Health researchers at the University of British Columbia have received a combined total of $73.6 million in grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to bolster cutting-edge medical research.
The awards include 23 CIHR Foundation Grants totaling $51.4 million and 42 CIHR Open Operating Grants totaling $22.2 million. This is the first time that CIHR Foundation Grants have been awarded and are part of a $600-million investment in health research by the Government of Canada.
“We are thankful to CIHR and the Government of Canada for providing more than $73 million in support for UBC health researchers,” said UBC President Arvind Gupta. “Our researchers are tackling an array of health issues such as cancer, stroke, autism, heart disease and dementia. The new Foundation Grants program will ensure their work has long-lasting benefits locally, nationally and internationally.”
UBC’s 60 grant recipients include Janice Eng, who will be receiving $2.48 million over seven years to further her stroke research. Eng has already developed two major rehabilitative programs that are improving recovery for the 315,000 Canadians living with the effects of stroke.
Eng’s CIHR Foundation Grant will allow her to build on her previous research and give stroke survivors additional tools to manage their own rehabilitation.
Eng will explore tools like a telehealth healthy lifestyle program, an Internet-based arm exercise program and self-monitoring wearable sensor technologies that could help patients integrate stroke recovery into their daily lives.
“The flexibility of the foundation grant will enable me to develop innovative treatments, evaluate them through rigorous multi-site clinical trials and move them quickly to the community to improve the recovery and health of Canadians who are living today with the effects of a stroke,” Eng said.
By identifying technologies that will empower people to take control of their recovery process, Eng’s work will improve patients’ quality of life and reduce their risk of secondary health complications.
“UBC’s health researchers are at the forefront of their respective fields and CIHR’s investment will ensure that they continue to make breakthroughs in medicine and treatment,” said John Hepburn, UBC vice president, research and international. “CIHR provides important support for health researchers and trainees to advance our understanding of how to best protect the health of our communities and to tackle the major health issues we face.”
Grant recipients were chosen through a rigorous peer-review process, and the two grant programs will help health researchers improve disease prevention and treatment and strengthen healthcare for Canadians.