Building strong partnerships with industry can be of great advantage to universities, especially when it comes to advancing research goals.
Associate Professor Tim Green, for example, studies vitamin requirements – particularly vitamin D, folate, and vitamin B12 – and what benefits taking supplements might have on health. His research is supported in part by Factors Group of Nutritional Companies, Canada’s leader in the development, formulation and manufacture of nutritional supplements for the natural products market.
“Factors Group supplies the technology and the supplements for our research, while we have the ability to do trials and can provide independent verification that the supplements actually work,” said Green, who rigorously tests some of the company’s products. “There are a lot of unsubstantiated claims about the miracles of what vitamins can do. That’s why research into supplements is so important.”
The Canadian Centre for Functional Medicine (CCFM), a not for profit, multidisciplinary research facility focusing upon the scientific investigation of natural health products, nutritional interventions and strategies for preventive medicine works closely with the Factors Group and other institutions globally.
“We design and carry out clinical trials to investigate the safety and efficacy of natural health products,” said Dr. Michael Lyon, MD, Medical and Research Director, CCFM. “All of our on-site clinical trials are fully reviewed and approved by UBC’s Human Research Ethics Board as well as Health Canada’s Natural Health Products Directorate.”
“Their attention to research is unique in the supplement industry,” added Green.
CCFM has a long working relationship with our Faculty that extends beyond research to teaching. Dr. Lyon and Dr. Simon Wood, PhD, a consultant for Factors Group, are also Adjunct Professors in our Food, Nutrition and Health program.
Bringing Dr. Lyon and Dr. Wood on board as faculty members not only allows us to access their expertise, but it creates an even stronger link between UBC and industry thereby presenting research and co-op opportunities for our students.
Dr. Wood, who obtained both degrees in co-op programmes in England, has work in academia and industry on 3 continents. He is a proponent of involving universities and industry closely to build on their respective expertise for research and to prepare students for their careers in industry. Said Dr Wood, “it is a real privilege to be collaborating with a world leading university. Over the last two years, this collaboration has resulted in more than a dozen publications in peer-reviewed journals, and we are currently working on over a dozen further projects.”