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NSERC’s Discovery Grants Program gives a boost to early-career researchers

Earlier this month, NSERC announced more than $558 million in awards for nearly 4,300 researchers and students, the largest investment in research from the agency this year and a $44 million increase over 2017. R$ spoke to Pierre Charest, Vice-President, Research Grants and Scholarships Directorate, about how the new funding was spent and what to expect in the years ahead.

Latest Issue:

Number 10

Volume 32 October 17 2018

Editorial

RESEARCH MONEY has made some exciting editorial changes to better serve our readers. In addition to a new managing editor, we now have three senior correspondents in different regions of the country.

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Entrepreneurship is thriving on university campuses: Report

Canadian universities are taking diverse approaches to equip students with entrepreneurial skills and foster a start-up culture on campuses.

That is the conclusion of a new report released this week by Mitacs, a national not-for-profit organization that provides research and training programs to support innovation. Titled Entrepreneurs on Campus: University-based support for start-ups, the report provides an overview of the diverse approaches universities are taking to prepare students for a rapidly changing workforce—as entrepreneurs or as employees.

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Economic Strategy Tables set the bar for achieving global competitiveness in six key sectors

The federally appointed Economic Strategy Tables (EST) have delivered their final report, which recommends a network of sector-specific Canadian Technology Adoption Centres. The collective report by all six tables contains “six signature initiatives” with the economic potential to add $318 billion or 15% to the GDP by 2030 compared to 2017 levels, and boost median household income by $13,000.

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Opinion Leader:
Kelly Nolan

How Technical Conferences Are Contributing to the Talent Inclusion Crisis

International science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) conferences are massive annual events that exert huge influence on their sectors. Yet, they are often missing the opportunity to directly address the culture and talent crisis in their fields.

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Protein Industries Canada Supercluster targets billions in GDP growth

Canada’s GDP will grow by billions of dollars if an industry-led supercluster can boost production and exports of innovative plant protein products, says the chair of the initiative. But capturing a substantial share of the $13-billion global market for plant-based proteins will require a lot of collaboration.

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News Bites

News Briefs

New research network at Queen’s University addresses growing prevalence of Lyme disease in Canada

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Government of Canada are investing $4 million in a new research network focused on the prevention, control, diagnosis, and treatment of Lyme disease. Operated by Queen’s University, the Pan-Canadian Research Network on Lyme Disease aims to influence health outcomes, practice, programs and policy related to Lyme disease, whose prevalence in Canada is increasing due to climate change. Lyme disease is spread by black-legged ticks, which travel north with warmer temperatures. The disease’s symptoms are notoriously variable, making it difficult to identify and treat. CIHR’s investment in the network is coordinated with the Public Health Agency of Canada and forms part of the federal government’s support of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. Queen’s University Professor of Emergency and Family Medicine Kieran Moore will lead the network.

Toronto's Creative Destruction Lab receives $25 million through the Strategic Innovation Fund

The Government of Canada is investing $25 million in the University of Toronto’s Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), a non-profit project to pair science-based startups with business expertise. The investment comes through the Strategic Innovation Fund, a $1.26 billion federal program to spur innovation in Canada’s industrial and technological sectors, with a focus on large projects that request more than $10 million in contribution. With this investment, CDL will launch a research project using AI tools to help startups that employ emerging technologies. CDL says it “will create and maintain 125 jobs, attract more investments in Canadian businesses, and see more intellectual property developed and retained in Canada.” Through this project, CDL anticipates helping more than 1,300 science-based ventures and estimates that its growing network of companies could create up to 22,000 new jobs.

Fanshawe College opens new advanced research centre in biotechnology

Fanshawe College in London, Ontario, opened its new Centre for Advanced Research and Innovation in Biotechnology (CARIB) on Friday, Oct. 12. The centre comprises more than 13,000 square feet of teaching laboratories for biology, chemistry, instrumentation and physics, as well as an incubator and industry research space with access to a cell culturing facility. Student and faculty research teams will be able to collaborate with local biotechnology partners in the agri-food industry. The centre was built with federal funding of $4 million through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, a $2 billion fund from Budget 2016 that aimed to “enhance and modernize research and commercialization facilities” at colleges and universities across the country. The Government of Ontario contributed $2.2 million for the centre, while Fanshawe provided the remaining $2.8 million for the cost of the project.

Canada’s first virtual reality optometry lab opens in Waterloo

Students at the Univ of Waterloo’s School of Optometry and Vision Science are learning how to diagnose vision problems and eye diseases more quickly and accurately in a new virtual reality (VR) training lab. Known as the FYidoctors Simulation Lab, it represents the state-of-the-art in optometric education and is a first in Canada. The total cost of the facility was $1.5 million, of which $800,000 was donated by FYidoctors, a national chain of eye-care clinics that was founded 10 years ago by a group of Waterloo optometry graduates. The lab is equipped with VR headsets that simulate a healthy human eye as well as various eye and vision conditions, including macular degeneration and diabetes. In a second phase, the lab will add simulators that will help students develop more complex clinical skills.

Bioindustrial Innovation Canada partners with Italian "Green Chemistry" cluster

Bioindustrial Innovation Canada (BIC) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Italian Technology Cluster of “Green Chemistry” (SPRING), a non-profit association whose members operate in Italy’s bioeconomy sector. The partnership will promote collaborations to research and develop high-tech projects, including technologies that convert biomass and raw materials into bio-based products. Other areas of focus include establishing business relations between their networks and developing technologies that convert sustainable feedstocks into energy and value-added chemicals. The memorandum of understanding leverages free trade agreements with Europe, particularly the Canada–European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), says A.J. (Sandy) Marshall, Executive Director of BIC.

Fed-Dev Ontario Announces Funding for Ontario Angel Networks

The federal government is providing new funding for angel investments in Ontario. Mary Ng, Federal Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, made the official announcement on September 26 as she was participating in a panel discussion on angel investments at the National Angel Capital Organization’s World Angel Investment Summit. Up to $1.5 million will be made available through FedDev Ontario’s Investing in Business Innovation program. The funds are intended to help grow Ontario’s angel networks. Recipients include the Windsor Essex Angel Network, the National Angel Capital Organization, the GreenSky President’s Club, Angel Investors Ontario, the Spark Angel Network and SOAN – Southeastern Ontario Angel Network.

People

John Ruffolo

Venture capital investor John Ruffolo is leaving OMERS Ventures, a fund he founded in 2011 as an arm of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System pension plan. During his tenure as CEO, Ruffolo led the fund to invest in several of Canada’s most successful tech startups in recent years, including Hootsuite and Shopify, and grew the fund’s portfolio to $800 million, making returns that have exceeded performance benchmarks. In his role, Ruffolo convinced other financial institutions to commit money to the fund, among them Bank of Montreal and Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada. Ruffolo is a co-founder of the Council of Canadian Innovators, along with Jim Balsillie, former Chairman and CEO of Research in Motion. Ruffolo will be replaced by Damian Steel, a managing partner at OMERS Ventures responsible for leading investments in the Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) sectors, who has stated that the fund will remain committed to venture capital. Ruffolo will remain at OMERS Ventures until the end of the year, serving in an advisory role.

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