Many years of success: Alberta Innovates - Health Solutions timeline to present

Jan. 1, 2010

1980  An Act of Legislature creates the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research with an endowment of $300 million, and the Board of Trustees is established. Funding for students and fellows is initiated.

1985   One of Canada’s first Technology Transfer Programs is established to help researchers and private industry take innovations from the lab to the marketplace. The 5000th application is processed, 130 senior scientists are in place, and more than 1000 university students have been supported.

1987  The first International Board of Review applauds the Foundation’s outstanding success. AHFMR research buildings open at the U of A and the U of C. More than 2000 students and researchers-in-training have been supported.

1993  The second International Board of Review affirms AHFMR’s leadership in supporting medical research in Canada with effective and often innovative granting programs. The IBR verifies that many Foundation scientists are earning international acclaim for their discoveries.

1994  AHFMR creates a separate foundation in response to numerous inquiries about how to donate to health research. The Alberta Foundation for Health Research (AFHR) is a non-profit, charitable organization that supports only selected, top-quality health research projects according to the standards of excellence set by AHFMR.

1997  $15 million is allocated to the new AHFMR Opportunity Fund that matches funds for strategic research infrastructure initiatives in the province. This is one of many ways AHFMR programs complement rather than duplicate provincial and national programs.

1998  The third International Board of Review declares that AHFMR’s “solid commitment to excellence” has nurtured a superlative scientific community which garners much scientific acclaim, and that much of this success stems from the Foundation’s arms-length relationship. The Board also notes the economic spin-offs, outside research dollars being attracted to Alberta Universities, and significant job creation

2000  AHFMR’s success inspires the Government of Alberta to create the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Science and Engineering Research, modeled on AHFMR. 172 researchers are supported, and the endowment is valued at $1 billion. The cumulative total of AHFMR funding reaches $600 million.

2000  AHFMR announces a new initiative called the Research Prize. Its intention was to maintain and improve AHFMR Personnel awards as potent vehicles for the recruitment and retention of highly qualified internationally competitive investigators at Alberta Institutions. The prize is automatically awarded to all investigators receiving unconditional AHFMR personnel awards. 2001 AHFMR recognizes the first 20 year personnel – those researchers successful in securing 20 consecutive years of funding from the Foundation.

2001  The Foundation establishes the ForeFront Program – a new initiative to assist in accelerating the commercialization of medical research innovations, as well as help keep the economic benefits of these innovations in the province.

2004  After 14 years of leadership, Dr. Matthew Spence steps down from the Foundation as president and CEO. Dr. Kevin Keough assumes the task on August 1, 2004.

2004  The fourth International Board of Review applauded the Alberta government for its vision in creating AHFMR nearly 25 years ago and supporting its health research activities over the decades. The IBR also underscored AHFMR’s sound management of the resources obtained from the investment of its endowment, which allows health research to flourish with outstanding results and assures funding of research excellence in perpetuity.

2005  AHFMR marks its silver anniversary – having provided 25 years of continuous support to Alberta researchers improving the health and quality of life of Albertans and people throughout the world.

2005   The Alberta Government announced a $500 million addition to AHFMR’s endowment. The additional funds allowed the Foundation to continue and enhance its programs of funding people and activities engaged in health research. Strategic consultation with the research community and AHFMR’s partners in government, the universities and educational institutions, regional health authorities, other funding agencies, were sought to receive direction in how to utilize the additional monies.

2006   Dr. Kevin Keough steps down as President and CEO. Dr. Jacques Magnan appointed Interim President and CEO

2009   Dr. Jacques Magnan is appointed Interim President and CEO of Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions.

2010  On January 1, AHFMR becomes Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions, part of the province’s stronger, more aligned research and innovation system described in Bill 27, the Alberta Research and Innovation Act.

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