Government of Canada

Government of Canada

May 30, 2012 10:41 ET

Harper Government Announces Three New Research Networks Focusing on Eldercare, Biofuels and Marine Environment

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 30, 2012) - New research networks will advance the care available to elderly patients, boost the production of sustainable biofuels and improve our ability to respond to marine emergencies or environmental changes. The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology, today announced $73.8 million over five years to support three new Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) dedicated to developing solutions to these challenges.

"Our government's Economic Action Plan 2012 focuses on the drivers of growth and job creation-innovation, investment, education, skills and communities," said Minister of State Goodyear. "Our government is investing in the welfare of our communities by funding research that will help improve health care services for Canada's aging population."

Funding was awarded to three new NCEs following a competition to assess the applicants' research proposal, training program, level of networking and partnerships, knowledge-transfer activities, and management. The new networks are:

  • Technology Evaluation in the Elderly Network, based at Queen's University and led by Scientific Director Daren Heyland ($23.9 million);
  • BioFuelNet, based at McGill University and led by Scientific Director Donald Smith ($24.9 million); and
  • Marine Environmental Observation, Prediction and Response Network, based at Dalhousie University and led by Scientific Director Douglas Wallace ($25 million).

Based at Queen's University, the Technology Evaluation in the Elderly Network will research and develop various technologies for the care of seriously ill elderly patients. This network will explore new strategies for the purpose of improving the quality of end-of-life care. Its objective is to help improve the quality of diagnosis and treatment that the health care system offers to senior citizens.

"Canada helped pioneer networking more than 20 years ago as a way of getting the most out of our research capacity," said Dr. Suzanne Fortier, Chair of the NCE Steering Committee and President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. "By bringing together the best minds from across the country to focus on a specific area, these new networks carry on a proud tradition that has benefitted Canada greatly."

The NCE program is managed jointly by 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-in partnership with Industry Canada.

BACKGROUNDER

Competition Results for New Networks of Centres of Excellence

Founded in 1989, the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) program mobilizes Canada's best research talent in the university, private and public sectors, and it applies this talent to the task of developing the economy and improving the quality of life of Canadians. The networks promote collaboration among universities, industry, government and not-for-profit organizations. An integral element of the Government of Canada's science and technology strategy, Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada's Advantage, these nationwide, multidisciplinary and multi-sector partnerships connect excellent research with industrial know-how and strategic investment.

All applications to the NCE program undergo a rigorous, competitive, peer review process focused on the highest standards of excellence. They are evaluated against five selection criteria:

  • Excellence of the research program
  • Development of highly qualified personnel
  • Networking and partnerships
  • Knowledge and technology exchange and exploitation
  • Management of the network

Three new networks are being funded from the competition held in 2011.

Newly funded networks:

Technology Evaluation in the Elderly Network (TVN)

Funding: $23.9 million over five years

Headquarters: Queen's University

Scientific Director: Daren Heyland

The Technology Evaluation in the Elderly Network (TVN) will develop, evaluate and disseminate information about the use of various technologies in the care of seriously ill elderly patients. TVN will employ a broad definition of technology that includes any knowledge product, improvement strategy or tool used in the diagnosis, treatment or palliation of patients. The network differs from other groups doing research on elderly people due to the nature of the specific population served-seriously ill patients who are generally excluded from clinical trials-and due to the technologies to be evaluated, which include basic to advanced forms of life support technologies as well as strategies to improve the quality of end-of-life care.

Réseau BioFuelNet (BioFuelNet)

Funding: $24.9 million over five years

Headquarters: McGill University

Scientific Director: Donald Smith

The BioFuelNet network will link the various components of the Canadian biofuels and bioproducts sector, integrating and accelerating developments, and filling the gaps in current research. Its goal is to significantly expand the Canadian energy sector's use of products (fuels and chemicals) derived from renewable biomass sources. Research will be conducted on three themes defined by the value chains involved with the development of biofuels and bioproducts: feedstocks (creation of improved feedstock production systems), conversion (better conversion methodologies) and utilization (enhanced understanding of the use of biofuels in current and future engines for surface, marine and aerospace transportation). A fourth theme-Social, Economic and Environmental Sustainability (SEES)-will be integrated into and help direct the activities in the other themes.

Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response (MEOPAR)

Funding: $25 million over five years

Headquarters: Dalhousie University

Scientific Director: Douglas Wallace

The Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response (MEOPAR) Network will develop and implement new science-based tools and technologies that will improve Canadian and international abilities to respond to marine emergencies (particularly associated with extreme events) as they occur and to anticipate and adapt to risks related to changes in marine extremes over the next century. Building on Canada's internationally recognized strengths in oceanographic research, MEOPAR brings together natural scientists, social scientists and policy makers in a partnership that will evaluate, predict and respond to significant marine environmental risks and thereby reduce economic losses, societal hardships and environmental degradation, while optimizing economic opportunity.

Contact Information

  • Michele-Jamali Paquette
    Director of Communications
    Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear
    Minister of State (Science and Technology)
    613-947-2956

    Kelly Nolan
    Communications Manager
    Networks of Centres of Excellence Secretariat
    613-996-0390
    kelly.nolan@nce-rce.gc.ca

    Media Relations
    Industry Canada
    613-943-2502