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$35M program brings together Canadian, Israeli research teams


Toronto, ON – A new $35-million research funding program that will focus on biomedicine was announced this week at Toronto’s Ontario Science Centre by representatives of the Azrieli Foundation, Canada’s International Development Research Centre, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and the Israel Science Foundation.

A partnership between these organizations, the joint Canada-Israel Health Research Program is a seven-year program that draws on the scientific strengths of Canadian and Israeli researchers in the broad field of biomedicine. The program will fund up to 30 research projects involving researchers from Canada and Israel with an initial focus on the neurosciences.

In addition, the research teams will include researchers from low- and middle-income countries to further their scientific capacity. As collaborators or trainees, these researchers will contribute to and benefit from their involvement in the program with the overall aim of strengthening research capacity in low- and middle-income countries, promoting research excellence, and building long-lasting international scientific relationships.

Present at the official announcement were Joe Oliver, the federal minister of finance, Rafael Barak, Israel’s ambassador to Canada, Dr. Naomi Azrieli, chair and CEO of the Azrieli Foundation, Dr. Jean Lebel, president of Canada’s International Development Research Centre, and Dr. Alain Beaudet, president of the CIHR.

“I believe that by concentrating this international collaboration on basic research, we will be able to address the fundamental processes underlying neurological disorders,” said Dr. Beaudet at the announcement. “I have no doubt that this collaborative effort will represent a significant and welcome contribution to other international ventures in this field, such as the European Union’s Brian Initiative and US president Obama’s BRAIN initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies).”

Dr Lebel noted that since the first call for proposals was issued in January, 60 applications have been received. Dr. Beaudet added that this fall these applications will be adjudicated by a distinguished panel of neuroscientists with the successful projects announced late in the year. The next round of funding will be launched early next year. Each project will receive funding of $1 million for three years.