For Gareth Taylor, Director of Government Research Infrastructure Programs, “being able to work with some of the best scientists in the world” is a big plus to his role in facilitating awards for all the major grants associated with the Lunenfeld.
Gareth is responsible for managing and coordinating Lunenfeld awards from agencies and programs including the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the Canada Research Chair (CRC) Program, Genome Canada, and various Ministry of Research and Innovation programs including the Ontario Research Fund’s Research Excellence Program.
“Over the last seven or eight years, we’ve had a massive increase in Lunenfeld awards from these agencies,” says Gareth, citing, for example, that two Lunenfeld investigators held CRCs in 2001, compared with 15 at present. Each chair application requires significant justification and support, as well as reporting—all coordinated by Gareth.
“As well, funding from the most recent CFI—over $65 million—is a testament to Lunenfeld investigators’ success nationally.” Gareth notes that awards submitted to various agencies carrying the Lunenfeld name certainly assists with success, both for new investigators and those already well established.
Gareth began working at the Lunenfeld in 2001, but his ties to science reach much further back. He has a PhD in molecular biology, completed post-doctoral training with Dr. Tony Pawson, and was working at the National Cancer Institute of Canada before returning to the Lunenfeld.
Gareth also liaises with the Mount Sinai Hospital Foundation to provide information about funding, and gives suggestions for research areas that might be of interest to current and prospective donors.
When asked about any challenges that accompany his role, Gareth says that “any given day is never the same thing—but that’s what keeps it interesting as well.” Appreciating the variety, Gareth touches upon the science underlying all applications, as well as financial information and administrative details associated with all granting guidelines.
“Gareth is our umbilical cord to large government programs,” says Jim Woodgett. “He safely navigates us through the ever more complicated procurement barriers and has been instrumental in securing over $250 million in government program funding for the Institute. He’s the quarter billion dollar man!”
He also collaborates with Mark Toone (Director of Operations), Paul Kranjac (Director of Finance) and the grants administration team. “It’s a two-way street because we’re constantly providing feedback and help to each other,” says Gareth.
“Generally, we’re all kept extremely busy because our scientists are so successful. In today’s financial climate, this is a very good problem to have!”