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Genome Canada Plots $75M 2010 Budget

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Genome Canada said today that it plans to use the C$75 million ($75 million) in funding it will receive under Canada's 2010 budget to support the purchase of new technologies and a wide array of research efforts, which will emphasize forestry, the environment, human health, and agriculture.

Canada's leading genomics funding organization said that it decided at its March board meeting to allot C$15 million for its Science and Technology Innovation Centres, which will provide new technologies, expertise, and infrastructure to researchers in academia and industry. When added to the C$9 million in existing funding, this appropriation gives the S&T Innovation Centres a total of $24 million.

Much of the funding, up to C$60 million, will be used for open and targeted project competitions that "will emphasize a high potential for economic return," the agency said. The competition money will give at least C$30 million for targeted forestry and environmental research and up to C$30 million to support strategic areas such as agriculture, fisheries, and human health.

Genome Canada's board also approved up to C$4.6 million to support the International Barcode of Life Project, led by the University of Guelph, which will keep the program funded through July 2011.

Genome Canada said that the investment "came at an opportune time as it will allow growth when international competition in this area is extremely high, genomics technology is at a key inflection point, and discoveries in the areas of genomics and genetics are happening at an increased rate resulting in enhanced opportunities for commercial conversion."

"This funding also will stabilize resources currently in place by providing support for the development and retention of a new generation of 'prepared minds' – the Canadian genomic scientists of the future – which have been fostered over the last ten years," C. Thomas Caskey, chairman of the board of Genome Canada, said in a statement.

"Going forward, it will also stimulate collaboration with other agencies such as the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and others. This will also lead to opportunities to enhance economic growth," Caskey added.

Genome Canada received no funding in its 2009 budget, which was impacted by the global financial crisis. The organization received around C$140 million in 2008 and around C$100 million in 2007.

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