Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada
Government of Canada

Common menu bar links

Government of Canada Helps Battle Allergic Diseases Through Innovation

AllerGen Network of Centres of Excellence renewed for a second seven-year cycle

From left to right: Mr. Mike Wallace, Member of Parliament for Burlington; Dr. Judah Denburg, Scientific Director and CEO, AllerGen; the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology; Dr. Diana Royce, Managing Director and COO, AllerGen; Lisa Drouillard, Deputy Director, Networks of Centres of Excellence and Dr. Patrick Deane, President and Vice-Chancellor, McMaster University.

Hamilton, March 23, 2012- A network of research experts from the academic, private and public sectors has received renewed federal funding to carry out its battle against allergic and related immune diseases. The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology, today announced $36.5 million to support the AllerGen Network of Centres of Excellence for the coming seven years.

"How do we improve lives, create jobs and economic growth through Science and Technology? Innovation. We are investing in Networks of Centres of Excellence to improve the quality of life of Canadians, strengthen the economy and support job creation," said Minister Goodyear. "Because, as Canadians, we are not unique in the problems we face, we can sell our solutions to the world. AllerGen's research will help improve the lives of millions of Canadians suffering from the complications of allergic diseases through innovation."

The network's recent advances include improving asthma diagnosis and predicting attacks, unravelling the genetic connections to allergies and asthma, and revealing the impact of socio-economic factors on the development of the immune system.

"The AllerGen team features a highly talented and diverse group of researchers who tackle all aspects of this problem," said Suzanne Fortier, Chair of the NCE Steering Committee and President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. "In addition to finding underlying causes, developing new treatments and laying the groundwork for prevention strategies, their contribution includes expanding the number of highly trained people working in this area."

Judah Denburg, Scientific Director and CEO of AllerGen NCE added: "Over the next seven years, AllerGen aims to focus on commercialization and knowledge mobilization activities. AllerGen's research and development efforts will also create new "high value" jobs, prepare the next generation of researchers, entrepreneurs and experts to fill them, and leave international legacies of socio-economic benefits and improved quality of life for individuals and their families living with allergies, asthma and anaphylaxis."

AllerGen, which stands for Allergy, Genes and Environment Network, consists of almost 200 researchers based at 23 universities and other organizations, with its headquarters at McMaster University. Its research focuses on three main areas: Gene-Environment Interactions; Diagnostics and Therapeutics; and Public Health, Ethics, Policy and Society.

First funded through the federal Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) program in 2004, AllerGen was renewed following a review process that determined it met the required levels of excellence in its scientific accomplishments, future research goals, and training and knowledge-transfer activities.

The NCE program is managed jointly by the three federal granting agencies-the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)-in partnership with Industry Canada.

March 23, 2012; Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology views through a microscope during the lab tour with Dr. Judah Denburg, Scientific Director and CEO, AllerGen following the announcement of funding renewal for the AllerGen Network of Centres of Excellence.

For further information, please contact:

Stephanie Thomas
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear
Minister of State (Science and Technology)
Tel.: 613-960-7728

Media Relations
Industry Canada
Tel.: 613-943-2502

Kelly Nolan
Communications Manager
Networks of Centres of Excellence Secretariat
Tel.: 613-996-0390
Blackberry: 613-889-1761
E-mail : kelly.nolan@nce-rce.gc.ca


Backgrounder

Renewal of AllerGen NCE

The Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) program supports large-scale collaborative research networks to mobilize Canada's best talent in the academic, private and public sectors to generate economic and social benefits for Canadians. Networks are funded based on their excellence in research, their inclusion of the best cross-country talents, the extent of their partnerships with the receptor community, and their potential to generate socio-economic benefits.

The Allergy, Genes and Environment Network (AllerGen) has been funded since 2004 to catalyze and support discovery, development, networking, capacity building, commercialization and knowledge translation to reduce the burden of allergic and related immune diseases. Following the completion of its first seven-year mandate, it will receive renewed funding of $36.5 million over the next seven years to continue its work. The renewal proposal, reviewed by an Expert Panel, the NCE Standing Selection Committee, and the NCE Steering Committee, was evaluated against the following five criteria:

  • the excellence of the research program;
  • the potential to develop highly qualified personnel;
  • the ability to increase networking and partnerships;
  • the potential for knowledge and technology exchange and exploitation; and
  • the overall management of the Network.

Headquartered at McMaster University, AllerGen consists of almost 200 researchers based at 23 universities and other organizations across the country. AllerGen investigators combine basic and clinical science with social sciences to answer major questions surrounding allergic disease. The collaborations have led to new therapies, tools and medications to treat allergies, and to new policies and practices that will help to improve health outcomes for patients. AllerGenís research focusses on three broad areas:

  • Gene-Environment Interactions
  • Diagnostics and Therapeutics
  • Public Health, Ethics, Policy and Society

More information on AllerGen can be found at This link will take you to another Web site www.allergen-nce.ca.

Founded in 1989, the Networks of Centres of Excellence are partnerships between universities, industry, government and not-for-profit organizations. An integral element of the Government of Canadaís science and technology strategy, Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canadaís Advantage, these nationwide, multidisciplinary and multi-sector partnerships connect excellent research with industrial know-how and strategic investment.