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Research Without Borders Project Kicks Off

Apr. 05, 2017
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A group of 21 senior researchers from St. Boniface Hospital spent several days at BGU's Faculty of Health Sciences last month to kick off the Research Without Borders project. The group, headed by Dr. Grant Pierce, Executive Director for Research at St. Boniface, was accompanied by Charles (Chuck)LaFlèche, President & CEO of the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation, Larry Vicker, a board member of the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation and his wife Tova who are also longtime supporters of BGU, and Mark Mendelson, CEO, Canadian Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (CABGU)​.

The visit was intended to encourage connections between researchers from BGU and St. Boniface and to identify possible research collaborations. Each Canadian researcher “speed-dated” with BGU researchers to find a suitable research partner. The Canadians stayed put while every 30 minutes the BGU researcher changed places. 

Twenty eight BGU researchers took part, mostly from the Faculty of Health Sciences and Soroka University Medical Center, but also from other BGU departments.

Late last year, President Prof. Rivka Carmi visited Canada during which Research Without Borders, a partnership and research collaboration between Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and St. Boniface Hospital was signed. Prof. Carmi appointed Prof. Yoram Etzion, a cardiologist and member of the Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, as BGU's representative.  

Prof. Amos Katz​, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences commented, The meetings over two intensive and complex days were excellent and very beneficial and showcase the creativity and out-of-the-box thinking i to promote and encourage research, the exchange of ideas and the forging of international connections. I am convinced that this is just the beginning of fruitful collaborations with our colleagues from St. Boniface, which will enhance bio-medical research at the University.” 

The researchers were excited about the new contacts they had made and the new research they would undertake.   

Two million Canadian dollars have been raised so far for the researchers by CABGU’s Winnipeg office, spearheaded by Mark Mendelson and St. Boniface Hospital. They hope to eventually raise 5 million Canadian dollars. 

So far, grants have been authorized for five research projects, with the hope of reaching 10 such projects. Each project has been allocated 300,000 Canadian dollars for a period of two years. The projects were chosen by an external panel consisting of five researchers from Israel and another five from abroad. 

Founded in 1871, St. Boniface Hospital is the largest in Western Canada.  It has 600 beds, a budget in excess of C$300 million and 4,000 employees.  It has the first fee-standing Research Centre in Western Canada.  The Albrechtsen Research Centre (“ARC”) has close to 250 employees with a focus on cardiac research, neuro-degenerative disorders and nutraceuticals.  The Hospital is affiliated to the University of Manitoba, the largest university in Western Canada, with 25,000 students. 

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