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The federal Networks of Centres of Excellence today awarded $14.8 million to McMaster University for development and commercialization of novel surgical robotic systems.

The announcement was made at McMaster by Gary Goodyear, the minister of state (Science and Technology).

McMaster's Centre for Surgical Invention and Innovation (CSII) based at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton will develop and commercialize a new class of robotic platforms for targeted, less invasive surgical and medical interventions. The centre will be working with corporate partner MDA, the world leader in space robotics and developers of the famous Canadarm.

The development of new technologies is expected to dramatically improve surgical results, with a reduction in both post-operative pain and complications of surgery.

"Bridging the gap between research and commercialization is critical if we want to capture the true economic, social and health benefits of our work," said McMaster President Peter George. "This program allows for that to happen, creating a culture of innovation by bringing together those with the business know-how, the scientific excellence and the creative abilities to ensure this knowledge translation happens at an unprecedented pace."

Dr. Mehran Anvari, an international leader in remote and minimal access surgery and professor of surgery at McMaster's Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, is director of the CSII.

"This investment by the federal government will enhance Canada's lead in the field of robotics and translate into new technology which will improve the quality and access to health care for all Canadians," Anvari said. "It is also a welcome investment in the current economic climate, creating high tech jobs and a new innovative biotech industry."

Mag Iskander, president of MDA's Information Systems Group commented: "We look forward to working in partnership with McMaster University to transfer Canada's leadership in space robotic technology into innovative advancements for medical applications.

"The establishment of the Centre for Surgical Invention & Innovation will extend Canada's leadership role in robotics to deliver world-class robotic technology that will benefit patients not only here in Hamilton, but around the world."

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