$32M grant to transform Ottawa’s health research community

August 21, 2008

The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) has been awarded $32M to lead a bold new collaborative health research program that brings together The Ottawa Hospital, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and the University of Ottawa.

The program, called TIMEx (Translation of Innovation into Medical Excellence), was one of just eight in the country selected for “once-in-a-generation” funding through the Large Scale Institutional Endeavours program of the Research Hospital Fund competition held by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

“TIMEx is all about doing research that makes a difference for our patients,” said Dr. Duncan Stewart, CEO and Scientific Director of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Vice President of Research at The Ottawa Hospital and Professor of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. “Generating new scientific knowledge is not enough - the goal of this project is to translate this new knowledge into better health.”

The funding will support construction of sophisticated new facilities to investigate the molecular basis of health and disease, manufacture new therapies and conduct early stage clinical trials in patients. “World-first” therapies to be tested include viruses that selectively destroy tumours, implants that restore vision and engineered stem cells to repair the heart and regenerate blood vessels. Other areas of investigation include developing novel approaches to treat and prevent stroke, Parkinson’s and kidney disease.

TIMEx also includes a unique mentorship and training program that will help researchers design meaningful studies and translate their findings into benefits for Canadians. This program will apply to basic laboratory researchers, clinical researchers, population health researchers and health policy experts, helping them work together to find solutions to major health problems.

The new infrastructure will total over 40,000 square feet and will enable the recruitment of up to 240 scientists and research staff over the next five years. It will also increase student training capacity by 50 per cent.

“Here in Ottawa we are increasingly known for developing innovative new therapies and leading practice-changing clinical research studies,” said Dr. Stewart. “This new funding gives us the opportunity to take this to the next level and lead the country in conducting targeted research to improve health.”

TIMEx is by far the largest grant ever awarded for health research in Ottawa. The approved project is valued at a total of $62M. CFI is providing approximately $25M for infrastructure and $7M for operations, with the balance to be provided by the partner institutions and other sources.

“Research is key to The Ottawa Hospital’s vision to be nationally recognized as the academic health science centre of choice,” said Dr. Jack Kitts, President and CEO, The Ottawa Hospital. “By strengthening our research infrastructure at the OHRI, this new funding will help The Ottawa Hospital recruit and retain our star clinicians and provide the patients we serve with world-class health care.”

“The University of Ottawa is one of Canada’s top five research-intensive universities, with a strategic focus on health sciences,” said Allan Rock, President of the University of Ottawa. “This new funding will create unique training opportunities and an outstanding environment to attract and retain top health researchers.”

“Research is essential to improving health,” said Dr. Robert Roberts, President & CEO, University of Ottawa Heart Institute. “These funds will enable our scientists to collaborate and make the crucial discoveries we need to develop the knowledge to diagnose, treat and prevent heart disease.”

“Bringing new therapies to the public inevitably requires involvement with commercial and regulatory bodies,” said Dr. Alex MacKenzie, CEO and Scientific Director, CHEO Research Institute. “The TIMEx partners have already achieved significant success in this regard, with 10 spin-off companies and nearly 100 patents filed so far. This new funding will greatly enhance these activities so that discoveries made in Ottawa will generate both health and economic benefits for the community.”

“The Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa is committed to supporting medical research in partnership with its affiliated hospitals and research institutes,” said Dr. Jacques Bradwejn, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. “These partnerships have paid off not only in supporting medical discovery for better health care, but also in bolstering the local economy by attracting large investments to Ottawa through federal grant competitions and other opportunities.”

“The importance of the Research Hospital Fund cannot be overstated,” said Dr. Eliot Phillipson, President and CEO of the CFI. “It provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to ensure that Canadian research hospitals remain at the forefront of health research in the highly competitive international research environment, and will assist them in retaining their world-class scientists, and in training the next generation of health researchers.”

Media contacts

  • The Ottawa Hospital / OHRI: Jennifer Paterson (613-614-5253;
  • Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario: 613-737-2343
  • University of Ottawa Heart Institute: Marlene Orton (613-761-4427;
  • University of Ottawa: Jean-François Belleau (613-562-5313;
  • Canada Foundation for Innovation: Yves Melanson (613-996-3160; cell 613-447-1723)

About the Partner Institutions

The Ottawa Hospital, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and their research institutes, together with the University of Ottawa, form one of Canada’s leading academic health science centres. Together, they provide world-class health care services to 1.5 million people while conducting more than 1,500 health research projects and training more than 6,000 health professionals and health research students each year.

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is an independent corporation created in 1997 by the Government of Canada to fund research infrastructure. The CFI's mandate is to strengthen the capacity of Canadian universities, colleges, research hospitals, and non-profit research institutions to carry out world-class research and technology development that benefits Canadians.