The Manitoba government will provide up to $750,000 from the Manitoba Research and Innovation Fund to support a new research collaboration between the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of Manitoba to address fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), Innovation, Energy and Mines Minister Dave Chomiak announced today.
“We are pleased to support efforts to bring researchers together from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of Manitoba to study FASD and create long-term social, economic and health benefits for Manitobans,” said Chomiak. “Our partners are putting together a multi-disciplinary team with valuable expertise in this area. Their research will also have the potential to further improve the way our government works with front-line organizations to support families dealing with FASD.”
Over the next five years, the province will match funds raised by the Canadian Friends of Hebrew University toward a new Canada-Israel FASD research consortium.
“We are thrilled to see research, which began 12 years ago in Dr. AbrahamFainsod’s lab at Hebrew University, now be the focus of this collaboration with University of Manitoba researchers,” said Faith Kaplan, Winnipeg chapter president, Canadian Friends of Hebrew University. “Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder is a serious concern in communities around the world and we are confident our research consortium will improve the understanding of what leads to children being born with FASD. Such collaboration is completely consistent with Hebrew University’s mission to improve the world.”
“This new collaboration and partnership is absolutely essential if we want to find solutions to the complicated health challenges facing our world in the 21st century,” said Dr. Digvir S. Jayas, vice-president of research and distinguished professor at the University of Manitoba. “Our researchers, working alongside colleagues at Hebrew University in Israel, will help unlock the key to preventing FASD and translate those findings into better treatments for people around the world.”
The support for the Canadian Friends of Hebrew University and the FASD research consortium comes from the Science and Technology International Collaboration component of the Manitoba Research and Innovation Fund.
“We are continually strengthening our continuum of FASD services in Manitoba from prevention through to independent living,” said Healthy Living, Youth and Seniors Minister Jim Rondeau. “As part of our strategy, we provide annual funding for FASD research. This new research collaboration holds exciting potential to move us forward more quickly and make a real difference in people’s lives. I look forward to seeing the overall work that results.”
With a comprehensive strategy integrating the work of eight provincial departments, Manitoba has been aggressively tackling the issue of FASD on many fronts, Rondeau said. A total investment of $11.5 million this year will support ongoing prevention, education, diagnostics, support services and research. Innovative programming includes new initiatives such as Project CHOICES, which is aimed at women who are considered at higher risk for an alcohol-exposed pregnancy, and Stepping Out on Saturdays, a respite day camp that assists FASD-affected children with social skills while providing their caregivers a break, he noted.
The Manitoba Research and Innovation Fund was created to help increase the capacity of the province’s universities, colleges, hospitals and other institutions to carry out important, world-class research and development, Chomiak said. Since 2003, it has provided over $90 million in research and innovation support for health and agriculture, technology and aerospace, cultural and new media industries, and alternative energy developments.