Governments of Canada and Quebec invest $4.7M to fund Canadian researchers in a partnership with the European Union

News release

Collaborating for better health: Investment will help break down barriers between scientists from around the world

October 12, 2018 – Ottawa, ON – Canadian Institutes of Health Research

A scientist in Canada is able to access a tissue sample held in a lab in Europe and in the process makes an important leap forward in her research. In Europe, a researcher studies health data on Canadian seniors to help inform government policy in his own country.

This vision of seamless scientific collaboration is now closer to reality as a result of a new investment from the governments of Canada and Quebec.

In addition to a contribution of more than €37 million made by the European Commission, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Genetics, and the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé (FRQS), are contributing $4.7 million to the Canada-EU Data Flagship Collaboration.

This co-investment will support six projects focused on finding ways to improve and standardize how human health data is stored, curated, and shared, so that it can benefit scientific communities worldwide.

Because researchers advance the field of health sciences by building on the work of their peers, there is a pressing need for effective and efficient systems to manage and share the enormous volume of health data – from biological samples to questionnaire data – produced by scientists every day.

In addition to tackling the challenges associated with the vast amount of data generated – with the equally vast potential for analysis – the projects supported will also address the rapidly emerging ethical, legal, and social challenges associated with data sharing and harmonization. 

Through this partnership with the European Union, we are overcoming geographical barriers to combine the talents of Canadian and European researchers, and in the process stimulating research and innovation through the smarter use of potentially game-changing datasets.


“The Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé is very pleased to join the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the European Union in supporting major research initiatives on topics including personalized health. The projects have the potential to yield highly positive benefits for population health.”
- Rémi Quirion, Chief Scientist of Québec and Chair of the board of directors of the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé

“Through this partnership, Québec researchers gain the means to work in close collaboration with European investigators to improve the sharing and development of the tremendous volume of health data available on both sides of the Atlantic while taking into account the ethical, legal and societal issues that are at stake.” 
- Serge Marchand, Scientific Director, Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé

“The projects receiving funding today have the power to advance research into cardiovascular disease, cancer, infectious diseases, and pharmacology by showing what is possible when the best scientific minds on both sides of the Atlantic combine their energies to tackle some of the most pressing health issues we face today.”
- Dr. Christopher McMaster, Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Genetics

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Media Relations
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Thierry Bélair
Office of Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

At the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) we know that research has the power to change lives. As Canada's health research investment agency, we collaborate with partners and researchers to support the discoveries and innovations that improve our health and strengthen our health care system.

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