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Number 7

Volume 32 July 18 2018

Editorial

Cogent, timely science advice is a hallmark of advanced, knowledge-based nations but as recent Canadian events have demonstrated, that capacity can often be weakened or even taken away as political winds shift and governments change.

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Innovation Conversations: Q&A with Nobina Robinson

Nobina Robinson retires from her position of Chief Executive Officer at Polytechnics Canada this month after nine years in that role. In those years, Robinson has been recognized by her colleagues for bringing attention to the important role polytechnics and colleges play in Canada’s innovation ecosystem, particularly applied research and commercialization. She shares her thoughts with RE$EARCH MONEY about the legacy she leaves behind and what’s next for the sector.

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CAPI report fleshes out targets and actions required to make Canada a globally competitive agriculture and agri-food superpower

Last year’s Barton panel report on the agri-food sector continues to resonate with additional consultation and analysis of its recommended policies and actions aimed at sustainably boosting exports to $75 billion by 2025.

The Canadian Agri-food Policy Institute (CAPI) launched a series of workshops to determine what specific actions are required to achieve the sector’s export objectives with a subsequent report – Barton Forward: Optimizing Growth in the Canadian Agri-Food Sector – posing and answering four key questions:

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Innovation Conversations: Q&A with CDRD president and CEO Gordon C. McCauley

Vancouver-based Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) is an 11-year-old organization that helps “bridge” scientific discoveries and commercialization in the life sciences sector. RE$EARCH MONEY spoke to CDRD president and CEO Gordon C. McCauley about how it is helping companies scale up and its strategy for attracting capital in a sector that is growing exponentially but is perceived to be risky.

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Opinion Leader:
David Crane

Private sector attention is shifting towards value of supporting scale-ups

It has taken a long time, and not all the needed pieces are yet in place, but the innovation debate is now paying much more attention to how we grow companies and scale them up to be global competitors, and not simply on how we start them.

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TRIUMF business arm looking into broader industry collaborations

Can science and business fruitfully cohabitate? It’s possible. And it’s happening in a Vancouver university campus where physicists can be found hard at work on their cyclotron particle accelerator in one room while industry people are in another room testing for radiation particles. These are common-day activities in TRIUMF, one of Canada’s large-scale research facilities, which is home to hundreds of researchers from academia, other research institutes and industry from across Canada and around the world.

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News Bites

News Briefs

Beef council gets funds to sustain production

The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) will receive investments of up to $21.6 million to enhance the sustainability of Canadian beef and forage production, increase beef exports and ensure continuous global supply of Canadian beef. Of this amount, $14 million will come from the federal government’s Canadian Agricultural Partnership, AgriScience Clusters program and the balance of $7.6 million will be shouldered by BCRC. The amount will be used to fund the Sustainable Beef and Forage Science Cluster. The BCRC is a division of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA). Previously, the Beef cluster received funding under two earlier policy arrangements that included research on genetics, feed efficiency, and forages and animal health. These two initial frameworks have been credited for helping create a more competitive yet consistently profitable beef sector. The sector contributed $9 billion in farm cash receipts in 2017. Beef and cattle exports reached almost $2.41 billion in the same year. In terms of headcount, 11.52 million cattle and calves on roughly 74,000 farms and ranches in Canada were recorded in 2017.

Egg farmers get federal funds for imaging technology

The Egg Farmers of Ontario will receive $844,000 for a project that can help find ways to cut production wastage and address animal welfare issues. Supported by the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP), the first-of-a-kind research project is expected to encourage the adoption of imaging technology that enables eggs to be scanned non-invasively to identify gender and determine fertility soon after they are laid. The technology is touted to increase the output and efficiencies of hatcheries while promoting humane approaches in egg farming. In the long-run, project proponents envision tapping new technology and processes that will have multiplier effects on the entire egg supply chain at the domestic and global levels. The critical role of the Canadian egg industry could be inferred from its $1 billion annual contribution to the economy and its employment of 17,000 workers. CAAP is a federal funding initiative to help farmers remain competitive with pilot projects that address industry challenges.

Feds support Quebec fund, local enterprise under CED

The federal government has announced $1.4 million in financial assistance to Les Cuisines Gaspésiennes Ltd and the Fonds d’innovation et de développement économique local de La Matanie (FIDEL) to help the Quebec regional economy remain competitive. Les Cuisines Gaspésiennes of Matane, QC will receive $1.2 million in repayable contributions to upgrade its production capacity through automation and computerization. FIDEL, an industry fund for local entrepreneurs, is getting $200,000 in a non-repayable contribution to be able to conduct a feasibility study for the implementation of a gas pipeline network in Matane’s industrial park. The assistance is made possible through Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED).

Bombardier commits $6M to fund R&D hub and heritage site

Montreal’s Bombardier has committed several million dollars for an aerospace R&D hub in the GTA, which brings together academia and industry with support from the three levels of government. The multi-year funds are earmarked not only for R&D in the aerospace hub but are also intended to support the operations of the Downsview Aerospace Innovation and Research Consortium (DAIR) and preserve the aerospace heritage on the site. An initial investment of $1.5 million for five years has been set to fund the Aeromaterials Research Centre to be established at the DAIR Innovation Centre. Another $1 million over five years starting 2019 will help create the two Aerospace Research Centres at Ryerson Univ and the Univ of Toronto. Centennial College will also benefit from this support through its Landing Gear Research project and its training program for the next three years in the college’s Downsview campus. Then, there is $900,000 over the next three years to support the operations of the DAIR Innovation Centre. As part of this commitment and as a founding member of the DAIR consortium, Bombardier will also be actively involved in the board of directors. As its contribution to preserve the site for its historical importance to the development of the aerospace industry, the manufacturer has committed $2.5 million to refurbish the “Moth Building,” which will be the cornerstone of the DAIR Innovation Centre.

People

Dominic Barton

The Univ of Waterloo has appointed international business adviser Dominic Barton as its 11th chancellor. He will succeed Tom Jenkins, a noted technology executive who served as chancellor from 2015. Barton steps down on July 1 as global managing partner of McKinsey & Company after completing three terms of three years. Barton is chair of the the federal government’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth, which has submitted three sets of reports to help guide the government on several focus areas of growth, namely:  capital investment and infrastructure; innovation; talent and labour markets; and competitive markets. As chancellor, Barton is the ceremonial head of the university, attending events such as convocation ceremonies, and its leading ambassador. He received a BA Honours in economics from the University of British Columbia and later studied at Brasenose College at the Univ of Oxford as a Rhodes scholar.

Dr Michael J. Strong

Dr Michael J. Strong has been appointed the new president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) effective October 1. The appointment concludes a period of nearly one and a half years since the departure of Dr Alain Beaudet, during which time the granting council has headed by Dr Roderick McInnes. McInnes has been serving in an acting capacity and will stay on until the end of June. He will then be replaced by Michel Perron, executive VP of CIHR who will serve until the fall and Strong’s arrival. Strong is internationally recognized for his work in the neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Since 2010, Strong has been dean of Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and holds the Arthur J. Hudson Chair in ALS Research. In 2009, he was awarded the status of Distinguished University Professor. His research focuses on understanding the cellular biology of ALS.

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