Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced on Friday his government will contribute $30 million over five years to a national network that will focus on spinal cord injury research and rehabilitation.

Harpermade the announcement at the Ottawa Hospital Rehabilitation Centre, where he was joined byspinal cord research advocateRick Hansen.

Most of thegovernment'sfunding willgo to the Hansen Foundation'sSpinalCord Injury Translational Research Network— a group of Canadian researchers who help accelerate practical applications of research discoveries regarding spinal injuries.

"As the ultimate goal is to see people walking again, the majority of the funds I'm announcing today will be used to explore ways to reduce permanent paralysis," Harper said.

Harper saidmore support willalso go to those currently living with spinal cord injuries to help them with issues like mobility and independence.

Hesaid thatthe new initiative will benefit all Canadians, not just those living in large centres.

Hansen, who was paralyzed from the waist down at the age of 15 following a car crash, is best known for his Man in Motion fundraising world tour. The trek spanned more than 40,000 kilometres, raising millions of dollars for those withspinal cord injuries.

In making the announcement, Harper was joined byHealth Minister Tony Clement, andhis parliamentary secretary Steven Fletcher.

Fletcher, the first quadriplegic to be elected to the House of Commons, was paralyzed after hitting a moose in a 1996 car accident.