The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) recently awarded over $500,000 to fund the Mental Health and Physical Activity Research Centre (MPARC) — a new exercise space in the Athletic Center (AC) at U of T. The purpose of this planned development is to provide a space specifically for those among populations at risk of mental health issues related to inactivity, including recent cancer survivors and mental health service users.

The three researchers who received grant money are Guy Faulkner (lead researcher), Catherine Sabiston, and Kelly Arbor–Nicitopoulos, who submitted a grant to the Leaders Opportunity Fund, a subsidiary of the CFI. The Leaders Opportunity Fund is a research fund that offers to provide infrastructure and grants to undertake new research at various institutions.  The grant money will be used to renovate 2,700 square feet of existing space in the AC. In addition, the grant money will be used to make use of its existing infrastructure to provide its participants with exercise areas specifically allotted for data analysis, interviews, and group focus discussion, as well as user-friendly and supervised exercise programs. The space will also make use of its recently acquired “Curves” machine and other new equipment in order to better provide care and treatment to its users.

Faulkner was thrilled with the funding, stating that “this funding will allow us to conduct more rigorous intervention and experimental research in the area of physical activity and mental health” as well as to “strengthen our Faculty’s partnerships with key Toronto collaborators including the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and Princess Margaret Hospital, and the potential to contribute to large-scale, international studies and attract top graduate students and researchers to the university.”