$25 Million fund supports excellence in medical research in Ontario

Toronto, June 15, 2006 — MaRS Discovery District announced preliminary guidelines for the Premier’s Summit Awards which will recognize the extraordinary scientific talent and medical research excellence in the Province of Ontario. The Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation announced the creation of the $25 million fund allocated to the Awards in March 2006, and named MaRS as the administrator of the program.

The objectives of the Premier’s Summit Awards are to provide a high level of research support that will trigger new initiatives and innovation, and attract and retain the very best researchers and innovators in the Province of Ontario. The Awards form part of a cohesive innovation strategy that focuses on excellence in research and commercialization as cornerstones of the economic platform of the Province of Ontario.

“It is vital to our future economic prosperity that we create a culture of innovation in Ontario,” said Premier and Minister of Research and Innovation Dalton McGuinty. “These awards will champion the efforts of innovative researchers whose efforts help maintain the high quality of life Ontarians enjoy.”

“The Premier’s Summit Awards will enhance the position of Ontario as one of the outstanding jurisdictions worldwide to support and celebrate excellence in health research and medical innovation,” said Dr. Ilse Treurnicht, CEO of MaRS. “MaRS is very proud to administer this high profile Award Program, which signals the commitment of both the research institutions of Ontario and the Province of Ontario to research and innovation excellence that compares with the best in the world,” continued Dr. Treurnicht.

An advisory group for the Premier’s Summit Awards, established by MaRS, will finalize program guidelines and oversee program delivery. The advisory group will be chaired by Dr. John Evans, Chair of the MaRS Board of Directors.

The preliminary guidelines for the Premier’s Summit Awards are as follows:

  • Each Premier’s Summit Award will be for $1 million per year for five years, with $500,000 coming from the fund and $500,000 from the nominating host institution.
  • The matching funds must be new incremental dollars and not reallocated from existing sources. Use of the award funds will be limited to salary support, overhead costs and recruitment start-up costs.
  • Eligible applicants will be internationally recognized leaders in the medical and health research fields whose work is transformative, and who are conducting research in an academic or research institution in Ontario. The application must be sponsored by the President or CEO of the eligible institution.
  • The Awards competition will be held annually, until the award fund is depleted, or replenished. Depending on the number and quality of applications, it is anticipated that two to three awards will be made per year.
  • Program awards will be adjudicated by two or more internationally recognized scientists from outside Ontario. Appropriate reporting and mid-term review criteria will be established by the advisory group, and monitored by a MaRS program team.

The anticipated release of final program guidelines to institutions is late August 2006. MaRS will consult with eligible institutions to obtain input for the program rollout. Currently, October 2006 is proposed as the target deadline for receipt of the first round of applications. The first recipients of the Premier’s Summit Awards will be announced in the winter of 2006/7.

About MaRS

MaRS Discovery District (www.marsdd.com) is a large scale, mission driven innovation centre located in Toronto and networked across Ontario, focused on building Canada’s next generation of technology companies. MaRS works closely with entrepreneurs to grow and scale their ventures into global market leaders in life sciences and health care, information, communications and digital media technologies, cleantech, advanced materials and engineering, as well as innovative social purpose business.

For more information, contact:
Linda Quattrin
Director Communications
MaRS Discovery District