The New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) invests in high-risk research that is interdisciplinary, transformative, and led by Canadian researchers working with Canadian and international partners.

On April 25, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, announced more than $200 million in support for Canadian-led interdisciplinary, international, high-risk, and high-reward research through the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF). Through three different NFRF competitions—Exploration, Transformation, and a Special Call for research supporting post-pandemic recovery—the government is supporting 195 projects that are bringing disciplines together in novel ways to form bold, innovative perspectives.

Through the Special Call on research for post-pandemic recovery and the NFRF 2022 Exploration competition fund, 12 McGill researchers received funding for their projects, for a total investment of $3.2 million. In the Special Call program for post-pandemic recovery, Professor Anne Cockcroft in the Department of Family Medicine was awarded $497,869 for the project, “Building on strength: using local knowledge to inform evidence-based community-led decision-making for COVID-19 recovery.” In the Exploration competition, eleven projects received $250,000 each.

Additionally, McGill is a partner on TRIDENT: TRanslational Initiative to DE-risk NeuroTherapeutics, a project led by Western University and funded for $24 million over six years through the Transformation Fund. TRIDENT aims to identify promising therapeutics against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. James McGill Professor of Law and Director of the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy Richard Gold, and Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery and Director of the Neuro’s Early Drug Discovery Unit (EDDU), Thomas Durcan, are co-Principal Investigators on the project.

Complete list of projects in the Exploration Fund:

FMHS-led projects:

  • Assistant Professor Mariane Bertagnolli (School of Physical & Occupational Therapy), Title: New placental organoid models to study vascularization processes and therapies in preeclampsia
  • Professor John Hanrahan (Department of Physiology), Title: DIY airway renovations for healthy lungs
  • Professor David Juncker (Department of Biomedical Engineering), Title: 3D-printed breath sampler for capturing and analyzing exhaled microdroplets
  • Associate Professor Jesse Shapiro (Department of Microbiology and Immunology), Title: Multispecies origins of multicellularity in cyanobacteria

McGill projects:

  • Assistant Professor Hamid Akbarzadeh (Department of Bio-resource Engineering), Title: Origami-inspired deployable sensoriactuator soft robots
  • Professor Marco Amabili (Department of Mechanical Engineering), Title: Development of patient-specific aortic graft with assessment of end users’ needs, concerns, and psychological wellbeing
  • Assistant Professor Changhong Cao (Department of Mechanical Engineering), Title: Pesticide-free prevention of vector-borne diseases by leveraging 2D materials
  • Assistant Professor Mehran Dastmalchi (Department of Plant Science), Title: Plant-derived biosynergists to enhance pesticide efficacy
  • Assistant Professor Codruta Ignea (Department of Bioengineering), Title: ACE2D: Accelerated exploration of the untapped nature’s chemical diversity for the discovery of novel bioactive compounds
  • Assistant Professor Jianyu Li (Department of Mechanical Engineering), Title: Living bacteria bioadhesives for chronic and infected wound care
  • Assistant Professor Daniele Malomo (Department of Civil Engineering), Title: Exploring human-seismic hazard interaction in virtual dimensions

Click here to view the list of all 2022 Exploration Fund projects.

Click here to view the list of recipients from the 2022 Research for Postpandemic Recovery call.