May 20, 2021
Vancouver, BC — Genome BC, the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, and the BCCDC Foundation for Public Health have partnered for the first time to fund rapid response research initiatives that will have a direct impact – in a matter of months – on people in British Columbia during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Valued at approximately $1.3 million, a total of nine new projects have been selected for funding, covering a range of priority research areas, including:
- vaccine breakthrough infections;
- vaccine effectiveness in the context of variants of concern and immune response;
- viral transmission;
- equitable distribution of vaccines;
- vaccine acceptance and attitudes towards vaccines; and,
- vaccine literacy and hesitancy among people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, people who are incarcerated, people who work in long-term care homes and a variety of multicultural communities in the Lower Mainland.
The projects are being led by researchers at the BC Centre for Disease Control, BC Children’s Hospital Institute, Simon Fraser University, University of British Columbia (UBC), UBC Okanagan, and University of Victoria.
The supported projects represent a mix of laboratory-based and social dynamics studies, offering critical insights to urgent issues, while supporting near-term targeted public health responses, and helping to ensure access to and confidence in vaccination programs for everyone in BC.
Strategic partners on this initiative also include the BC Academic Health Science Network (BC AHSN) and Population Data BC.BC AHSN, through the BC SUPPORT Unit, has partnered on the call by providing support to public engagement reviewers to participate in the review process. In addition, the Unit will provide consultation, training and support to those who are interested in engaging patients and families, public and/or community members as partners on their research teams. Population Data BC is offering guidance and advice to the funded researchers on data access and linkage, and continuing in its efforts to make the data access process as simple and straightforward as possible for the research community.
Dr. Pascal Spothelfer, President and CEO, Genome BC
“With our partners, Genome BC continues to drive BC-based research solutions that will deliver swift and meaningful impacts on the COVID-19 pandemic and the vaccine rollout. We are committed to advancing real-time applications to enable a healthier future for all people living in British Columbia.”
Dr. Bev Holmes, President & CEO, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research
“As BC’s health research funding agency, we recognize that BC’s successful response to COVID-19 involves policy approaches anchored in science. By pooling resources with our partners, we are leveraging our strengths to help generate needed evidence for the benefit of British Columbians and their communities.”
Kristy Kerr, Executive Director, BCCDC Foundation for Public Health
“Working with our partners to address immediate COVID-19 priorities means that we can – and are – making a collective impact on public health. Because engagement of the public, government and public health stakeholders have been prioritized in these projects, we’ve ensured that all of the emerging research truly addresses the needs of local populations here in B.C. It is our job to help protect the people of British Columbia, to foster positive public health outcomes, and to create opportunities for equitable solutions. We are doing this better – and faster – by having joined forces.”
Project summaries are available here.
About Genome British Columbia
Genome BC is a not-for-profit organization supporting world-class genomics research and innovation to grow globally competitive life sciences sectors and deliver sustainable benefits for British Columbia, Canada and beyond. The organization’s initiatives are improving the lives of British Columbians by advancing health care in addition to addressing environmental and natural resource challenges. In addition to scientific programming, Genome BC works to integrate genomics into society by supporting responsible research and innovation and foster an understanding and appreciation of the life sciences among educators, students and the public.
The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) is British Columbia’s health research funding agency. Funded by the Province of British Columbia, MSFHR helps develop, retain and recruit the talented people whose research improves the health of British Columbians, addresses health system priorities, creates jobs and adds to the knowledge economy. Learn more at www.msfhr.org.
About the BCCDC Foundation for Public Health:
The BCCDC Foundation for Public Health protects the health of people in B.C., prevents threats to public health, and helps protect our community’s health by inspiring action and advocacy in B.C. It is a small organization that is making a very big impact on public health by leading public health initiatives and funding evidence-based projects and research that contribute to better public health outcomes for people in B.C., www.bccdcfoundation.org
Jennifer Boon, Communications Manager, Public and Media Relations
Genome British Columbia
Chelsey Gill, Manager, Marketing & Communications
Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research
Allison Murray, Associate
Boldt Communications for the BCCDC Foundation for Public Health