Dr. Danial Wayner returned to the National Research Council last year to assist in expanding its outward focus and reinforce its quest for continuous research excellence. Here, he talks about his original inspiration as a summer student at NRC in 1979, what it takes to instil a culture of collaboration, and why an atmosphere of excitement has taken hold at the organization.
The Ontario government spends approximately $5 billion a year on business support programs, many of which don’t stand up to cost-benefit analysis, according to Jamison Steeve and Sean Speer in a new paper published by Ontario 360, a public policy research group housed at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.
The Liberal government’s elimination of the Minister of Science from its new Cabinet has set off intense speculation over how — or whether — the party’s public commitments on science, research and innovation will continue into a second term.
Alberta will implement performance-based funding in its post-secondary system next fall, despite decidedly mixed results on whether the strategy improves higher education and research outcomes.
The latest report from The Impact Centre at the University of Toronto, titled The Myth of a Better Mousetrap, offers some striking observations on Canada’s competitive shortcomings and makes several radical suggestions to improve our performance.
A common refrain in Canadian innovation circles holds that Canada “punches above its weight” in research strength. While this is certainly true, we still lag other OECD countries on productivity and innovation. What’s the point of punching above our weight in research if we’re still getting clobbered on commercialization?
National Research Council boosts research excellence and collaboration as part of re-imagining initiative
Now in the last mile of a dramatic renewal process, the NRC’s new structure and direction will amplify its presence as a vibrant component of the national innovation ecosystem.
Scaleup Q&A: SOTI CEO Carl Rodrigues on growing a global tech powerhouse through constant fine-tuning
SOTI is the homegrown tech unicorn that most Canadians haven’t heard of. But other countries are paying attention. CEO Carl Rodrigues explains how he built his scaleup company by always evolving, and why Ottawa needs to catch up with what he and other Canadian scaleups are doing.
Applied Brain Research, a startup based in Waterloo, aims to bring neuromorphic, or brain-inspired, computing to the real world.
The Canadian College Consortium for Cannabis will support Canada’s fast-growing but talent-challenged cannabis industry, through training and collaborative applied research.
A new study showed that women are significantly less likely than men to receive funding from CIHR in some research areas, suggesting funding agencies should monitor success rates by gender and by research content area.
Dramatic pivot to performance-based funding in Ontario will put $2.2 billion at risk for colleges and universities
Aiming to cut red tape and respect taxpayer money, a new plan in Ontario ties 60% of higher-ed funding to “performance indicators” related to student outcomes and economic impact. Critics say the play will compromise the integrity of Ontario’s higher-education system.
The Alberta United Conservative Party government’s first budget will reduce the deficit but slashes support for the tech sector, advanced education, innovation funding and university students
The program supports clean technology projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the industry’s competitiveness.
Memorial University entrepreneurship centre recognized internationally for experiential learning culture
Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship (MCE) at Memorial University in Newfoundland has ranked in the top five emerging entrepreneurship centres in the world, according to the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers (GCEC). Florian Villaumé, the centre’s director, credits community support for experiential learning.
The Ford government in Ontario has let funding lapse for the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing. Founded in 2002 with a record-setting philanthropic donation and support from both the federal and provincial governments, the institute has attracted top talent and is often cited for its leading research. While the federal government recently promised reinvestment of $15 million over three years, industry watchers worry that the lack of provincial support will undermine the institute’s head start in the highly competitive quantum sector. – The Star
1QBit announced that it will open a new office in Sherbroooke with a focus on recruiting Master’s and Ph.D. researchers. Situated near the Institut quantique of Université de Sherbrooke, the new offices give 1QBit a presence in all three major Canadian quantum computing research hubs, including Greater Vancouver and Waterloo. –1QBit
Waterloo-founded and Silicon Valley-based Faire, which operates a wholesale marketplace for independent local retailers, has attained “unicorn” status after a new round of funding raised its valuation to $1 billion. The Series D round was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Founders Fund and brought in $150 million, bringing the company’s total funding raised to date to $266 million. The company is growing fast: launched just two years ago, Faire averaged less than $1 million in sales per month at the beginning of 2018; now it says it has surpassed $1 million in sales per day. – Crunchbase
Concordia University received $10 million from the the Mirella & Lino Saputo Foundation and the Amelia & Lino Saputo Jr. Foundation to create the SHIFT Centre for Social Transformation, a multi-stakeholder collaboration centre focused on developing “sustainable and transformative solutions to complex societal challenges such as environmental degradation, political polarization, wealth inequality and a rapidly changing labour market.” – Financial Post
Six Nations Polytechnic has partnered with IBM Canada to create a tuition-free path to a college diploma in a technology field. Called P-TECH, the program already runs in over 200 schools across 18 countries and aims to help communities that face economic or circumstantial disadvantages. – CBC
Ontario Tech University and Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores) have partnered to explore the potential of high-tech tools to help individuals with dementia remember events, people and places from their past. Research teams from both organizations will work together at a Clinical Demonstration Unit (CDU) at Ontario Shores to implement technology-enabled solutions for dementia care, including conversational robots, virtual reality, and a multi-sensory wellness chair. – Ontario Tech U
The government of Quebec has awarded $10.7 million to create the Centre national intégré du manufacturier intelligent (CNIMI) at the Drummondville campus of l’Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR). The smart manufacturing centre will promote teaching, research and knowledge transfer between researchers and industry. – Université du Québec
Concordia University has partnered with Ericsson and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) to create the first Industrial Research Chair in Software-Defined Networking and Network Functions Virtualization Security. Valued at $1.8 million over five years, the new chair in the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science brings together industry and academia to develop novel processes, techniques and technologies for compliance-driven monitoring, attack prevention, detection and mitigation solutions. – Concordia
BlackBerry and the University of Waterloo have renewed their long standing partnership and announced plans to develop a joint innovation lab with a focus on fast-tracking research and development to get products into the market. The partnership will offer students opportunities to work with BlackBerry’s R&D and business leadership teams, and will also facilitate interactions between senior representatives from BlackBerry’s sales, product, R&D and leadership teams and campus groups like the Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research. – IT World Canada
Janet E. Halliwell has been named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Halliwell currently sits on the board of the Canadian Research Data Centre Network (CRDCN). Halliwell served as executive vice president at the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) from 2000 to 2007, and has chaired the Science Council of Canada and the Nova Scotia Council on Higher Education. – Twitter
Universities Canada has welcomed Mount Saint Vincent University president Mary Bluechardt to its board of directors. Bluechardt will serve on the association’s International Committee. She has been an academic and administrative leader for more than 25 years in the postsecondary sector; she has served as vice-president (Grenfell Campus) at Memorial University of Newfoundland, dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Ontario Tech University, and dean of the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation at Memorial University. – Twitter
CANARIE announced that Dr. Catherine Middleton (who served as Past Chair, Chair and Vice-Chair) and Dr. Jonathan Schaeffer are departing its Board of Directors. Elected to the board in their stead were Dr. Charmaine Dean, Vice-President, Research and International at the University of Waterloo, and Dr. Deb Verhoeven, a Canada 150 Research Chair in Gender and Cultural Informatics at the University of Alberta. Dr. Eddy Campbell has been appointed board chair, and Ms. Sylvie LaPerrière has been appointed vice-chair. – CANARIE
The Short Report, November 13, 2019: Antimicrobial resistance, sustainable investments, customer centricity
The Council of Canadian Academies released a report detailing new data on the potential impact of antimicrobial resistance in Canada. The expert panel found that 26% of infections are resistant to the medicines that are generally first prescribed and that rate could rise to 40% or beyond in the coming decades. By 2050, a total of 396,000 lives could be lost and the Canadian economy could lose $388 billion. “Antimicrobial resistance is a serious threat to millions, and may result in countless deaths globally over the next few decades”, said B. Brett Finlay, chair of the expert panel. – CCA
Concordia University says it will divest its entire endowment, worth about $243 million, from coal, oil and gas by 2025, putting the money into sustainable investments instead. – CBC
The Schulich School of Business at York University announced the creation of its new Centre for Customer Centricity, a hub for the creation, application and dissemination of knowledge related to making organizations customer-centric. – YorkU
Canadian predictive search and personalization company Coveo closed a $227 million round of investment, bringing its valuation to over $1 billion and making it Canada’s first AI unicorn. The round was led by Omers Capital Private Growth Equity Group. Coveo’s customers include Salesforce, Visa, Tableau, and Honeywell and employs around 500 people – TechCrunch
The ALS Society of Canada announced the recipients of the 2019 research funding grants through its ALS Canada Research Program, which will see nearly $1.4 million invested in leading-edge ALS research. More than $850,000 is being invested in ten Project Grants, and $540,000 will go to six Trainee Awards for the next generation of ALS researchers. – ASC
Members of the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) have signed a fintech co-operation agreement with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). The agreement extends the work of the CSA Regulatory Sandbox Initiative and the MAS Fintech and Innovation Group. It includes a referral mechanism for innovative businesses, and will enhance and clearly define information-sharing between these jurisdictions. – Newswire
Memorial University in Newfoundland signed a memorandum of understanding with Nunavut Arctic College (NAC), forming a 10-year partnership between the two institutions, to promote northern research opportunities, build administrative capacity and expand post-secondary programs in Nunavut. – Memorial Gazette
Michael Sabia, currently CEO of pension fund Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), has been named the new director of the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy. Sabia helmed Bell Canada parent BCE Inc from 2002 to 2008; previously, as CFO of Canadian National Railway, he organized the launch of CN as a publicly traded corporation. He serves as co-chair of the G7 Investor Leadership Network on Climate Change, Diversity and Infrastructure Development, as well as co-chair of long-term investment, infrastructure and development for the World Economic Forum. Sabia was hired to run the Caisse de dépôt after the 2008 financial crisis. Under his leadership, the Caisse tripled its assets and built a more global portfolio of investments. Sabia will step down in February, a year ahead of schedule, to take his post at U of T. – U of T News, Financial Post
Genome Canada announced that Dr. Rob Annan has been appointed as the organization’s president and CEO, starting January 1, 2020. Annan joined Genome Canada in 2017 as Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications, and previously spent seven years at Mitacs as Chief Research Officer. “This is an exceptionally exciting time for genomics and related sciences, fast-moving fields that will impact our lives in ways that are staggering to imagine. Genome Canada has an essential role to play in shaping that impact to benefit Canadians’ health, environment and economic well-being,” Annan said in a statement. – Genome Canada