Alberta Investment, Global Impact.
When the first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in a domestic animal was confirmed on an Alberta farm in May 2003, the socioeconomic impacts were immediate and devastating.
Dozens of countries around the world closed their borders to Canadian beef. Amid the uncertainty and economic losses, the Government of Alberta received international praise for its focus on public interest and its transparent and effective response. A lasting legacy of Alberta’s response to the 2003 BSE crisis is an investment in research. The Government of Alberta created the Alberta Prion Research Institute in April 2005 to fund research on BSE and other prion and protein misfolding diseases. The province invested $35 million over seven years and renewed its commitment to prion research in 2012 with an investment of $15 million through March 2015.
The return on the Government of Alberta’s investment is substantial. The formation of the Alberta Prion Research Institute has built scientific capacity, created jobs, trained young scientists and led to research discoveries – all right here in Alberta. Internationally-renowned researchers have taken note of Alberta’s excellence in prion science. Alberta is now home to some of the best prion researchers in the world. Alberta universities house some of the best prion research facilities in the world. Alberta researchers have made and continue to make significant contributions to advances in prion science.
The province has gone from not having any prion researchers at the time of the 2003 BSE crisis to being internationally recognized as a leading research location in prion and protein misfolding diseases. Today there are dozens of researchers in Alberta studying prions and the diseases they cause. Their innovative research has had an impact on other scientists around the world. Alberta now has the scientific capacity, the talent and the research labs to make a difference provincially and globally. The innovative researchers and state-of-the-art research facilities at Alberta universities are the reason Alberta is now internationally recognized as a leading research location for prion science.
Today and into the future, Alberta is in a position to capitalize on the world-class scientific capacity that has been built in the province since the creation of the Alberta Prion Research Institute. The prion research being done in Alberta labs has benefited and will continue to benefit Albertans and people around the world.
BY CINDY LIEU