Press Release – Federal Government Invests in Autism, Cerebral Palsy and FASD Research

Vancouver-based NeuroDevNet will focus on improving the quality of life of Canadian children affected by neurodevelopmental disorders

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwired – Jan. 13, 2015) – Industry Canada

Mike Lake, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry, on behalf of his colleague, the Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology), today announced the renewal of funding for NeuroDevNet. This Vancouver-based national network will receive an additional $19.6 million to support collaborative research aimed at developing a new understanding of, and treatments for, children affected by neurodevelopmental disorders, specifically autism, cerebral palsy and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD).

As one in six children is affected by a neurodevelopmental disorder, there is a need to expand diagnostic capabilities and introduce new therapeutic options. NeuroDevNet researchers and partners will investigate the genetic and environmental causes of these disorders and improve our understanding of children’s brain development. This multi-partner research collaboration will provide health care professionals and caregivers with the information they need to support affected children and their families.

Today’s investment is the result of the most recent competition in the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) program. In addition to NeuroDevNet being renewed for a second five-year term, the competition resulted in four new networks receiving funding.

NCEs mobilize a critical mass of expertise from across the country, bringing together health, natural and social scientists as well as engineers. Partners from industry, government and the not-for-profit sector contribute additional expertise and support.

Quick facts

  • On December 15, 2014, the Government of Canada named five research networks to conduct groundbreaking research that is focused on addressing major social, economic, or health- and life sciences-related issues:New
    • Aging Gracefully across Environments using Technology to Support Wellness, Engagement, and Long Life-AGE-WELL (Toronto, Ontario)
    • Biotherapeutics for Cancer Treatment-BioCanRX (Ottawa, Ontario)
    • Canadian Glycomics Network-GlycoNet (Edmonton, Alberta)
    • Canadian Arrhythmia Network-CANet (London, Ontario)


  • NeuroDevNet (Vancouver, British Columbia)
  • With these new grants, the Networks of Centres of Excellence program currently funds 14 networks.
  • Today’s announcement of renewed funding for NeuroDevNet brings the total federal investment to $39.2 million, which includes the $19.6 million it received in 2009 when it was first established as a network.
  • Recently, Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered on the government’s commitment to provide an updated science, technology and innovation strategy. The strategy, Seizing Canada’s Moment, is a vision and a road map for strengthening Canada’s position as a global leader in scientific research while looking to harness greater Canadian innovations that create jobs, increase prosperity and improve the quality of life of Canadians.
  • The Networks of Centres of Excellence program corresponds to all three pillars of the renewed science, technology and innovation strategy: knowledge, people and innovation. Each network develops highly skilled people, builds research knowledge and shares this expertise with business to improve processes and technologies.


“Through our updated science, technology and innovation strategy, our government is making the necessary investments to push the boundaries of knowledge, create jobs and prosperity, and improve the quality of life of Canadians. The newest Networks of Centres of Excellence will undertake research in the important areas of biochemistry, cancer, arrhythmia, aging and brain development, leveraging nationwide talent and resources to tackle social and economic challenges that are important to Canadians.”

Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology)

“Our government is committed to investing in world-class research networks, including NeuroDevNet, which will develop new tools and processes to detect and treat brain disorders in children. These investments will improve the quality of life of young Canadians and contribute to the creation of a stronger, more innovative economy and a more prosperous Canada.”

– Mike Lake, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

“It is wonderful to have this affirmation of the importance of NeuroDevNet’s work in improving the quality of life of children with neurodisabilities and their families. For the one in six children affected by a condition such as autism, cerebral palsy or fetal alcohol spectrum disorder-and those who care for them-the future looks brighter. Five years of additional funding will enable NeuroDevNet to move many initiatives from our first years as an NCE to bring about new policies and practices that benefit children with neurodevelopmental disorders. Our partners and stakeholders will be crucial to this exciting process.”

– Dan Goldowitz, Scientific Director, NeuroDevNet

“NeuroDevNet’s talented researchers have made major advances in understanding various childhood brain disorders. Renewal of the network’s funding is testimony both to its past achievements and the quality of its research plan for the coming five years. We look forward to seeing the ongoing impact of this work on improving diagnosis and treatment for kids with conditions such as cerebral palsy, autism and FASD.”

– André Isabelle, Associate Vice-President, Networks of Centres of Excellence

Source: Market Wired website: Federal Government Invests in Autism, Cerebral Palsy and FASD Research