Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF), Competition Rounds 1 and 2

From: Vivek Goel, Vice-President, Research and Innovation
Date: July 29, 2015
Re: Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF), Competition Rounds 1 and 2

At a public event earlier this week, the Hon. Ed Holder, Minister of State for Science and Technology, announced the first award under the CFREF program. I am thrilled to confirm that the University of Toronto has been awarded $114M over seven years in support of Medicine by Design, an exciting and ambitious initiative to move Toronto and Canada to a global leadership position in the field of regenerative medicine. The winning Medicine by Design proposal identified an initial four main participating academic divisions – Applied Science & Engineering, Medicine, Arts & Science, and Pharmacy – and three affiliated hospitals – UHN, SickKids and Mt. Sinai. As Medicine by Design ramps up, the benefit will be more generally felt across all campuses, divisions, and affiliated hospitals where related research is undertaken.

I would like to thank everyone – faculty, staff and institutional and partner leaders – for the enormous effort and commitment to assembling a visionary proposal that clearly captured the imaginations of the CFREF Review Panel, Selection Board, and Steering Committee. In particular, very special thanks to Professors Janet Rossant, Ulrich Tepass, and Peter Zandstra for their extraordinary contributions under extremely compressed timelines.

Now our work really begins! Over the coming days and weeks, we will be moving quickly to establish the Medicine by Design leadership, governance, and oversight bodies, as well as the initial administrative structure to enable the team to hit the ground running this fall, making early progress toward defined milestones and deliverables. These are exciting times for regenerative medicine, for research and for the University of Toronto!

Round 2 Competition

As you may recall, this past spring we undertook an internal assessment of potential subjects for our Round 2 submission. As a result, it has been determined that our submission will focus on the topic of “big data”, including its creation, storage, curation, accessibility, distribution, analysis, security, visualization, interpretation, and interplay across a broad range of research applications. We are now engaged confirming the sub-themes and sub-theme teams and leaders to develop the structure and content of our proposal. Once again, the nature of the CFREF program requires us to focus our developing proposal on research, training, and commercialization activities associated with big data for which we have clearly demonstrable world-class expertise. Should we be fortunate enough to win a second CFREF award, there is opportunity to broaden the scope of activities to support and enhance related areas of emerging excellence.

Revised timelines for the second round competition have yet to be confirmed by the CFREF Secretariat. We understand that a Notice of Intent (this time subject to adjudication) will be due by the end of October. Invited full proposals will be due in the Spring of 2016.

Should you have any questions regarding CFREF Round 2, please be in touch with me or with Judith Chadwick, Assistant Vice-President, Research Services.