I have used the Looking Ahead emails for the past seven weeks to provide you with an update on our plans and an overview of the areas of focus for 2016-17. This week's Looking Ahead continues my update and is focused on Research and Innovation – a critical pillar of UHN.  As a reminder, the list below provides a summary of our areas of focus for this year.

  • Purpose, Values and Principles
  • Clinical Optimization
  • Caring Safely
  • Patient Experience
  • Team Engagement
  • IT Transformation
  • Michener Integration
  • Research and Innovation

In 2016/17, we will look to further the alignment of research operations, funding sources and industry partners so that we may continue to grow the research focus of UHN and encourage innovation throughout the organization. This will require further investment in our research infrastructure so that UHN's research will be conducted in facilities which are leading-edge – a necessity for our scientists. We also know that we must find ways to enhance participation in clinical trials and develop systems that make it easier to access clinical data for research purposes. This means that it is critical that the Coordinated Approvals Process for Clinical Research (CAPCR) continues to develop this year.

The need for next-generation infrastructure which supports all of research has always been essential to UHN and this year the Centre for Cell and Vector Production (CCVP)'s construction will begin with an approximate six-month timeline for completion. Also in the works, at the design stage, is the consolidated Research Biobank with construction expected to start in 2016. Both of these CFI-funded facilities are an important contribution to the work done by our researchers and critical to our ability to be able to retain and attract the very best scientists in all fields of research. We will also continue with our investments in image-guided expertise and resources, including the CFI-funded Image-guided Discovery Labs (MR/PET, Cyclotron, research labs) at Toronto General and the Slaight Family High Field MR (7 Tesla) Facility in the Krembil Neuroscience Centre at Toronto Western.

This work along with other important initiatives within the Research domain will be completed under the oversight and guidance of the Dr. David Jaffray, Executive Vice President -- Technology and Innovation and Dr. Chris Paige, Executive Vice President -- Science and Research with the support of the Directors of our research institutes -- Dr. Don Weaver, Dr. Mansoor Husain, Dr. Brad Wouters and Dr. Geoff Fernie. The Board of Trustees is counting on all of these individuals to continue their work so that UHN remains the best place in the country in which to conduct biomedical research.

There are two remaining Research Town Halls over the next couple of weeks: March 31st in the DeGasperis Conservatory (10:00 – 11:00 AM, 4th floor, Toronto General Hospital) andApril 5 (3:00 – 4:00 PM, BMO Centre, Krembil Discovery Tower). During these Town Halls I will have an opportunity to dialogue with the research community. Please note that these Townhalls are not institute specific. They are being held at different locations for the convenience of staff working across the UHN campus. I strongly encourage you and your staff to attend at least one of these events and to take this opportunity to share your ideas about research at UHN. In the meantime, I can give everyone my assurance that I will work with our scientists, research leaders, governments, funding agencies, our Foundations and industry to continue to build the research enterprise at UHN.​


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