CIHR’s New Funding Initiative

OBI CONGRATULATES THE CIHR’S INSTITUTE OF AGING AND INSTITUTE OF NEUROSCIENCES, MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION FOR ANNOUNCING THE “CANADIAN CONSORTIUM ON NEURODEGENERATION IN AGING”

Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (like vascular dementia and frontotemporal dementia) affect over 500,000 Canadians at any given time. The personal and social impact is immense. The financial burden is also staggering, costing Canadians an estimated $15 billion every year. The occurrence of Alzheimer’s is growing at an alarming rate, and something must be done to stop the rising tide.

In 2009, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) responded by launching the first of its Roadmap Signature Initiatives, the International Collaborative Research Strategy for Alzheimer’s Disease (ICRSAD). The initiative is a joint venture between two of CIHR’s institutes: the Institute of Aging, and the Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction.

The goals of ICRSAD are three-fold:

1.     Prevent neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, from occurring

2.     Delay or slow the onset of neurodegenerative diseases

3.     Improve the quality of life of those living with neurodegenerative diseases

On July 18th, at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Vancouver, ICRSAD announced a major new Canadian research initiative: the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA). The CCNA will create a Canada-wide network aimed at innovative and collaborative research. This collaborative network will enable Canada to lead and participate in international initiatives, such as the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) and the European Union Joint Programming in Neurodegenerative Disease (JPND).

The five-year funding is anticipated to be between $75-100 million – with contributions from several CIHR institutes, industry, private donors, and not-for-profit funding agencies. Researchers will be able to start applying to be part of this network this fall. The applications will be followed by CIHR-chaired workshops to integrate the groups into one large network. This approach is similar to OBI’s “Integrated Discovery” Programs and will encourage a single, strong consortium, rather than several smaller, isolated groups.

OBI believes that we need to work together in new, collaborative ways in order to solve some of the most complex issues of our time: brain disorders. This announcement is welcome news as it applies this collaborative approach to the significant problem of Alzheimer’s disease.

We are very pleased with the CIHR’s vision for increasing the impact of Canada’s neurodegeneration research through collaboration. The OBI is eager to facilitate the role of Ontario’s neuroscientists in this exciting new initiative.

webinar describing the CCNA initiative is available on-line.

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