Canadian Consortium of Clinical Trials Training receives CIHR Funding - Atlantic Clinical Trials Network (ACTN) is key collaborator

Halifax, NS – The Atlantic Clinical Trials Network (ACTN) will receive approximately $2.5 million for the creation of various student training opportunities at the masters, PhD, postdoctoral and postdoctoral fellow levels, along with the creation of six new positions in Atlantic Canada focused on the development and coordination of clinical trial professional training within the region.

The Hon. Filomena Tassi, Minister of the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, together with Dr. Michael J. Strong, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) announced the funding as part of CIHR’s funding for a series of clinical trial training initiatives, including the Canadian Consortium of Clinical Trials Training – CANTRAIN.

This is part of CANTRAIN’s $11.3M in funding from CIHR through its Clinical Trials Training Platform.

“ACTN’s participation in CANTRAIN will enable the region to attract, train, and retain clinical trialists within our region for years to come,” says Dr. Gail Tomblin Murphy, Vice President of Research, Innovation and Discovery and Chief Nurse Executive at Nova Scotia Health, and co-founder of ACTN. “Knowledge mobilization, through initiatives like CANTRAIN, not only help to ensure we are deploying the most advanced and innovative training related to clinical trials, but it is also critical to removing barriers, improving patient access, and is a key economic driver.”

Clinical trials aim to find out if promising approaches to disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment work in humans, outside of a laboratory setting. A trial’s methodology, as well as the competency and efficiency of the many people involved in it at different stages, are key to its success.

This initiative will harmonize, enhance, innovate, and sustain the quality and capacity of clinical trial professionals and coalition partners through an accessible training platform. It will also engage equity and diversity mentors, patient partners, and knowledge mobilizers to enhance the ability to break down barriers to build a larger, more diverse workforce critical to high quality and efficient clinical trial research.

CANTRAIN, the nine-province consortium, led by the Research Institute at McGill University Health Centre (RIMUHC), in partnership with ACTN and SickKids in Toronto, will cater to different learner profiles to enable all stakeholders—physicians, research professionals, health professionals, postgraduate students in health sciences, patients, and community partners—to exchange, participate and work together toward operating/implementing large decentralized clinical trials and fill the gap that presently exists across public institutions, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology industries.

Announced in June 2022, ACTN leadership immediately sought out this opportunity to collaborate with other like-minded institutions and networks from across Canada. This is a significant early win for ACTN, as without initiatives like CANTRAIN that will retain and attract clinical trial specialists, growing clinical opportunities for the region’s population would be a challenge.

For the ACTN, the collaboration with RIMUHC, SickKids, and other partners from across Canada is critical to the network’s growth and success, and will open the door to future opportunities.

For more information about CANTRAIN, please visit: and for more information on the funding announcement visit

Additional quotes:

“In order to proactively and efficiently lead impactful RCTs, we need highly qualified personnel trained to improve the design and execution of clinical trials. Our goal with CANTRAIN is to bring modernization with inclusion of equity, diversity and inclusion, to harmonize and enhance training. accompanied by mentorship with experiential learning and internship in a real-world environment in the public and private sectors for postgraduate students in health sciences, clinical research professionals, trialists and coalition partners through an accessible and innovative platform with certification/accreditation to promote both adherence to minimum standard and continuous improvement.”
- Dr. Jean Bourbeau, CANTRAIN lead, Research Institute at McGill University Health Centre

"Clinical trials are an important part of finding new treatments and cures for patients. We’re pleased to support opportunities that help to recruit and retain clinical trial professionals to our region by increasing training and mentorship opportunities that will grow clinical trial efforts in Atlantic Canada."
- The Hon. Michelle Thompson, Minister for Health and Wellness in Nova Scotia.

“Prince Edward Island is proud to be a part of the Atlantic Clinical Trial Network (ACTN) and support research of potentially life changing and lifesaving medical treatments that Islanders and people around the world can benefit from. Having access to innovative training platforms to support clinical trial research like CANTRAIN is a huge opportunity to establish and grow this highly specialized field right here in our region.”
- The Hon. Ernie Hudson, Minister for Health and Wellness in Prince Edward Island

“This funding is welcome news as it will enhance and increase capacity for clinical trials across the province. Newfoundland and Labrador currently has a robust clinical trial program that has many benefits for the residents of our province. Being a partner of the Atlantic Clinical Trials Network provides us with greater opportunities to increase access to new treatments for our residents.”
- The Hon. Tom Osborne, Minister for Health and Community Services in Newfoundland and Labrador

“This investment is an important development for health research and innovation not only in New Brunswick, but all of Atlantic Canada. Clinical trials benefit the lives of patients, strengthen our health care system, and help attract and retain medical specialists and researchers in our region. New Brunswick is a proud member of the Atlantic Clinical Trials Network and supports fostering training and development opportunities for clinical trial professionals.”
- The Hon. Bruce Fitch, Minister of Health for New Brunswick