SGC Director Aled Edwards: Scientist Turned Social Entrepreneur Elected Senior Ashoka Fellow

TORONTO, ON (December 9, 2014) — Dr. Aled Edwards, co-founder and CEO of Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC), has been elected a Senior Ashoka Fellow.  The announcement was made by Ashoka Canada, which is part of a global network striving to shape a world that responds quickly and effectively to social challenges.

Ashoka Fellows are recognised social entrepreneurs whose work is celebrated and supported by Ashoka. The designation of Senior Ashoka Fellow recognizes social entrepreneurs who have demonstrated significant impact at an international or continental scale within their respective sector.

Edwards was chosen for his commitment to discovering new medicines through open-source research. He is transforming the traditional public-private partnership models to create an ecosystem of shared research and therapeutic drug development. The SGC, which was established by Edwards in 2004, has assembled a global network of researchers, academics, pharmaceutical companies and governmental agencies in an alliance that efficiently distributes resources and knowledge for faster and cheaper drug discovery. It’s a process that puts patients first. The SGC’s network now consists of nine collaborating international pharmaceutical partners, dozens of smaller companies, more than 250 academic labs from around the world and 200 individual scientists at the SGC labs in Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom and Sweden.  

“The stream of remarkable discoveries made over the last decade by friends and colleagues in the SGC consortium — and their willingness to put their ground-breaking discoveries into the public domain without restriction — has advanced science and improved humanity. We are delivering on our promise of improving health through collaboration and ingenuity and I am so thrilled that Ashoka has recognized this systems changing contribution to science and drug discovery” said Edwards.

The SGC, which is housed at the University of Oxford and the University of Toronto, has been supported by public sector sources, philanthropy and pharmaceutical companies. “The partnerships we have developed are critical to our success. Without them, we simply couldn’t have achieved what we have to date,” said Edwards. “Particular thanks are owed to one our longest supporters, the Government of Ontario. For more than 15 years, through a variety of programs, Ontario has supported our vision for open research and discovery to improve human health.”

“I am pleased to congratulate Dr. Aled Edwards on being named a Senior Ashoka Fellow. By combining principles of social innovation with ground-breaking scientific research, Dr. Edwards and the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) are paving the way to a new era of scientific discovery, one where new drug therapies can treat more conditions, and be developed faster and at a lower cost. Their work gives new hope to patients along the health care continuum, and serves as an important reminder as to why public support for research and innovation is of such importance. For more than a decade, Ontario has been proud to support this intensively collaborative research. Thank you to Ashoka Canada for recognizing Dr. Edwards’ global leadership and the incredible people involved in the SGC.” Said Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario.

 "Ontario is proud to support the work of Dr. Edwards and the Structural Genomics Consortium", said Reza Moridi, Minister of Research and Innovation. "Dr. Edwards' collaborative and patient-centred approach to the discovery of new medicines and commitment to ensuring they are accessible to people worldwide embodies the best of Ontario's research excellence and its open and generous spirit of innovation."

“We are so excited for the addition of Aled Edwards to the Ashoka Fellowship. Driven by a mission to accelerate the discovery of therapeutic cures for the world’s most pressing illnesses, Edwards is the quintessential representation of a social entrepreneur creating new realities for this generation and generations to come. This work adds breadth and depth to Ashoka’s collective impact and is ensuring that we will see cures to known illnesses in our lifetime,” said Elisha Muskat, Executive Director of Ashoka Canada

Aled’s appointment marks the 15th Senior Ashoka Fellow election in Canada, adding to an extraordinary Canadian cohort of visionaries who are setting the standard for global social change.


For more information, please contact:

Yeleka Barrett
Venture Representative
Ashoka Canada
Tel: (+1) 416-646-2333

Liam Mitchell
Associate Director, Communications
Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
Tel: (+1) 416-978-4672

About Ashoka

Ashoka’s value lies in our robust selection process and our life-long commitment to our community of changemakers. Since its founding in 1981 by Bill Drayton, Ashoka has elected and supported more than 3,000 Fellows from 72 countries.  In Canada, 55 social innovators have been appointed to this life-long Fellowship.  In addition to modest financial support to Fellows who qualify, Ashoka provides national and international pro-bono professional services to support the scale and expansion of Fellows’ work.  Some of our national and international pro-bono partners include:  H+K Strategies, McKinsey & Company, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, Egon Zenhder International and Boehringer Ingelheim.  In Canada, visionary partners include J. Armand Bomardier Foundation, RBC Foundation and The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation.

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About the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC)

The SGC accelerates research in new areas of human biology and drug discovery by making all its research output available to the scientific community with no strings attached, and by creating an open collaborative network of scientists in hundreds of universities around the world and in nine global pharmaceutical companies.  SGC is funded by Abbvie, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Canada Foundation for Innovation, Eli Lilly Canada, Genome Canada, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen, Novartis, Ontario Ministry of Research & Innovation, Pfizer, Takeda, and the Wellcome Trust.

For More Information about Aled Edwards and Structural Genomics Consortium, please visit:

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