What is the Precision Health Signature Area?

The Precision Health signature area (PHSA) is a strategic initiative intended to strengthen the University’s capacity to apply an end-to-end foundation for Precision Health to research and education across various activities.

PHSA seeks to develop and apply new PH knowledge from the earliest discoveries, through to their translation into decision aids, diagnostic tools, treatment practices, policies, programs and broad societal impacts.

Our goal is to:

  • Develop new evidence, scientific knowledge and technological tools to make the most of the growing range of data (Big Data) that influences health and health care for individuals and populations
  • Maximize the chances for successful adoption of new products, processes, programs, and policies in health care

Our strategy is to:

  • Better link, coordinate and leverage existing institutional infrastructure, platforms, knowledge and research assets
  • Facilitate partnerships and collaborations
  • Expand training opportunities for students, post-doctoral fellows and established professionals

Areas of Strength and Priority

Through strategic consultation, four research and innovation themes have been identified as areas of priority and excellence for precision health at the U of A:

  • AI Applied to Health: disease management; risk prediction and outcomes research
  • Precision Diagnostics: imaging; biomarkers; genomics/omics/pharmacogenomics; medical devices
  • Precision Therapeutics: drug/vaccine discovery and development; innovative treatments; innovative clinical trials
  • Precision Public Health: social determinants of health; health systems improvement; public health risks
In order to deliver on the PH themes and establish PH as an area of research and teaching excellence at UAlberta, a number of recommendations were developed by various PH Task Force groups, meetings with Department Chairs and Institute Directors, and consultations with UAlberta faculty members, Alberta Health Services (AHS), the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of EDTT, Alberta Innovates, and other stakeholders. They have been compiled in the 'Precision Health Strategy' report, which establishes a PH strategy and an action plan that can be used to implement PH into medical practice in Alberta to further improve health and achieve high quality, cost-effective care. It also offers significant opportunities for the creation of new technologies, processes and programs that may have commercial value.

Read our Precision Health Strategy Report


The PHSA has been provided with operational support to develop and coordinate resources in support of educational and research activities across the university as they relate to Precision Health. It is not a new source of funding to support individual research initiatives. Rather, it provides a mechanism by which to develop relationships within the university environment that strengthen our collective ability to collaborate and attract funding from granting agencies, government stakeholders, industry and philanthropy. If you would like to get involved, talk to us.