Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 241

the new focus on healthcare innovation cannot undermine the critical
importance of funding discovery research consistently and sufficiently
over time.
The success rate for applications to the CIHR’s Open Operating Grant
programme (the federal agency’s largest pot of money and accounting
for a little over half of all available funding) fell to 18% for 2014-15, down
from 33% less than a decade earlier. Part of the explanation for the low
success rate for the 2014-15 granting year was an unusual spike in
applications as investigators scrambled to submit proposals before an
administrative revamp takes full effect at CIHR. Among other changes,
the overhaul is expected to require researchers to more frequently secure
partnerships and matching funds through charities and industry to
augment CIHR grants.
An innovative economy is built on excellence in knowledge creation and
on the exploitation of the unpredictable fraction of that knowledge with
commercial or direct social value. Canada must strengthen the
commitment to basic science, which is the bedrock of discovery,
innovation, commercialisation and patient-oriented research, by ensuring
CIHR has consistent and sufficient funding to retain and support the
productivity of top-flight talent while cultivating the next generation of
scientific leadership.
Over the past several years, Research Canada has advocated for
increased investment in discovery research within the context of creating
the balance required for a strong innovation system in Canada. The ability
to capitalise on Canada’s strengths and address the challenges the
country faces depends on the federal government’s leadership in ensuring
that all aspects of the innovation ecosystem are supported and that the
government carries out its unique role in funding discovery research.
Canada and the EU
Health represents one of the most important and successful areas of
co-operation between the EU and Canada. The high collaboration is proven
by the joint collaboration in all the multilateral research initiatives that
Canada has either started or joined. Examples include the International
Rare Disease Consortium and the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases.
Canada and the EU are planning to work together on initiatives that are
being established, such as the Global Research Collaboration for Infectious
Disease Preparedness. Moreover, both Canada and the EU are members
of the Human Frontier Science Programme, and Canada has expressed
interest in joining the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials
Partnerships. These initiatives will be undertaken with a view to advancing
to provide a comprehensive picture of the
breadth and depth of Canada’s clinical
research assets. It is an important step in
Canada becoming a global leader in
pharmaceutical innovation, and in attracting
investment into pharmaceutical research.
Federal policy
The current federal government has focused
Canada’s research priorities on short term
commercial goals, which has been both a
constructive and challenging development for
Canada’s health research community. It has
compelled the health research enterprise to put
itself in the shoes of governments during
difficult economic times when a return on
investment imperative must be borne by all
sectors within the economy. It has also obliged
a community deeply committed to biomedical
discovery to dedicate itself more broadly to a
funding and policy framework for healthcare
innovation that embraces biomedical discovery,
commercialisation and product development as
integral components of a successful healthcare
system. A unified partnership of government,
academic, private and voluntary sectors
supporting all aspects of the healthcare
innovation ecosystem is progress without a
doubt; however, the Canadian health research
community is clear on one fundamental point:
H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
I S S U E S I X
241
C A N A D A
Canadian Parliament
Hon. Senator Kelvin K
Ogilvie, chair of the
Health Research
Caucus, addressing a
Research Canada event
on medical devices
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