The design for SickKids Centre for Research and Learning includes open and naturally lit spaces to encourage scientists to collaborate with each other.

SickKids ranked second best research hospital in Canada

The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) was recently ranked the second best research hospital in Canada for the year 2012 by RE$EARCH Infosource Inc.

Nour Qa’aty, 24, wanted to work at the Toronto hospital ever since she knew she wanted to get involved with medical research.

“SickKids is pretty well known,” Qa’aty said. “They have a lot of initiatives that connects them with the wider public.”

She was thrilled when she was selected to work in a cardiovascular research lab at the hospital earlier this year.

“From the beginning of my search I knew I wanted to be here,” she said. “I was lucky enough and ended up here somehow.”

For Qa’aty, SickKids was an easy choice.

“The way SickKids presents itself and its mission is encouraging,” Qa’aty said. “If you knew you were doing something that may help a sick child, you’d do it in a heartbeat.”

Associate chief of research for science strategy, Dr. Michael Salter, has been with SickKids for the past 22 years.

“I guess I’m a lifer,” Dr. Salter said with a laugh.

For him, one of the greatest advantages of working at SickKids is the network of hospitals in downtown Toronto.

“The Toronto environment is a wonderful collaborative academic research environment,” he said.

“I think it’s certainly one of the best places to work, not only because there’s great science, but because within this group of hospitals is the great collegiality and support we have for one another.”

He said it makes doing research a lot more fun.

“People really see the commonality of spirit here,” Dr. Salter said. “When I travel around the world, I don’t see it in many other places.”

He said he was not surprised to see SickKids near the top of the list of research hospitals, mostly because of the large number of world-class researchers recruited to work there.

The hospital is currently in the process of building a new research tower: the Centre for Research and Learning.

It’s main purpose is to bring together hospital researchers in to one central location.

“It’s one of the biggest things happening at SickKids,” Dr. Salter said. “It’s in the final stages of construction. We anticipate moving in some time over next summer.”