Researchers at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) Research Institute will receive approximately 10 percent of federal funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)-Canada's leading federal funding agency for health research. This result, which was released Thursday, January 24, 2002, is the largest amount won by researchers from a single academic health centre nationwide.
Dr. Emil Skamene, the scientific director of the MUHC Research Institute stated, "I am extremely pleased with the achievement of our researchers. This funding will accelerate our current efforts in biomedical, clinical, evaluative, and healthcare research and it will enable us to launch several new projects and support new recruits. Results of this national competition strengthen our position as the premier research establishment among the university health centres in Canada."
Proposals from 50 researchers of the MUHC Research Institute, who are also affiliated with McGill University, will be funded from this competition. The success rate of the MUHC Research Institute investigators was 48 percent compared with a national average success rate of 30 percent. Overall, the CIHR Governing Council approved an investment of approximately $46 million for a total of 458 Operating Grants. (An Operating Grant provides support for research by an individual or a small group of investigators, is granted biannually, and is a peer-reviewed competition.) The average value of the 2002 new grants is $97,000 and that of the renewal grants is $112,000.
The grants received by the MUHC Research Institute will fund research that explores such diverse scientific areas as cancer, heart disease, cell and tissue engineering, endocrinology, health outcomes, human reproduction, medical genetics, mental illness, musculoskeletal disorders, neuroscience, public health, and respiratory health. Among the successful recipients are: Dr. Erwin Schurr, who will investigate the genetic susceptibility of leprosy; Dr. Shafaat Rabbani, who will study the role of the enzyme urokinase in tumour growth and progression; Dr. Anita Gagnon, who will study the outcomes of pregnancy and child bearing in refugees; and Dr. Joseph Cox, who received a Research Initiative award to further the understanding of hepatitis C infection.
The mandate of the CIHR is to "excel, according to the internationally accepted standards of scientific excellence, in the creation of new knowledge and its translation into improved health for Canadians, more effective health services and products and a strengthened Canadian health care system."
"Our research programs," says Skamene, "which are closely linked to the clinical practices of the MUHC, are our contribution to the alleviation of suffering, and to the discovery of medical inventions, which are the cornerstone of a new, knowledge-based economy."