Canadian researchers from across disciplines join forces to tackle today’s big health challenges

News release

Government of Canada investing almost $25M in 29 high-tech research projects

August 9, 2019 – Montréal, Québec – Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Patients living with a range of health conditions, from autism and concussions, to addiction and heart disease, can look forward to a more promising future thanks to an investment in a range of cutting-edge research projects from across Canada.

While visiting the Université de Montréal today, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie, announced an investment of almost $25M to support 29 health research projects that are leveraging the latest in technology to improve patient diagnosis, treatment, and quality of life.

Minister Joly made the announcement of behalf of the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health.

The investment comes from the country’s three federal granting councils – the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and, this year, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

In addition to supporting projects that harness technology to improve health outcomes, $6M of the total investment was set aside for researchers who are investigating the ethical, legal, and societal impacts of the spread of artificial intelligence in the health sector.

Minister Joly made the announcement alongside two researchers from the Université de Montréal who received funding for their projects. Dr. William Lubell is developing new drugs to treat age-related macular degeneration – the leading cause of blindness in North America in adults over the age of 55 – and Dr. Dang Nguyen is developing smart wearable devices that provide early detection of impending epileptic seizures.

Minister Joly also took the opportunity to highlight the launch of the next CHRP competition, which represents an additional investment of over $20M. Results for that competition are expected in April 2020. 


“Canada is lucky to be home to some of the world’s most innovative scientists in the health and natural sciences, engineering, and the social sciences and humanities. The Government of Canada is proud to be able to support your work as you push the boundaries of technology in the pursuit of improved health for us all.”
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health

“Congratulations to the recipients of these grants, including the five research teams based in Québec. By working together across disciplines, you are demonstrating what is possible when people with different perspectives join forces to help solve some of the big social and health challenges facing us today.”
The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie 

“Bringing researchers, post-secondary institutions and businesses together on health research projects improves our health care system and our quality of life. Since 2015, we’ve been working hard to return science and research to their rightful place. That’s why we have invested over $10 billion in science and research. By investing in health research, we are investing in the health of all Canadians.”
The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport

“We are so proud of and grateful for the many dedicated health researchers working in Canada today. Thank you to Drs. William Lubell and Dang Nguyen, funding recipients at the Université de Montréal, for your commitment to making life easier for people living with macular degeneration and epilepsy, and for their families and caregivers.”
Rachel Bendayan, Member of Parliament for Outremont  

“The Université de Montréal encourages bold research projects that draw on a variety of expertise, such as those conducted by the researchers who are in the spotlight today. I warmly congratulate the teams of Professor William Lubell and Dr. Dang Nguyen, whose successes strengthen our institution's position as one of Canada's leading research universities.”
Dr. Marie-Josée Hébert, Vice-Rector, Research, Discovery, Creation, and Innovation, Université de Montréal

Quick facts

  • These projects were funded under the Collaborative Health Research Projects (CHRP) program, which brings together diverse teams of health researchers, engineers and those in the natural sciences, and social scientists and humanities scholars, to tackle health challenges.

  • These projects are unique as they not only involve all three of Canada’s federal granting councils – they also take the knowledge created in the lab and test it in the real world.

  • This competition was unique as, for the first time, it set aside funds specifically for research projects that investigated the ethical, legal, and societal impacts associated with the spread of artificial intelligence in the health sector.

Associated links


Media Relations
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

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.

NSERC invests over $1.2 billion each year in natural sciences and engineering research in Canada. Our investments deliver discoveries – valuable world-firsts in knowledge claimed by a brain trust of over 11,000 professors. Our investments enable partnerships and collaborations that connect industry with discoveries and the people behind them. Researcher-industry partnerships established by NSERC help inform research & development and solve scale-up challenges.

NSERC also provides scholarships and hands-on training experience for more than 30,000 post-secondary students and post-doctoral fellows. These young researchers will be the next generation of science and engineering leaders in Canada.

SSHRC is the federal research funding agency that promotes and supports post-secondary–based research and research training in the humanities and social sciences. The agency plays an important role in Canada’s research landscape and is committed to fostering greater equity, diversity and inclusion in the sciences. SSHRC invests over $380 million annually, supporting more than 8,500 graduate students and 20,000 researchers.

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