This week, the Professor Ferid Murad, doctor, scientist and winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in medicine, is in Montreal. His journey is inspiring and it raises a real public debate on the financing of scientific and medical research. His plea is without shades: the granting agencies, researchers and industry partners must take risks and get out of their comfort zones. This is the only way to stand out.
However, in Quebec and the Canada, the facts are any other. Ferid Murad is a man of conviction, whose stubbornness has paid off. He has always refused to pilot research projects that were already explored paths. ‘If venture there where no one has gone, it is the essence of research’, such was his maxim throughout his impressive career. If he has managed to discover the properties of nitric oxide that impact today therapeutic for millions of patients with cancer, pulmonary, inflammatory and other diseases, it was largely because the fact that she was provided with the financial resources that allowed him to pursue the “crazy” ideas Ideas that have probably never received funding of conventional institutions precisely as they were leaving the beaten. The problem is there.
The funding of research in Quebec and the Canada is difficult. Only 15% of submitted research projects receive funding. The criteria for the Fund are strict and must meet rigid rules. In short, funds are grossly inadequate what promotes too little funding for creative research hypotheses. Researchers who aspire to develop risky research programs, which run counter to the conventional wisdom, should more often turn to private donors whose ways are no common action compared to the United States.
On the eve of the completion of the work of the new Research Centre CHUM, project in which the Government of Quebec has invested half a billion dollars, it is our responsibility to think collectively about the way that our researchers will have to make their own shots of engineering. This new building, advanced technology, is a key base for excellence in research, but more is needed.
The CRCHUM is the most important center of French research in North America. It brings together researchers whose talent is envied by major laboratories in the world. Then ask: how the State, institutions, and private sector partners will conditions to allow them to push back the boundaries of medicine and to do so with us?
Yet these are such ideas that redirect the current research in laboratories around the world and that, most often, paving the way for medical hitherto unimaginable opportunities.
Thanks to events like the great Lab of the CRCHUM, leaders from the world of business, cultural and sports gather and contribute, personally, to support the ‘crazy ideas’ of our researchers here. They are a model to follow. These donors deserve our respect and commitment lance a clear message so risky research is better funded, and, for our own collective benefit.
Honorary President of the large lab of the CHUM Research Centre
Director of the CHUM Research Centre