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Alberta Innovates funding spotlights graduate and postdoctoral health researchers

Impact of space flight on bone density, gut microbiota, and depression among subjects studied by UCalgary award recipients

More than 30 UCalgary graduate and postdoctoral health researchers have received Alberta Innovates funding. Photo by Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

In support of health researchers working to translate new discoveries from the bench to the bedside, Alberta Innovates (AI) has announced the latest round of awards for graduate and postgraduate researchers, and it includes more than 30 University of Calgary scholars.

“Alberta Innovates is proud to support the next generation of researchers,” says Reg Joseph, vice-president of health. “The scope and breadth of the research that is being undertaken at the University of Calgary, and around the province, is nothing short of remarkable. Their work will ultimately make a difference in the health and well-being of Albertans and people around the world. Congratulations to this year’s awardees.”

University of Calgary students earned nine of the 13 available AI-CIHR partnered SPOR Graduate Studentship awardssupporting training opportunities in patient-oriented health research. In addition, the university’s postdoctoral scholars earned 19 of the 21 AI postgraduate fellowships, focused on training and skill development for promising health researchers.

“We are grateful to the Province of Alberta and the Government of Canada for their support of our talented emerging research leaders,” says Ed McCauley, vice-president (research). “These awards fuel innovative health research, they foster mentorship, and they facilitate professional development, training and career planning.”

Graduate students’ health research runs gamut from osteoporosis to depression

Jointly funded by AI and CIHR, the Alberta SPOR (Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research) Graduate Studentships in Patient-Oriented Research award provides a $30,000 stipend for one year and training opportunities. The award reflects the commitment the university shares with both levels of government: to increase the quantity and quality of patient-oriented research in Alberta by leveraging new discoveries and new technologies.

This year’s Alberta SPOR Graduate Studentships went to University of Calgary students pursuing master’s and PhD degrees and studying a broad range of health issues, from osteoporosis to depression.  

“For the second year running, University of Calgary graduate students have had outstanding performance in both the AI and SPOR awards,” says Lisa Young, vice-provost and dean of graduate studies. “These awards will support our scholars in pursuing leading health research that makes a difference in the lives of Canadians.”

Postdoctoral funding supports training, career planning, and discovery

The AI postgraduate fellowships provide $50,000 per year and an annual career development allowance of $5,000 for up to three years. This year there were 120 submissions in the competition, and 19 of the 21 successful candidates are trainees at the University of Calgary. Nine of the successful candidates are also Eyes High scholars, demonstrating the calibre of the talent the postdoctoral program has attracted.

The AI-funded postdocs are mentored by world-leading researchers working in multi-disciplinary teams to address global health concerns. They are advancing health outcomes across a broad spectrum of disciplines, ranging from the effect of space flight on bone quality to the impact of fibre supplements on gut microbiota.

“Our Eyes High strategy is fundamentally focused on building bridges from the lab to the communities who need innovative solutions the most,” says Carolyn Emery, postdoctoral program director. “Our promising researchers recognized in this latest round of AI awards — along with the teams they are part of — are helping us meet those commitments and to address society’s greatest needs through fundamental science, clinical, population health, and health systems research across disciplines and the emerging fields of technology development.”

University of Calgary recipients of the AI-CIHR 2016 SPOR Graduate Studentship competition earned nine of the 13 awards.

University of Calgary recipients of the 2016 AI Training and Early Career Development Programs competition for the Postgraduate Fellowship received 19 of 21 available fellowships. 

Alberta Innovates delivers 21st-century solutions to the most compelling challenges Albertans face. Building on our province’s strengths in environment, energy, health, food, fibre and emerging technology sectors, we work with our partners to diversify Alberta’s economy, improve our environmental performance, and enhance our well-being.

Through Alberta Innovates you can access technical expertise, the opportunity to establish new partnerships, and secure funding that will catalyze innovation. We support a broad range of research and innovation activity — from discovery to application. Partner with us to innovate faster.

 

The Calvin, Phoebe and Joan Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases was named in 2008 in honour of Joan Snyder and her parents, who she credits for teaching her the value of philanthropy. It is a group of more than 104 clinicians, clinician-scientists and basic scientists who are impacting and changing the lives of people suffering from chronic diseases, including sepsis, MRSA, cystic fibrosis, type-1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. For more information on the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases, please visit us at www.snyder.ucalgary.ca or follow us on Twitter @SnyderInstitute.