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Bioeconomy and genomics research get major funding push


Ottawa, ON – Gary Goodyear, federal minister of state (science and technology), today unveiled a new program to spur the growth of Canada’s bioeconomy, as well as renewal of funding for other genomic research programs.

“Genomics is a foundational piece of Canada’s growing bioeconomy, which is expected to account for about $38 billion of our GDP by 2017,” he said. “It is an economy that is redefining traditional industries like construction and transport through such advances as cleaner-burning bio fuels for jets and composite bio materials used in home construction.”

The new program, called the Genomic Applications Partnership Program (GAPP), will fund R&D partnership projects between researchers and end-users of genomics. The end-users – which can be from industry, like pharmaceuticals, forestry, agriculture and biotechnology, or other entities such as not-for-profit organizations, charities and provinces – will help to define project needs. The end-user involvement, he said, will make the research responsive and effective.

“This approach allows project leaders to address real problems, capture new opportunities, and generate new knowledge,” he added.

The federal government will provide $30 million to the GAPP program, and Genome Canada will leverage, through its regional genome centres, an additional $60 million in co-funding from partners, including industry.

The federal government is also renewing the mandate of five Science and Technology Innovation Centres – Genomics Innovation Centre at the B.C. Cancer Agency Genome Sciences Centre, McGill University and Genome Quebec Innovation Centre, The Centre for Applied Genomics, The Metabolomics Innovation Centre, and the University of Victoria-Genome BC Proteomics Centre – with $29 million in funding.

Supported by Genome Canada, these facilities house state-of-the-art equipment that has helped researchers achieve exciting new breakthroughs.

He also announced $5 million to the Structural Genomics Consortium and International Barcode of Life project. The consortium will see Genome Canada-funded researchers leading an international effort to determine the structure of proteins with a view to developing new medicines.