Our research environment is remarkable for its depth and breadth in core areas such as cancer, brain and mental health, heart and lung health, chronic and infectious diseases. With focused support and development we can extend our research platform to explore new and emerging areas of focus, engage patients and the public, and strengthen translation capabilities to accelerate the transfer of research to care.
Goal: Knowledge creation, translation and exchange to gain insight and promote improved outcomes in patient and public health
We will focus upon our strengths building on three thematic foundations: the life sciences based on our rich tradition of discovery science, and now strongly embracing translation and innovation; the life course – building bridges through maternal/fetal health and child and adolescent health to provide new insights into mechanisms of healthy aging and illnesses of later life; and approaches to disease including both preventative medicine and the use of precision medicine in the management of complex diseases.
These foundational themes anchor our research priority areas supporting a strong, innovative and focused interdisciplinary research approach.
We will continue to build upon our research excellence focusing on sustaining and growing our pre-eminence in five research priorities including: cancer, brain and mental health, heart and lung health, population health, and chronic diseases (such as diabetes).
Within each of the five research priority areas the Faculty has emerging and established strengths in areas of major importance for human health, for example in cancer – precision oncogenomics; in brain and mental health – neurodegenerative disease, mental health and addiction; in heart and lung health – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); in population health – infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS; and in chronic diseases – diabetes. The Faculty will continue to build upon these strengths, while also pursing new frontiers of research to advance the transformation of health outcomes and care.
This approach combined with research excellence in our priority areas, prioritization of resources, and assertive investment will create new knowledge, discoveries, and translation helping to improve prevention and treatment of diseases, influence health policies, and advance the delivery of health care. This will translate into benefits for the population, patients, locally, nationally, and internationally and the economy. To achieve maximum impact, this must be coordinated with our regional and Health Authority partners; the AHSN and the AHSCs will be pivotal enablers of this integration.
The successful implementation of the Faculty’s research priorities and themes requires a sophisticated integrated core research infrastructure, of which the Faculty has developed strong core platforms. Specifically our capabilities in genomics are exceptional; however we will need to strengthen our capacity in other areas to create the infrastructure needed to sustain research excellence, innovation, and translation.
The cross-cutting platforms the Faculty will invest and focus on are: genomics and ‘omics; data science including access to, analysis and interpretation of large data sets and the integration, management and utilisation of complex information in a clinical setting; biobanking; imaging; experimental medicine including first-in-man capability; biomedical engineering; and the development and evaluation of novel therapeutics including cell-based therapies.
Cost-effective development and utilization of such platforms will require a sectoral approach and coordination through our academic and health care partners. In the context of our thematic priorities, the core platforms will enable the Faculty to be a transformative leader in research, and to be at the forefront of the use of such research and innovation to address patient and public health at a local, national and global level.
The province has deepened its commitment in this critical area through the coordination of the BC SUPPORT Unit and the AHSN; our Faculty is a key partner in advancing the goals of these entities.
In this context, we must strengthen our capabilities in conducting interdisciplinary population-based, patient-oriented clinical research that leads to effective policy development, and in the development of new effective models of clinical trials across the province – in turn improving outcomes and delivery of health care in patient and public health in both urban and rural settings.
Our assessment of provincial and Faculty assets highlights the unique interface between our public mandate and our expertise in precision medicine.
To fully realize and establish our capabilities will require disruptive change, specifically an educational focus on advancement of medical informatics and data science, strengthened interdisciplinary research across the University, development and training of our clinical faculty, and coordinated province-wide population-based studies.
The precision medicine approach provides a basis for transformations in health upon which future sustainable population health activity may pivot, providing the capacity to transform health outcomes across society both urban and rural, improved efficiency of clinical trials, and more efficient use of health resources. In turn, this may help lead to new policy developments facilitating sustainable and effective health care.
Knowledge creation, translation, and exchange for the improved delivery of health care are critical components of our strategy.
Through a cohesive and deliberate approach focused on enhanced entrepreneurship, technology transfer, and commercialization, we will actively strengthen our innovation capacity through coordinated support and strong partnerships with industry.
Effective translation will have significant results providing benefits to health care and the knowledge economy through licensing, spin-out and start-up companies, and strengthened relationships with industry. The Pacific Health Innovation eXchange (PHIX) will be a key enabler to strengthen collaborations across the research network and facilitate the implementation of innovation.