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Dr. Roseann O’Reilly Runte announces $515 million funding to support 100 infrastructure projects at 32 postsecondary institutions and research hospitals
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Dr. Roseann O’Reilly Runte announces $515 million funding to support 100 infrastructure projects at 32 postsecondary institutions and research hospitals

At the Université de Montréal, Que., Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Transport of Canada and Quebec Lieutenant, announced more than $515 million in funding for research infrastructure through the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

He made the announcement on behalf of François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. The funding will support 100 infrastructure projects at 32 postsecondary institutions and research hospitals across the country and will help Canada remain at the forefront of exploration, discovery and innovation.

For Canadian researchers to be ready to respond to critical issues facing our planet and pursue ambitious ideas that drive innovation, they need access to the right tools and facilities. The Government of Canada understands this need, and through the CFI, it is supporting researchers across the country in making meaningful contributions in health, the environment, and the economy to build a resilient, thriving society.

The Université de Montréal received funding for three projects, including one that will use medical imaging to learn more about type 2 diabetes, a disease that affects nearly one in 10 adults around the world. CFI funding will supply research teams at the Université de Montréal and the Université de Sherbrooke with PET scans, MRI and quantitative ultrasound technology to monitor organ function in people with the disease with the goal of preventing and treating it.

Other exceptional research infrastructure projects this funding supports include:

Repurposing drugs to treat opioid use disorder. In 2022, an average of 20 lives were lost every day to opioid overdose, twice as many as in 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. CFI funding will support researchers at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine who are looking at how opioid use disorder changes the brain. There are currently only four approved medications to manage opioid use disorder and the rate of relapse among individuals undergoing treatment is about 70 percent. Researchers will collaborate with people with lived experience of opioid use to repurpose existing drugs to treat the disorder’s debilitating symptoms. While the research team will also work on developing new drug therapies, focusing on existing medicines will save many years of testing and approvals — and could ultimately save lives.

Preventing coastal erosion. Prince Edward Island is shrinking faster than ever predicted, losing an average of 30 centimeters of coastline annually. How to protect against climate change-induced heavy precipitation, storm surges and rising sea levels has become one of the most pressing questions for the province. CFI funding will support the University of Prince Edward Island’s Climate Lab in developing a province-wide coastal hazard monitoring and testing system.

Cameras with a 360-degree view will record storms in real-time, and an indoor facility will test protective measures in a simulated coastal environment. It will systematically evaluate measures like planting vegetation and erecting sea walls to see what works in different locations across P.E.I. The system will be the only one of its kind in Canada.

Building better wheelchairs. Few wheelchairs on the market have been built for Canada’s rigorous climate and landscape. A team at the British Columbia Institute of Technology is looking to change that, to make wheelchairs go places they can’t right now — off-road, through snow and up and down stairs. Their goal is to create a modifiable chair that can be adapted to add e-bike-like power-assist units or to tackle different terrain.

A partnership with the University of Manitoba will test the devices in the snow. Thorough testing will evaluate what the technologies can do safely to ensure that new wheelchairs will further break down barriers for people living with disabilities.

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