Canada funds breakthrough ideas to help patients and improve lives

News release

First round of New Beginnings Initiative will support exploratory collaborative research with 47 researchers across 22 organizations in Canada

June 20, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario – National Research Council of Canada

Through collaboration, researchers from different organizations can work together to explore, test and validate transformative research ideas that will benefit Canadians. As Canada’s largest federal research and development organization, the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) is partnering with 47 researchers across 22 organizations to advance breakthrough research ideas that could evolve into future scientific pioneering or innovative technologies.

Today, NRC President Iain Stewart and Alex Munter, President and Chief Executive Officer, CHEO, announced the first round of collaborative research projects funded through the New Beginnings Initiative. The Initiative supports small-scale, exploratory research projects with external collaborators like CHEO.  

One project receiving funding under the program is a CHEO/NRC collaboration aimed at improving treatment options for children with Dravet syndrome, a rare genetic epilepsy condition. Researchers coming from different perspectives in the lab can only result in innovation. Collaboration is the future of science.

Work on over 50 projects in a range of disciplines between NRC researchers and external collaborators is already underway as part of the Ideation Fund’s New Beginnings Initiative.


"Through the New Beginnings Initiative, our government is helping to advance science and innovation in Canada. The NRC boasts some of the best scientific minds who lead Canadian research excellence, and work with healthcare professionals to turn ideas into applications that save the lives of Canadians."

— The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

"When Canada’s researchers and businesses work together we all benefit from the new ideas and technologies they generate. Thanks to the New Beginnings Initiative, people across Canada will see their health, economy, environment and communities thrive." 

— The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport

"For children, youth and families, a rare disease diagnosis can have them and their health care team searching for the care and treatment that will allow them to live their best life. Finding the right drug that will help families with a rare disease like Dravet syndrome who we see here at CHEO is often a complex and lengthy challenge. The NRC New Beginnings Initiative-supported "Improved treatment options for children with Dravet syndrome" project will see our CHEO researchers working to test and accelerate new drug treatments for this difficult-to-manage epileptic disease."

— Alex Munter, President and CEO, CHEO

Quick facts

  • Launched in June 2018, the New Beginnings Initiative, which is part of the NRC’s Ideation Fund, provides funding for projects of up to one year in duration.

  • The New Beginnings Initiative has a total annual funding envelope of $2 million, which includes $1 million in operating funding for internal NRC expenses and $1 million in grant funding for external collaborators.

  • Eligible recipients of grant funding under this initiative are domestic and international external collaborators such as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), non-profit research organizations, and academic institutions.

  • This investment is part of Canada’s Science Vision and the Government of Canada’s commitment of more than $10 billion to science and innovation.

  • Budget 2018 also committed $700 million over 5 years to the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) to support more small and medium-sized enterprises across the country, including larger research projects up to $10 million.

Associated links


Media Relations
National Research Council of Canada
Twitter: @nrc_cnrc
Instagram: @nrc_cnrc
LinkedIn: @nrc_cnrc

Aynsley Morris
Director of Communications
CHEO Research Institute
613-737-7600 x 4144
Twitter: @cheo 
Facebook: @CHEOkids

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