2016: Celebrating past successes and future opportunities

15 December 2016

2016 was a milestone year for MSFHR. We celebrated 15 years of building health research capacity in BC and making a difference in the health research community and, ultimately, in the health of British Columbians.

Some of you will remember that at the time of MSFHR’s founding, BC’s health research enterprise was at a crossroads. Despite the success of Nobel Laureate Dr. Michael Smith and other leaders, the province was under-performing in its ability to attract federal grant funding and faced the loss of top scientists to other jurisdictions. MSFHR has played a central role in reversing this trend, contributing to the creation of a vibrant research community that is now recognized — and having an impact — worldwide.

Thanks to support from the provincial government, we have invested more than $330 million in award programs that nurture talent, advance new treatments and cures, and respond to health system priorities. These investments in BC’s best and brightest have helped our province develop a world-class reputation in areas such as cancer, genomics, and HIV/AIDS.

We are looking forward to working with our community to build on BC’s health research successes in 2017 and beyond. In particular, the launch of our new suite of funding programs will help BC innovate and grow its knowledge economy, at the same time as addressing health system priorities. We have also increased our capacity to measure the outcomes of our work and of health research in general, and are eager to discuss new collaborations that achieve collective impact.

We are looking forward to strengthening our partnership with both the emerging BC Academic Health Science Network and the recently-funded BC SUPPORT Unit. Our mandates are complementary: I see great potential for MSFHR to support BC AHSN’s goal of realizing meaningful improvements in population health outcomes and patient experience in a select number of priority areas, and to help the BC SUPPORT Unit increase patient-oriented research throughout BC.

As December draws to a close and many of you take a well-deserved break, I would like to wish you all a wonderful holiday season spent with those who are dearest to you and all the best for the coming year. I look forward to connecting with many of you personally in 2017.

Bev Holmes, PhD
Acting President & CEO