WNICR: Worldwide Network for Innovation in Clinical Research

The Worldwide Network for Innovation in Cardiovascular Clinical Research (WNICR) was formed in November 2015. The consortium’s goal is to facilitate the conduct of high quality clinical trials and translational research under the guidance and leadership of an international collaborative of world class cardiovascular clinical investigators from member institutions spanning the globe.

The network focuses its research on areas of non-communicable diseases; in particular cardiometabolic disease, which is currently underemphasized by traditional large academic, non-profit and private organizations. These areas include emerging environmental threats, low cost but high impact preventive therapies, and emerging treatment approaches. Through these activities, WNICR’s goal is to perform impactful global trials that promote social change and improve treatment approaches to reduce morbidity and mortality worldwide.


  • WNICR is a people-based consortium comprised of experts from the academic, not-for-profit and private sphere.
  • Any WNICR member can propose investigator- or sponsor-initiated research.
  • WNICR and its partners design frameworks and programs that tap into global talent, ideas, partnerships and funding pools.
  • WNICR coordinates multiple centers around the world and is able to streamline data through a centralized portal to generate high-quality data, efficiently.
  • The combined WNICR network connects to a population base of over a billion people!

Despite advances in research and medicine, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) remain the #1 killer in the world (accounting for nearly 50% of all non-communicable disease deaths), making it a major global health and economic challenge. This remains a complex problem because the cardiovascular system interacts with all of the body’s major systems, hence CVDs arise from multiple factors and do not have a singular cause. WNICR has a comprehensive and integrated program to address the intersecting risks and processes that characterize CVDs.

  • Obesity: It is estimated that over 1.4 billion adults over the age of 20 are overweight. Obesity is a major risk factor for developing diabetes & cardiovascular disease. Almost 90% of people living with Type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese.
  • Diabetes: There are over 400 million people with diabetes worldwide, with numbers estimated to rise to 600 million by 2030. The WHO projects that diabetes will be the 7th leading cause of death in the next 15 years. 70% of diabetics 65 years or older die from some form of heart disease.
  • Cardiovascular Disease: Each year, cardiovascular disease claims 17.5 million lives. Global costs of cardiovascular disease are projected to reach over $1.04 trillion by 2030.


WNICR is an ambitious initiative to connect and coordinate leading cardiologists and cardiovascular scientists on an international level by using the combined resources of its members. It recruits biomedical researchers, clinician scientists, cardiologists, experts in diabetes and cardiometabolic disorders, nutritional scientists and epidemiologists, and provides them with essential infrastructure and resources for conducting successful research. Toronto is home-base for the WNICR administration through the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre (PMCC) Clinical Trials Unit, connecting 7 leading clinical trial hubs of similar size and scope on five continents. Together, WNICR members work to rapidly advance cardiovascular research, and  to share discoveries with other nations and developing countries.

Clinical research is key in producing evidence-based medicine that increases our knowledge of health and disease, improves the quality of our healthcare, and leads to the development of devices and therapies that can directly benefit the patient. WNICR’s program aims to shorten the time from discovery to patient application. To achieve this, our research program  emphasizes innovation and translation – with core “research”, “clinical trials” and “clinical impact” programs that are all supported by a strong “continuing medical education” program for fellows and trainees. In doing so, WNICR and its global partners develop strategies and initiatives to tap into global talent, ideas, partnerships and funding.

WNICR’s executive team is the driving force behind the network’s vision – unifying basic, translational and clinical scientists and representing leadership in all aspects of cardiovascular clinical research. Our executive team provides management and guidance to its 400+ members and sets the strategic direction of its academic programs, international activities and outreach.

  • Executive Director: Dr. Michael Farkouh, Peter Munk Chair in Multinational Clinical Trials at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre; Director of the Heart and Stroke/Richard Lewar Centre of Excellence in Cardiovascular Research; Professor and Vice-Chair, Research, Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto
  • Medical Director: Dr. Verghese Mathew, William B. Knapp, MD, Chair in Cardiology; Director, Division of Cardiology; Professor of Medicine at the Loyola University Medical Center
  • Scientific Director: Dr. Sanjay Rajagopalan, Division Chief, Cardiovascular Medicine, University Hospital Cleveland Medical Center; Clinical Professor, Medicine, CWRU School of Medicine

WNICR’s members come from a variety of organizations that include academic, not for profit, and private institutions that share a common vision and philosophy about conducting impactful cardiovascular research. Membership encompasses: 7 countries; 20 cities; 30 lead investigators; 400+ team members; and 1 billlion+ population base.




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