Toronto, ON – The federal government has committed an extra $80 million in funding to the National Research Council over five years, and a major portion of this funding will be used to help launch the National Centre for Biomedical Innovation (NCBI). The centre is a partnership of the University of Toronto and the National Research Council that has been in development for approximately two years.
An unprecedented research facility in Canada, the NCBI is designed to enhance the possibility of practical application from biomedical discoveries made in Canadian university labs. Its goal is to ensure that more of these made-in-Canada breakthroughs can be applied to improve the lives of Canadians and create new economic opportunities across the country.
NCBI addresses a growing challenge facing Canada’s research establishment and economy. Canadian universities are world leaders in biomedical discovery; indeed, the Greater Toronto Area is ranked among the top five biomedical research clusters in North America. But many Canadian discoveries are actually first applied as commercial and clinical products outside of Canada. That means Canadians often miss the chance to benefit most from their country’s own achievements, funded by their own taxes.
Facilities such as NBCI are necessary in order to bring the practical benefits of Canadian research more fully to Canadians, and the NCBI is being charged with addressing this challenge by:
– Conducting specific applied research based on Canadian biomedical discoveries,
– Undertaking product development work, in collaboration with academic researchers or other partners, to translate Canadian discoveries into applications that may be more valuable in practical or economic terms,
– Leading early phase clinical studies of Canadian discoveries,
– Establishing long-term links to researchers in NCBI’s six areas of focus so that the centre can monitor progress on promising research initiatives and influence direction of new research endeavours, and
– Identifying promising research in molecular diagnostics and therapeutics and supporting its translation into practical product concepts.
The centre will focus on creating applications for six areas of biomedical discovery: chemical biology, computational biology, imaging, nano-biotechnology, personalized medicine, and regenerative medicine. Led by the National Research Council of Canada, NCBI is a partnership that will involve not only the University of Toronto and a number of the Toronto research hospitals but be open to working with scientists who bring forward exciting discoveries from any region of Canada. At steady state, it will employ 500 staff (scientists, technicians, managers and technology transfer specialists).