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Alberta launches multi-million dollar “superstar” recruitment awards


Edmonton, AB – The Alberta government yesterday unveiled a major new award focused on recruiting a “superstar” health researcher to the province.

The ten-year, $10 million AHFMR Polaris Award, the richest award of its kind in Canada, will be used to recruit a top-level scientist in the health research arena to lead research in Alberta. The award requires matching funding equal to the AHFMR contribution, which will result in a $20 million award. Each of the three health research intensive universities, if successful in obtaining an award, will be responsible for raising the matching funding.

“This sets the stage in Canada,” said Ed Stelmach, the province’s premier. “The provincial government’s investment in AHFMR over the past 27 years has led to major breakthroughs in medical knowledge and therapies.”

Three awards will be offered initially, starting in 2008. The AHRMR says a winner will be a mid-career investigator with an outstanding record of accomplishments in health research who is prepared to relocate to Alberta full-time for the duration of the award.

The award is intended to increase the quality of the overall health-research enterprise in Alberta, provide superior research training and mentorship, and contribute to the scientific leadership in the province. Polaris investigators will catalyze existing research strengths into a position of international stature. Priority areas of health include health and behaviour: disease prevention, food and health, maternal and child health, and health issues in rural and remote environments.

“The AHFMR Polaris Award responds to the need for Alberta to be competitive globally,” says Dr Kevin Keough, AHFMR’s president and CEO. “In addition to this award, we have made significant changes and additions to our funding programs that really give Alberta researchers a distinct advantage in the field world-wide.”