Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada
Government of Canada

The Networks of Centres of Excellence Delivering Results That Matter to Canadians

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NCE-funded Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE), Knowledge Mobilization Networks of Centres of Excellence (KM-NCE), Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence (BL-NCE), and Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) focus research capacity on social and economic challenges, commercialize and apply Canadian research breakthroughs, increase private-sector R&D, and train highly qualified people.

Impacts for Canada

Small investments can lead to big breakthroughs

The Quebec Consortium for Drug Discovery BL-NCE, with support from several major pharmaceutical companies, is awarding companies and universities small $150,000 grants for breakthrough discoveries that address the key bottlenecks faced by the pharmaceutical industry in the drug R&D process. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. invested $300,000 in the program in 2012.

The Explore program is fully compatible with the Novartis objectives to discover, develop and successfully market innovative products to prevent and cure disease, to ease suffering and to enhance quality of life.
Dr. Riad Sherif B., President, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc.

Evidence helps Canada prepare for a changing Arctic

The ArcticNet NCE’s newest Integrated Regional Impact Study will help officials in Nunavik and Nunatsiavut, and the federal government, develop informed policies to improve quality of life, safeguard the environment and facilitate sustainable development in a warming Arctic.

This report, as well as the ArcticNet initiative overall, highlights the importance of research as well as the importance of learning how to do research that adds value, not only to the science community, but also to the communities who are at the center of impacts from climate change.
John Cheechoo, Director, Environment and Wildlife, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

Giving pharmas a reason to invest

The Centre for Drug Research and Development CECR and its commercial arm, CDRD Ventures Inc., have created six innovation funds with private and public sector partners to move promising drugs to the pre-clinical stage. Altogether, these funds represent close to $30 million in funding for selected research projects.

Unique collaborations of this nature provide a highly effective way of progressing and commercializing the innovative health research conducted at Canadian public institutions – with the ultimate goal of making a real difference in the lives of patients.
Rav Kumar, Vice-President, Regulatory Affairs, GlaxoSmithKline Inc.

A national response to stroke care and treatment

In communities across Canada, first responders and front-line healthcare workers are putting in place best practices developed by the Canadian Stroke Network NCE that are saving lives, reducing disability and improving quality of life. The Canadian Stroke Strategy has now become the “bible” for stroke care, prevention and rehabilitation in many countries around the world.

The Canadian Stroke Network is an influential champion for the effective integration of world-leading stroke research with clinical practice.
Ian Joiner, Director, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada

Taking wireless companies global

More than 50 small and mid-sized Canadian wireless firms met with prospective customers across Europe, the Middle East, South America, Africa and Asia in 2012 as a result of Wavefront CECR’s WaveConnect program. Being able to provide these valuable introductions to small Canadian companies has streamlined their access to key decision makers and entry into valuable new markets, accelerating their commercialization and success both at home and in the global marketplace.

The WaveConnect market entry program we participated in with Wavefront yielded extremely valuable results. It was targeted, well organized and time-efficient, and we could not have put something like this together as quickly.
Michael Kuhlmann, CEO, Colony Networks

Grassroots groups adopt new tools to combat bullying

Scouts Canada, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada and the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada are among dozens of Canadian organizations that now have access to education and training programs, assessment tools and intervention strategies that have been scientifically proven to reduce bullying, thanks to the work of PREVnet (Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network) KM-NCE.

We have incorporated PREVNet feedback and resources, and consider our training and support stronger as a result. Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies across Canada serve over 35,000 children and youth annually. Agencies train and support these young people, as well as their parents/guardians and volunteer mentors. The enhanced resources will benefit many.
Susan Climie, Director of Training, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada

Growing companies to the next level

The MaRS Innovation CECR is on track to have launched 22 new companies by March 2013. One of these start-ups, Xagenic, is expanding its staff after raising $10 million in financing in 2012 to develop a molecular diagnostic testing platform that allows doctors to quickly diagnose an infectious disease while the patient is still in the clinic.

Xagenic sought seed feeding well after the 2008 recession when the funding climate was dark. MI spearheaded a great creative effort involving the University of Toronto and Boston College to meet their needs. Xagenic’s success demonstrates the strength of MaRS Innovation’s financing and business development model.
Raphael Hofstein, President and CEO, MaRS Innovation; inaugural CEO and chairman, Xagenic

Building a national digital media powerhouse

Cyborg Trading, a start-up that develops automated trading technology for financial firms, received $4,000 from the Canadian Digital Media Network (CDMN) CECR to meet with investors in New York and set up an incubator space. Those meetings helped Cyborg secure $2 million in equity and two long-terms deals valued at close to $200,000 per year. The company is now expanding its team from 25 to 36 people. Companies supported by CDMN raised more than $85 million in 2012.

It’s pretty much a sink or swim scenario when you hit New York, and you need to spend time in the city to be taken seriously by investors. Being part of the CDMN’s Soft-Landing program opened doors and enabled us to get closer to the market.
Ben Bittrolff, Chief Financial Officer, Cyborg Trading

Applying a business lens to promising technologies

The GreenCentre Canada CECR start-up, Forward Water Technologies, has developed a green desalination process that uses less energy, and is much more cost effective than current distillation or reverse osmosis-based systems. GCC experts vetted the technology and its commercial potential before clearing it for further testing, validation and financing. The company is currently working with a strategic partner in the water treatment business to move the technology closer to market.

Forward Water is one of those technologies that exemplifies GreenCentre's mandate to change chemistry and change the world. The company’s breakthrough desalination process has the potential to resolve the myriad of social, environmental and economic challenges tied to the dwindling supply of fresh water.
Dr. Rui Resendes, Executive Director, GreenCentre Canada

Supporting product development and open innovation

Pfizer Canada and the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine CECR are each investing $500,000 towards a new innovation fund that will focus on developing safer and more reliable forms of drug testing and treatments using stem cells.

Pfizer Canada is pleased to contribute to this new fund which will support important research here in Canada. With the novel resources offered through CCRM’s development capabilities, we hope to help advance the regenerative medicine field in this country.
Dr. Bernard Prigent, VP and Medical Director, Pfizer Canada

Partnering Beyond Canada's Borders

Dr. Nemkumar (Nemy) Banthia,
Scientific Director, IC-IMPACTS

First ever Canada-India Research Centre of Excellence

The new India-Canada Centre for Innovative Multidisciplinary Partnership to Accelerate Transformation and Sustainability (IC-IMPACTS) brings together a team of expert researchers, industry innovators, community leaders, government agencies, and community organizations from both Canada and India to address three important issues that affect millions of people: safe and available drinking water, effective public health by preventing and treating disease, and reliable civil infrastructure, such as well constructed bridges and hospitals. IC IMPACTS’ key partners include the University of British Columbia, the University of Alberta, the University of Toronto, and various public and private sector organizations in Canada and India.

“Canada needs to be connected to an international supply of ideas, research, talent and technologies in order to prosper in an increasingly competitive global environment. This new Canada-India Research Centre of Excellence will build stronger bilateral research ties and create valuable learning opportunities while generating positive economic and social benefits for both countries.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper
CIRCE funding announcement, November 9, 2012

In 2011-12, NCE programs partnered with 441 international organizations, a 5% increase over 2009-10.