Government of Canada establishes new research hubs to accelerate Canada’s vaccine and therapeutics production
Research hubs will further strengthen Canada’s biomanufacturing and life sciences sector while protecting Canadians against future health threats
The Government of Canada’s main priority continues to be protecting the health and safety of Canadians. Throughout the pandemic, the quick and decisive actions taken by the government meant that Canada was able to scale up domestic biomanufacturing capacity, which had been in decline for over 40 years. Since then, the government is rebuilding a strong and competitive biomanufacturing and life sciences sector brick by brick. This includes strengthening the foundations of the life sciences ecosystem through the research and talent of Canada’s world-class postsecondary institutions and research hospitals, as well as fostering increased collaboration with innovative companies.
Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, announced an investment of $10 million in support of the creation of five research hubs:
- CBRF PRAIRIE Hub, led by the University of Alberta
- Canada’s Immuno-Engineering and Biomanufacturing Hub, led by The University of British Columbia
- Eastern Canada Pandemic Preparedness Hub, led by the Université de Montréal
- Canadian Pandemic Preparedness Hub, led by the University of Ottawa and McMaster University
- Canadian Hub for Health Intelligence & Innovation in Infectious Diseases, led by the University of Toronto
This investment, made through Stage 1 of the integrated Canada Biomedical Research Fund (CBRF) and Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund (BRIF) competition, will bolster research and talent development efforts led by the institutions, working in collaboration with their partners. The hubs combine the strengths of academia, industry and the public and not-for-profit sectors to jointly improve pandemic readiness and the overall health and well-being of Canadians.
The multidisciplinary research hubs will accelerate the research and development of next-generation vaccines and therapeutics and diagnostics, while supporting training and development to expand the pipeline of skilled talent. The hubs will also accelerate the translation of promising research into commercially viable products and processes. This investment helps to strengthen the resilience of Canada’s life sciences sector by supporting leading Canadian research in innovative technologies that keep us safe and boost our economy.
Today’s announcement also launched Stage 2 of the CBRF-BRIF competition. This is a national competition that includes $570 million in available funding for proposals, aimed at cutting-edge research, talent development and research infrastructure projects associated with the selected research hubs. By strengthening research and talent capacity and leveraging collaborations across the entire biomanufacturing ecosystem, Canada will be better prepared to face future pandemics, in order to protect Canadian’s health and safety.
“To continue to protect Canadians and to build a resilient biomanufacturing ecosystem, our government is taking every action possible to be equipped with the best tools. We’re proud to foster the research needed to produce cutting-edge discoveries and products in our very own labs that will help us build a stronger, more robust life sciences sector that responds to the needs of Canadians for decades to come.”
—The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
“The health and safety of everyone in Canada is a top priority for our government. To modernize and advance work in the areas of vaccines and therapeutics, we must continue to invest in health research—that is what these hubs will help us achieve. Together, with experts, provinces and territories, and other partners, we will keep strengthening our preparedness for possible future pandemics.”
—The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health
“The Canada Biomedical Research Fund highlights the importance of multidisciplinary research in addressing critical challenges of importance to the well-being and prosperity of Canadians. The research hubs announced today are critical in our national quest to establish a strong Canadian presence in the bioindustry sector and, particularly, domestic vaccine production. We congratulate the leadership of these important research hubs, and look forward to working with them as they work to realize Canada’s full potential as a global leader in biomedical innovation.”
—Ted Hewitt, Chair, Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat; President, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada; Chair, Canada Research Coordinating Committee
“Collaboration enables timely and thoughtful responses to the many urgent needs caused by the global pandemic, and allows us to plan. Whether between research teams, across disciplines, or among institutions and industry sectors, the Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund complements the efforts of the research hubs. The fund encourages collaboration and addresses infrastructure needs in institutions and research hospitals, to support pandemic preparedness and responses to emerging health threats.”
—Roseann O’Reilly Runte, President and CEO, Canada Foundation for Innovation
Details on the five research hubs:
- The CBRF PRAIRIE Hub: Protecting Canada by Building on Excellence in Pandemic Preparedness. Led by the University of Alberta. Accelerating the development and commercialization of vaccine, antiviral and diagnostic countermeasures for potential pandemic pathogens.
- Canada’s Immuno-Engineering and Biomanufacturing Hub: Engineering Immunity for Pandemic Response. Led by The University of British Columbia. Helping develop next-generation immune-based therapeutics that can be manufactured domestically using the latest innovations in biomanufacturing in response to pandemics.
- Eastern Canada Pandemic Preparedness Hub (ECaPPH). Led by the Université de Montréal. Increasing the agility, connectivity and growth of the biomanufacturing and life sciences sector to ensure that Canada is prepared for future pandemics and public health crises.
- Canadian Pandemic Preparedness Hub (CP2H). Led by the University of Ottawa and McMaster University. Catalyzing research and biomanufacturing innovations to help Canada produce vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics ahead of future pandemics.
- Canadian Hub for Health Intelligence & Innovation in Infectious Diseases (HI3). Led by the University of Toronto. Advancing the concept of “personalized and precise medicine” to influence the development of vaccines, therapeutics and other public health interventions.
A research hub is a coalition of research and research-training actors, coordinated by an eligible postsecondary or health research institution that serves as an anchor for the hub. Hubs must be multidisciplinary in nature and have partners across a variety of sectors working towards common objectives to advance pandemic readiness and response initiatives.
The selection of the research hubs and the funding available through the integrated CBRF-BRIF will advance the Government of Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy (the Strategy) by strengthening the research capacity of Canada’s biomanufacturing and life sciences ecosystem.
These new pan-Canadian research hubs were selected through a two-step competitive review process that assessed the scientific merit and strategic alignment of the hub proposals with the Strategy.
The Strategy includes multiple foundational investments to help build Canada’s talent pipeline and research systems, as well as foster the growth of Canada’s life sciences
firms. Investments include the:
- Canada Biomedical Research Fund: $250 million to create a program to support high-risk, applied research, training and talent development partnership projects. Administered by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) on behalf of the three federal research funding agencies: SSHRC, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).
- Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund: An investment of $500 million to support the biosciences infrastructure needs of postsecondary institutions and affiliated research hospitals. This fund is administered by the Canada Foundation for Innovation.
Over the last two years, the federal government has committed more than $1.8 billion to 33 projects in biomanufacturing, vaccines and therapeutics.
- Stage 1 integrated CBRF-BRIF results
- Canada Biomedical Research Fund research hubs selection criteria
- The Canada Foundation for Innovation’s Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund
- Launch of the Integrated Funding Competition to Strengthen Canada’s Biomanufacturing Ecosystem
- Canada Biomedical Research Fund and Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund—Stage 2
Senior Manager, Communications
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Senior Communications Advisor and Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health
Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat
Media Relations and Social Media Specialist
Canada Foundation for Innovation
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