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McMaster University program to develop next gen PPE gets big funding boost



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McMaster University program to develop next gen PPE gets big funding boost

McMaster University is the recipient of a substantial government grant that will support the development of the next generation of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline workers.

In a press release sent by the Ontario government on Tuesday (Jan. 26), it was announced that Mac would receive more than $1.2 million to help accelerate the work at its newly created Centre of Excellence in Protective Equipment and Materials (CEPEM).

“The investment will support the centre’s collaboration with its industry partners in developing and optimizing their products, getting them to market faster, and thereby protecting the community and frontline workers,” the release said.

“The centre’s new testing and manufacturing facility will also help generate new technology that will increase the competitive edge of made-in-Ontario PPE over products from other jurisdictions.”

The University of Toronto will also be the recipient of a more than $1.1 million grant to support its Dalla Lana School of Public Health’s testing facility as it ramps up filtration efficiency testing of N95, surgical and procedure masks.

The funds come from the province’s $50-million Ontario Together Fund, which aims to support businesses who retool their operations to produce PPE and develop technology-driven solutions and services for businesses to reopen safely amid the global pandemic.

Both Mac and U of T’s PPE development programs aim to improve protections for front-line workers and accelerate their deployment.

“From the earliest days of the pandemic, Ontario’s innovation and manufacturing might was unleashed to develop and produce the PPE, the ventilators and the other essential equipment we would need to face the challenge of COVID-19,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.

“With this investment into research and testing at two of our leading universities, we are reinforcing our province’s reputation as the gold standard for medical equipment across Canada and around the world.”

Earlier on in the pandemic, McMaster launched The Global Nexus for Pandemics and Biological Threats, an international collaboration of scientists, clinical health and medical specialists, engineers, social scientists, history and policy researchers, economics and business experts who share the goal of mitigating global health threats.

The CEPEM was created out of that international collaboration.

“It’s these kinds of partnerships supported by the Centre of Excellence within the Global Nexus for Pandemics and Biological Threats that set McMaster apart,” said Karen Mossman, McMaster’s Vice-President, Research in the release.

“Our faculty members have earned the trust of industry, and the CEPEM team led by Ravi Selvaganapathy exemplify that.”

To learn more about McMaster’s Global Nexus and the role its researchers are playing in the battle against COVID-19, visit their website.

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