NEW YORK, Feb 28 – The Canadian Government said Wednesday it would nearly double the budget for Genome Canada, the country’s non-profit genomics research organization, to $195 million ($300 million Canadian).
Minister of Industry Brian Tobin said he would immediately provide an additional $91 million in new funding for genomic research.
"Genome Canada is an important component of the Government of Canada's innovation agenda and this funding will further enable Genome Canada to secure those benefits for Canadians,” Minister Tobin said in a statement.
Marc LePage, Genome Canada’s vice president of corporate development, called the funding increase “a big step forward."
"We are going to be making project solutions very shortly and frankly, this will be a factor for the board to function more aggressively to select more project,” LePage said.
Genome Canada funds five non-profit genome technology centers in British Columbia, the prairies, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada. The genomics projects, for which the organization solicited proposals in 2000, aim to provide platforms for discovery of genome-based disease diagnostics and treatments as well as genomics applications for forestry, fisheries, and environmental management, LePage said.
Genome Canada also aims to build public-private partnerships in genomics and to address social, ethical, and legal issues related to genomics.
Since Genome Canada is coming into the genomics game in the post-sequencing era, the projects proposed for the centers mainly focus on functional genomics and proteomics, LePage said. Proposals for structural genomics are also under consideration. The organization’s board is scheduled to meet next week to review the proposals. The center and project selection will be announced in early April, LePage said.