Project receives $2.5 million in funding for capacity-building in kidney research
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) recently announced $2.5 million in funding for the Kidney Research Scientist Core Education and Training Program (KRESCENT) 2.0. The project is led by Dr. Todd Alexander, professor, University of Alberta, and the program is chaired by Dr. Sunny Hartwig, associate professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI), and Dr. Adeera Levin, professor, University of British Columbia. KRESCENT is a unique training initiative aimed at enhancing kidney research capacity in Canada.
“Kidney disease has significant costs and impacts on our society and our health-system, so building research capacity is imperative” says Dr. Katherine Gottschall-Pass, interim vice-president academic and research at UPEI. “We are proud of Dr. Hartwig’s work with KRESCENT. Kidney disease impacts one in ten Canadians, and we are excited to see this project expand.”
The primary goal of KRESCENT is to train scientists who focus on the prevention of end-stage renal disease and to assist them in developing new treatments that will improve the health of Canadians affected by kidney disease. The new CIHR funding will allow them to create KRESCENT 2.0, which will help to expand the program and allow them to focus on areas of need in the current kidney research landscape.
“There is a paucity of kidney researchers in Canada and a great need to provide ongoing mentorship and encouragement for the next generation of scientists who will lead our country in the future,” explains Hartwig. “This funding will allow us to focus on early career researchers and trainees. We will be able to provide targeted training and development opportunities while also ensuring that they get the ‘right’ training to set them up for their career.”
The original KRESCENT focused on supporting career development and training for kidney researchers, as well as providing coaching and mentorship. Additionally, it fostered the development of collaborative research and knowledge translation across research themes.
Building off this foundation, KRESCENT 2.0 will include: non-academic career training; a focus on building equity, diversity, and inclusion within research; and increasing prioritization of patient participation in research. Participants in the program will also have an opportunity to receive mentorship from someone in a non-academic sector, and there will be new targeted awards to make the training more accessible for Black and Indigenous kidney scholars.
“I am beyond grateful to be part of a program that has such far-reaching impacts for the next generation of kidney scientists in Canada, and ultimately, for the health of our patients,” says Hartwig.
“Through this expansion, we will honour the founding mandate of KRESCENT to build capacity for outstanding multidisciplinary kidney research in Canada. In doing so, we will contribute to improved, equitable outcomes and experiences for all patients at risk of and living with kidney diseases, including those communities disproportionately affected by kidney disease.”
The original KRESCENT program, and KRESCENT 2.0, are partnerships between researchers at the University of Prince Edward Island and other public universities across Canada, the Kidney Foundation of Canada, the Canadian Society of Nephrology, and CIHR Institute for Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes.