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Foundation grateful for BC contribution to health research

The British Columbia government has given $48 million to the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, but it's unclear how long the grant will be expected to last.

"We're pleased to have this amount of money from the government," said Lori Last, a spokesperson for the MSFHR. "For us it's very positive news."

The grant announced Oct. 3 shows the government sees the foundation as important and values its contribution to health care and the economy, she said.

The foundation started with a $110 million grant in 2001 that was intended to cover five years. It received a $15 million top up in 2004, then another $100 million in 2005.

In recent years it had received funding one year at a time and had registered lobbyists "to seek annualized funding to support the activities of the Foundation" so that it would know how much money to expect each year. Such funding would allow it to plan further ahead and offer the stability to attract and retain top researchers, then interim president and CEO Bruce Clayman told The Tyee a year ago.

Health ministry spokesperson Ryan Jabs said yesterday's $48 million is a one-time grant and the government is not giving the foundation a timeline for spending the money.

The size of the grant allows the foundation to do some forward planning, said MSFHR's Last. It is yet to decide how many years it will try to stretch the funding, she said. "These are all decisions we're still making."

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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