Sarah Gallagher is co-recipient of the Purvis Memorial Award from the Canadian Society of Chemical Industry

Congratulations to Dr. Sarah Gallagher, co-recipient of the Purvis Memorial Award from the Canadian Society of Chemical Industry, along with Dr. Cara Tannenbaum, recognizing their contributions to implementing the CanCOVID network.

Sarah Gallagher is the Science Advisor to the President of the Canadian Space Agency and a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Western University. In March 2020, she applied expertise gained from contributing to large astronomy project teams to determine the technical requirements and set up the collaboration framework for the rapid implementation of CanCOVID. 

Cara Tannenbaum is the Departmental Science Advisor to Health Canada and a Professor in the Faculties of Medicine and Pharmacy at the Université de Montréal. During the first wave of the pandemic, she transformed the idea of Can-COVID into reality, co-founding a virtual real-time collaboration, communication and coordination platform to crowdsource scientists’ knowledge about SARS-Cov-2 into government decision-making.

CanCOVID is a rapid-response network for facilitating the nation's COVID-19 research effort, enabling agile, evidence-based decision-making to help steer Canada safely through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Using CanCOVID, members can collaborate across critical research and development areas, making it easier for researchers who are working on different angles of the same problem to find each other, share what they know, vet research results, and anticipate challenges.

"We need to have people outside healthcare working on this effort. Healthcare professionals and health researchers are at the centre of COVID-19 activity and can't answer all the calls," said Dr. Gallagher. "This has been a team effort, with a core group of people working very hard to make things happen quickly. We went from a recognized need to launching the platform in under two weeks. We came together because something needed to be done, and we got the support from our universities and federal agencies to focus on this effort."

Recipients of the Purvis Memorial Award are individuals who have made a major contribution to the development and implementation of particular and distinctive business or technical strategies, which must have resulted in the strengthening of Canadian industry or academic or research institutions in the field of chemistry. The award will be presented at an online event March 25, 2021.