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Canada's New Government takes the lead in mobilizing research excellence at home and abroad thanks to a $5.9 million investment

Montreal, May 25, 2007 –The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) today announced an investment of $5.9 million to boost Canada's collaboration with Centres of Excellence around the world. Seven NCEs from across Canada will forge partnerships with 43 leading research organizations in 17 countries and address issues of scientific, economic, social, intellectual and cultural significance.

"Our newly released science and technology strategy – Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada's Advantage recognizes the importance of doing more to turn ideas into innovations that provide solutions to our environment, health and other important challenges, " said Minister Bernier. "This investment will place Canadian research at the forefront of international initiatives that are important to our economy and society and will improve Canada's competitiveness."

"Centres of excellence around the world responded with enthusiasm to Canada's call for partnerships—proof of our reputation for research excellence," said Dr. Suzanne Fortier, Chair of the NCE Steering Committee and President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. "This is an excellent opportunity for Canadian scientists and students to collaborate on projects of global importance."

To encourage the participation of researchers from low and middle-income countries, Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC) has allocated $777,000 to support the research and networking costs of their collaboration with the NCE.

"Our partnership with NCE is aimed at fostering scientific excellence of mutual benefit to both the developing world and Canada. By enabling researchers from developing countries to form strategic alliances with their Canadian peers, we can learn from each other," says Maureen O'Neil, President of IDRC.

Canada's investment is leveraging more than $8.8 million from international partners to support the international knowledge exchange, training and networking activities of the scientists and students from the participating countries.

The seven NCE are:

  • AllerGen (Allergy, Genes and Environment Network) hosted by McMaster University;
  • ArcticNet hosted by Université Laval;
  • Canadian Arthritis Network hosted by Mt. Sinai Hospital;
  • MITACS (Mathematics of Information Technologies and Complex Systems) hosted by Simon Fraser University;
  • NICE (National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly) hosted by University of Toronto;
  • PrioNet Canada hosted by University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute; and
  • Stem Cell Network hosted by University of Ottawa.

The networks were selected following a rigorous and independent review process involving experts of international stature.

The NCE program is supported by Industry Canada and the three federal granting agencies: the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada; the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. NCE are unique, nationwide, multi-disciplinary partnerships among universities, industry, government and not-for-profit organizations, aimed at transforming Canadian research and entrepreneurial talent into economic and social benefits for all Canadians. According to the largest and most comprehensive survey ever taken of Canada's S&T leaders, the NCE are an important contributor to commercialization and translation of science and technology. Of the 1,500 elite scientists and research administrators from academia, government and industry surveyed by the Council of Canadian Academies, 73 percent identified the NCE as providing a distinct advantage in moving research from lab to practice.

IDRC is a Canadian Crown corporation that works in close collaboration with researchers from the developing world in their search for the means to build healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous societies.

Additional information can be found in the attached backgrounder. For a complete list of the international collaborations, visit www.nce.gc.ca.

For further information, please contact:

Isabelle Fontaine
Office of the Honourable Maxime Bernier
Minister of Industry
613-995-9001

Media Relations
Industry Canada
613-943-2502

Marie-Reine Cluniat
NCE Communications
Cell : 613-447-1609

Isabelle Bourgeault-Tassé
Media Relations
IDRC
613-236-6163 ext. 2343


Backgrounder

International Partnerships Initiative

The goal of the International Partnerships Initiative is to provide Canadian Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) with additional support to form partnerships with the best centres of excellence around the world to address issues of scientific, intellectual, social, economic and cultural significance.

AllerGen (This link will take you to another Web site www.allergen-nce.ca)
Comprised of 31 universities, 46 industries and 99 government and other organizations, within the context of the IPI, AllerGen will act as primary liaison, technical expert or co-leader in projects with five world-class organizations in Belgium, India, France, Sweden, and Switzerland.

  • NCE: $828,000
  • IDRC: $262,000

ArcticNet (This link will take you to another Web site www.arcticnet.ulaval.ca)
Among its international activities, ArcticNet will develop a pan-Arctic network that draws from the expertise found at centres of excellence in Russia, Norway, France, the United States and Denmark. ArcticNet is comprised of 48 universities, 17 industries and 89 government and other organizations.

  • NCE: $815,000

Canadian Arthritis Network (This link will take you to another Web site www.arthritisnetwork.ca)
The network's partnership with five organizations in Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Japan, and the United States aims to bring Canadian arthritis excellence and knowledge to the world scene. CAN is comprised of 32 universities, 60 industries, and 78 government and other organizations.

  • NCE: $700,000

MITACS – Mathematics of Information Technologies and Complex Systems
(This link will take you to another Web site www.mitacs.ca)
MITACS is developing linkages with six leading research centres and networks in the European Union, the United States, Mexico, Australia, Germany, and China. The network is comprised of 65 universities, 148 industries, and 86 government and other organizations.

  • NCE: $900,000
  • IDRC: $236,000
National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly(This link will take you to another Web site www.nicenet.aging.utoronto.ca)
Support from the International Partnerships Initiative will enable network researchers to develop linkages with nine organizations in Israel, South Africa, China, India, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, and the United Kingdom. The network is comprised of 15 universities, 5 industries, and 6 government and other organizations.
  • NCE: $160,000
  • IDRC: $240,000

PrioNet Canada (This link will take you to another Web site www.prionetcanada.ca)
PrioNet Canada's international partnerships aim to advance technological exchange, innovation and training in transmissible spongiform encephalopathies with two leading organizations in the European Union and the United States. The network is comprised of 7 universities, 1 industry, and 9 government and other organizations.

  • NCE: $796,000

Stem Cell Network (This link will take you to another Web site www.stemcellnetwork.ca)
The funding will enable the network to establish a consortium of centres of excellence in Australia, Israel, the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, and India. The network is comprised of 29 universities, 37 industries, and 65 government and other organizations.

  • NCE: $995,000

IDRC has also committed to an additional $39,000 at the end of the IPI to analyze results.

NOTE: a list of participating foreign organizations and a short description of each one are available at www.nce.gc.ca.


International Collaborations

The Global Alliance against Chronic Respiratory Diseases (GARD)
GARD is part of the World Health Organization's global work to prevent and control chronic diseases. GARD is a voluntary alliance of national and international organizations, institutions, and agencies working towards the common goal of improving global lung health.

Contact:
World Health Organization
Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 791 3473

The Global Allergy and Asthma European Network (GA˛LEN)
GA˛LEN is a consortium of leading European research centres specialized in allergic diseases, which include asthma. Funded by the European Union under the 6th framework programme, GA˛LEN addresses the growing public health concern of allergic diseases. GA˛LEN is made up of 57 collaborating centres making it one of the largest multidisciplinary networks of researchers in allergy and asthma in the world.

Contact:
c/o Ghent University Hospital
Gent, Belgium
Email: office@ga2len.net

Karolinska Institutet
Karolinska Institutet is one of Europe's largest medical universities. It is also Sweden´s largest centre for medical training and research, accounting for 30 percent of the medical training and 40 percent of the medical academic research that is conducted nationwide. Karolinska Institutet´s mission is to improve the health of mankind through research, education and information.

Contact:
Karolinska Institutet
Stockholm, Sweden
Email: info@ki.se