Members of the Ottawa health-care community joined researchers, educators, community leaders and investors May 9 to break ground on the Advanced Medical Research Centre (AMRC), the University of Ottawa’s (uOttawa) new initiative to grow the medical biotechnology sector in the Ottawa region.

Scheduled to open in 2026, the ARMC is uOttawa’s largest capital investment in its history. It will bridge the gap between the discovery and commercialization of health-care treatments, providing 350,000 square feet of ultra-modern laboratory and research space.

“Building quality health care for tomorrow depends on how we, as a society, invest in health research today,” said uOttawa President Jacques Frémont. For years, researchers, innovators and health-care leaders have noted how a shortage of up-to-date research and wet-lab facilities has limited this region’s potential to be a leader in health-care innovation and biotech commercialization. This has impeded, not only health-related research and development, but our ability to attract and retain top global talent in health-care innovation.”

Adjacent to the Faculty of Medicine, and in close proximity to the Ottawa Hospital General Campus and CHEO, the AMRC will house laboratories, technology platforms and other essential infrastructure to support the region’s rapidly expanding research initiatives. One key feature will be the Ottawa Health Innovation Hub, where researchers will team up with clinicians and investors to incubate and scale up startups to accelerate the commercialization of novel treatments. 

“As a result of what will soon take place at the AMRC, many people in Ottawa, in Canada, and across the world will be far better off,” said Dr. Bernard Jasmin, dean of medicine at uOttawa. “And our guiding star will always be improving care outcomes for patients.”

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“(The AMRC) will allow us to accelerate the pace of our discoveries and train more scientists for the future,” added Dr. Julie St-Pierre, professor at the Faculty of Medicine and associate vice-president, research support and infrastructure, at uOttawa. “It will permit basic discoveries to move quickly through the research and innovation pipeline so that we can maximize the impact of our work for the community.”

WSP in Canada secured a contract to provide engineering services for the AMRC. The Centre, a Design-Build being constructed by PCL, is targeting LEED Gold certification.

“The uOttawa Advanced Medical Research Centre represents an opportunity to showcase our technical expertise in support of the development of world-class health care facilities in Canada. Working alongside our project partners from PCL, we’re excited to create this innovative new facility for the Canadian research community,” said Francois Lemay, executive vice president, Property and Buildings, WSP in Canada.

(uOttawa)

WSP in Canada will be providing a number of services for the project, engaging with team members from the National Capital Region across multiple sectors. Expertise provided will include: mechanical and electrical engineering, energy modeling, sustainability and LEED services, building science services, landscape architecture, acoustics, and municipal planning.

The Advanced Medical Research Centre is the second building that WSP in Canada is working with PCL to develop at the University of Ottawa. The two recently worked together on the University’s new Faculty of Health Sciences building, completed in September 2023, which provides more than 250,000 sq. ft. of learning, meeting, research, and presentation spaces that will allow students, researchers, and faculty to excel in a welcoming, collaborative environment.

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“Having the opportunity to create another world-class academic and research space for the University of Ottawa is exciting for our team in the National Capital Region,” said Ammar Salameh, vice president, Mechanical and Electrical, for WSP in Canada. “We thank both the University and PCL for again trusting our expertise to deliver this Innovative new health care facility.”

Featured image: (L to R) MPP Karen McCrimmon, MP David McGuinty, MP Mona Fortier, Mayor Mark Sutcliffe, Dr. Julie St-Pierre, Dean Bernard Jasmin, Chancellor Claudette Commanda, VP Sylvain Charbonneau, TOH President and CEO Cameron Love, President Jacques Frémont. (UOttawa)

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