Tuesday’s federal budget bodes well for stem cell research and development in Canada.
First, there is the Government of Canada’s commitment to make available up to $800 million to support innovation networks and clusters as part of the Government’s upcoming Innovation Agenda.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau and the Government indicated they recognize the need to “catalyze private sector dynamism, generate greater value from public investments in innovation and enable the pursuit of ambitious initiatives that bring a critical mass of stakeholders together and connect their ideas to the marketplace.”
This approach — catalyzing private sector dynamism — reflects the essence of the proposed Canadian Stem Cell Strategy, the privately led plan that unites all the players in Canada’s stem cell sector to deliver up to 10 new curative therapies within 10 years. Crafted in consultation with 150 scientists, doctors, leaders from health charities, industry experts and philanthropists, the Strategy calls for a one-third investment by the Government to be matched by two-thirds private and non-federal funds.
Second, Budget 2016 allocates $12 million over two years to support the Stem Cell Network in its research, training and outreach activities. The Network, whose funding was scheduled to end next year, aligns the efforts of stem cell scientists across Canada. Providing funding for the Network further strengthens the case for a comprehensive national strategy for stem cell R&D.
“Canada’s stem cell community appreciates the recognition in Budget 2016 and looks forward to working with the Government as it builds its Innovation Agenda,” says James Price, President & CEO of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation. “The proposed Strategy will improve the health of Canadians, leverage our unique history and incredible experience in this sector and secure Canadian leadership in the next wave of modern medicine.”