essential to take BC to the next stage of
competitiveness in health research. The successful platforms will each receive
up to $1 million over two years.
    From an initial field of 38 platform proposals, the MSFHR Board of
Directors approved the review panel recommendation to fund three for immediate
implementation: the BC BioLibrary, the BC Proteomics Network, and the Centre
for Drug Research and Development.
    An additional three were approved for funding, pending satisfactory
response to issues raised by the external panel of research and business
experts that reviewed the applications. These include the BC Clinical Genomics
Network; the PLATPhORM for Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Rapid Monitoring; and
the Population Health Data Access and Analysis Platform.
    Summaries of the six technology and methodology platforms are available
on MSFHR's website. Each applicant was required to submit a strategic
scientific plan and a business plan delineating how the platform would be
developed and accessed as a provincial resource.
    "This represents a new way of doing business in health research," says
Dr. Aubrey Tingle, MSFHR President & CEO. "By developing platforms to be
shared - not duplicated - we can support more researchers and make better use
of health research investments in BC."
    Other health research support agencies nationwide are closely watching
this MSFHR initiative, which is the first provincial research platform
development program of its kind across Canada. "In the current context of
major federal support through the Canada Foundation for Innovation and Genome
Canada for large-scale infrastructure acquisitions, MSFHR's Technology &
Methodology Platforms Program provides acutely-needed operational funding to
maximize use of these resources," says Dr. Alain Beaudet, President and CEO of
Quebec's health research support agency, Fonds de la Recherche en Santé du
Québec. "The program is not only timely, but also unique in its capacity
building potential. Indeed, it provides a superb opportunity for both
optimizing exploitation of resources and supporting province-wide networking
hubs in key health research areas."
    Tingle believes this approach will help spread research opportunities
across BC, making more BC researchers competitive for national and
international funding.
    "More researchers will be able to tap into these resources to expand the
scope of their research, which will improve their competitiveness for grant
funding and bring more resources to BC. In the end, it means that more
research will be conducted in BC to address our health system needs and
improve our economy."

    About MSFHR

    The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) is the
provincial support agency for health research in British Columbia. Established
by the BC government in 2001, MSFHR is an independent, third-party
organization that works to develop BC as a leading force in health research,
supporting improvements to health, health care and economic opportunity. We
focus on:
    -  Supporting people with awards to attract the best and create an
       environment where they can excel
    -  Working across academic, health and government systems to foster
       collaborations that enhance health research productivity,
       competitiveness, and impact
    -  Building partnerships within BC and across Canada to leverage BC's
       health research potential and create better returns on research
    -  Demonstrating fairness, accountability and transparency in all our

    MSFHR was named to honour Nobel Laureate Dr. Michael Smith (1932-2000), a
pre-eminent BC scientist with a long-standing personal commitment to ensuring
support for researchers throughout their careers, and who believed that BC
could and should be a leading centre for health research.
    MSFHR was created in 2001 with an initial five-year, $110 million grant
from the Province of British Columbia. In 2005, the provincial government
endorsed MSFHR's achievements, providing an additional $100 million to sustain
and augment activities through 2009.
    Since its creation, MSFHR has committed almost $178 million to increase
BC's research capacity through support of research trainees, researchers,
teams, institutions and networks of researchers throughout the province. With
the support of its community, MSFHR has also progressively strengthened its
role as a provincial facilitator and catalyst, working across BC's academic
institutions, health authorities, non-profit organizations and government to
lead joint planning and collaboration for mutual benefit.

For further information:

For further information: & interviews: Alison Osborne, MSFHR
Communications, (604) 714-6600,

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