Industry Canada

Industry Canada

October 15, 2007 09:36 ET

Industry Canada: Government Delivers on Budget 2007 Commitment to Fund Seven Centres of Excellence

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 15, 2007) - The Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry, and the Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, today announced $105 million to seven centres of excellence focused on priority areas in research and commercialization for Canada.

"Our government is committed to building on our important science and technology strengths by taking advantage of the excellent research capacity of facilities such as the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute," said Minister Prentice. "Through this funding, and working with our provincial and private partners, the new Centres of Excellence will help Canada achieve world-class success in the strategic areas of scientific opportunity and competitive advantage."

"In Budget 2007, we committed to improving the quality of life of Canadians by strengthening our support for science and technology," said Minister Flaherty. "We live in a highly competitive global economy, and it is imperative that we lead change in areas such as the environment, energy and health care by being more innovative and forward-looking."

The seven centres of excellence focusing on research and commercialization are as follows:

- the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael's Hospital, affiliated with the University of Toronto

- the Brain Research Centre at the University of British Columbia

- the Canada School of Energy and the Environment at the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary and the University of Lethbridge

- the Heart and Stroke Foundation Centre for Stroke Recovery, affiliated with the University of Toronto and the University of Ottawa

- the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University

- the National Optics Institute in Quebec

- the Life Sciences Research Institute in Halifax, affiliated with Dalhousie University

The end result of a new and more strategic government focus on science and technology is a better life for Canadians, our families and our communities, with cleaner and safer streets, better medicines and health care, and improved education that will lead to better jobs and better futures for our children.

Through Budget 2007, Canada's New Government committed to providing $105 million in 2007-08 to support the operation of these centres.


Seven Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research

There are seven centres of excellence in Canada that focus on priority areas in research and commercialization that are a key element of the Entrepreneurial Advantage component of Canada's new Science and Technology (S&T) Strategy. This S&T Strategy is a multi-year framework that will create a business environment that encourages the private sector to innovate and will guide the intelligent and strategic investment of public funds.

Through the Strategy, the government will promote world-class excellence, target more resources to priority areas in the national interest, create partnerships and work collaboratively with the provinces, and hold itself accountable for delivering results that matter to Canadians.

Budget 2007 provided $105 million to the seven centres. These centres are also eligible to compete under the new Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research Program ($195 million over the next two years).

The seven centres of excellence are as follows:

- The Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute ( aims to strengthen knowledge translation in health care by combining research, education and clinical care. Located at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto (affiliated with the University of Toronto), the Institute will combine the clinical care, research and education activities of St. Michael's Hospital with a focus on knowledge translation.

The Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute will develop new and better ways to transfer knowledge from researcher, to practitioner, to patient by combining research, education and clinical care. The Institute will initially focus on inner-city health, heart and lung disease, diabetes, nutrition, brain injury and multi-organ failure. It will build on existing research teams of scientists, research coordinators, programmers and technicians.

The Institute will be a 240 000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility comprising two nine-storey centres: the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Centre in Health Care Education.

The Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute was established through a $25-million donation from Mr. Li Ka-shing to St. Michael's Hospital. The Ontario government is also investing $23 million, and St. Michael's Hospital has committed $71 million through its foundation and operating budget.

- The Brain Research Centre ( is a partnership between Vancouver Coastal Health and the University of British Columbia (UBC). Headquartered at Vancouver Coastal Health's UBC Hospital site, the Brain Research Centre seeks to obtain new knowledge about the functioning of the human brain in both health and disease. The Centre aims to use this knowledge to promote new treatments and diagnostics for brain diseases, improve the learning capacity of the human brain, and prevent declines that impede graceful aging. It also strives to provide education and training as well as develop industrial partnerships and new company spinoffs to generate employment and wealth in the economy.

The Brain Research Centre is built around six pillars of neuroscience research: neurodegeneration (Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis); multiple sclerosis; mental health (schizophrenia and mood disorders) and addictions; stroke; neurotrauma; and vision. The Centre is committed to developing new technologies to aid diagnosis and treat these conditions. Two key technology areas at the Centre are diagnostic imaging and genomics.

Over 175 faculty members are affiliated with the Brain Research Centre, representing 20 university departments and six faculties. It is connected to each of the teaching hospitals in the Lower Mainland, as well as to Simon Fraser University, the University of Victoria and the University of Northern British Columbia.

- The Canada School of Energy and the Environment (CSEE) ( will facilitate the sharing of research knowledge and collaboration in the fields of energy and the environment.

The University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, and the University of Lethbridge are establishing the CSEE as a virtual institute. Aiming to be a global leader in integrated research, policy and technology for the natural resources and energy sectors, the CSEE will bring together researchers, academics and technologists. The CSEE is expected to become operational in the coming year and will focus on stimulating the development and commercialization of new processes to make current energy sources cleaner and more efficient. The CSEE will also facilitate the development and commercialization of emerging and alternative energy sources such as clean coal, fuel cells, carbon dioxide capture and storage, water management, biomass, hydrogen, and improved oil and gas recovery, including the recovery and upgrading of oil sands and heavy oil.

The CSEE will combine the academic strengths of the three universities in the fields of law, economics, engineering, chemistry, geology, environmental sciences, political and social sciences, and business management. It will also involve the Government of Alberta and the private sector.

- The Heart and Stroke Foundation Centre for Stroke Recovery (, affiliated with the University of Toronto and the University of Ottawa, seeks to establish a brain recovery research program that will lead to effective functional improvements after a stroke.

The Centre will develop a comprehensive program of integrated, translational research that includes molecular biology, laboratory models and clinical studies that help pave the way for designing and testing novel post-stroke interventions and therapies more quickly. Research is focused on revealing the molecular and cellular cascade of events that occur following a stroke, with the aim of identifying new interventions that could potentially alter negative outcomes, using interventions proven in other diseases to improve outcomes in stroke patients, and developing and validating new interventions to improve cognitive outcomes following stroke.

The Centre, a virtual organization, is a collaborative effort involving the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, the Ottawa Health Research Institute, the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute and Kunin-Lunenfeld Applied Research Unit. The Centre was established in 2002 through a memorandum of understanding that commits each of the four organizations to fund the Centre's operations.

- The Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) ( is a teaching and research institute of McGill University in which multidisciplinary teams of basic and clinical scientists work to generate fundamental information about the nervous system and apply that knowledge to understanding and treating neurological diseases.

MNI was conceived in 1934 by the eminent neurosurgeon and scientist
Wilder Penfield as an integrated hospital and research institute. It has evolved into a research institute dedicated to neuroscience and has a long history of translating scientific findings into clinical practice.
MNI's research activities are centres in 12 separate yet interconnected research units focused on the full spectrum of contemporary neuroscience. Among MNI's internationally recognized strengths are its groups in epilepsy research and treatment, the McConnell Brain Imaging Centre, neuropsychology, neuroimmunology, complex neural systems, and neuromuscular disease.

- The National Optics Institute (INO) ( in Quebec is a centre of expertise in optics and photonics. INO's mission is to give businesses a competitive edge through innovative solutions and technology platforms using optics and photonics. These technologies are applied in areas such as aerospace, agri-food, biomedicine, life sciences, the environment, forestry, optics and lasers, security and defence, telecommunications, and transportation.

INO employs over 200 people at its 189 500-square-foot facility in Quebec that is noted for its state-of-the-art laboratories. It attributes its growth to its ability to create intellectual property and draw value from it through research and development contracts, prototype production, technology transfer, and the promotion of innovative projects that create jobs. In the last five years, INO has generated overall earnings of $141 million and has 20 new optics and photonics spinoffs to its credit and 28 transfers to industry. It also holds 62 patents.

INO works in partnership with the Quebec and federal governments, the private sector, and international project partners.

- The Life Sciences Research Institute (LSRI) ( at Dalhousie University in Halifax will provide a Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research by strengthening and building a life sciences cluster in Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada.

LSRI will provide open-concept research and incubator space for the Halifax region's growing life sciences and biotechnology sector. LSRI will foster research in the health and life sciences and technologies that can lead to practical and commercial applications. It aims to increase shared research activity, generate new practical and commercial applications, and benefit growth in the Atlantic region by encouraging economic activity and developing highly qualified workers. The lead tenant will be the Brain Repair Centre, which is dedicated to health research and finding treatments, cures and prevention strategies for conditions as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and spinal cord injury.

Dalhousie University is the lead institution for LSRI and has worked with Capital Health and the IWK Health Centre to develop LSRI. Other partners include the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the National Research Council Institute of Biodiagnostics, BioNova and the Province of Nova Scotia.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Jim Prentice
    Minister of Industry
    Deirdra McCracken
    Press Secretary
    Industry Canada
    Media Relations