This is the first edition of our special series to mark The Canadian Donation and Transplantation Research Program’s 10th Anniversary!
Follow us on the journey of the creation of the network!
Early Days: 2011-2013
It all started in 2011, when the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) – Institute of Infection and Immunity (III) organized a consultation workshop to obtain advice and input from members of the transplantation research community and interested partner organizations. Amongst the 60 participants, Dr. Marie-Josée Hébert and Dr. Lori West were there.
After the workshop, the CIHR Program Grant in Transplantation Research was developed in response to the workshop recommendations and CIHR opened a a request for applications (RFA) for a major network grant opportunity. Marie-Josée and Lori seized the opportunity and decided to team up and start working on a plan to develop a national network in the transplantation field.
They pitched their idea of this national transplant program to Dr. Jean Rouleau, Scientific Director at CIHR – Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health (ICRH) at the time, proposing to organize another workshop to establish guidelines for a network. Dr. Rouleau was so impressed by the initiative that he decided to host the Workshop with Caroline Wong, Communications Project Manager. They were able to gather some of the most renowned players in the transplantation field, including Tony Jevnikar, Peter Nickerson, and Sam Shemie.
Despite not receiving an immediate response from CIHR, they continued to pitch the idea to many places during donation and transplantation scientific meetings and continued to develop independent partnerships.
They wanted to build an inclusive network with a supportive framework to gather not only money, but expertise and services for the research community.
In 2012, Marie-Josée and Lori had established a network that was way bigger than the base criteria asked by the CIHR. Their Letter of Intent (LOI) was so impressive that partners including Canadian Blood Services, Kidney Foundation of Canada, Canadian Liver Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Canada, Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé, and Genome BC increased the total funding from $11.25M to $13.85M as a 5-year grant to support the formation, operations, and research activities.
Finally, on April 21, 2013, the announcement was made of the success of the Canadian National Transplant Research Program (CNTRP) in Ottawa, with the CIHR President and the Minister of Health in attendance. And so, the CNTRP was born, thanks to the tireless efforts of Dr. Hébert and Dr. West.