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Canada takes note as Europe moves swiftly on open-access publishing

An international consortium of research funders is moving rapidly to transform academic publishing. Known as Coalition S, the group has approved a plan that requires full and immediate open access to research funded by national and European research councils and funding bodies, beginning January 1, 2020. Canada is not part of the consortium, but it could feel the impact.

Latest Issue:

Number 11

Volume 32 November 21 2018

Editorial

The importance of evidence-based decision-making has become a mantra among those in the research and innovation community who wish to influence public policy. But science and policy don’t always make easy companions.

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Opinion Leader:
Gordon Harling

National Facilities and Platforms: A Smart Way to Fund Research Infrastructure

The Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) funding support for research infrastructure is vital for universities and colleges in Canada. Canada’s Federal Budget 2018 included an increase and long-term stability in funding for CFI — a smart move. How might this new CFI funding be used to address current program challenges?

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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.

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News Bites

News Briefs

CFI's Research Facilities Navigator adds major equipment in federal labs to its inventory

Speaking on Friday, November 9 at the 2018 Canadian Science Policy Conference in Ottawa, Chief Science Advisor Dr. Mona Nemer announced that all major equipment in federal labs will become part of the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s Research Facilities Navigator inventory, which previously only included infrastructure in academic settings like universities, teaching hospitals and colleges. With this change, any qualified person will be able to identify “what infrastructure we have in Canada, exactly where it is, and if it will be accessible to everyone,” said Dr. Nemer. The move promises to improve communication between intramural and extramural science, and to ensure more efficient use of the facilities. Dr. Nemer affirmed that the change highlights “how serious the federal leadership in science is about collaboration and working with the post-secondary institutions and the private sector.” The announcement was made at the opening of a panel discussion titled “Science and the next generation: partnerships and collaborative infrastructure as enablers.”

Feds announce new innovation and growth strategy for Quebec

The Canadian government has introduced a Federal Strategy on Innovation and Growth for the Quebec Regions. The new plan aims to support region-specific initiatives that will foster innovation, entrepreneurial activity and the creation of well-paying jobs. Piloted by Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED), the strategy focuses on four priorities: innovation and clean tech; growth and exports; entrepreneurial talent; and growth for everyone in all regions, including rural and remote areas. The four major priorities as well as fourteen related action points were validated by a hundred Quebec economic development experts, who participated in interregional roundtables last spring. The announcement also named eight initial projects that will be supported through the strategy, including StartAéro 360°, a guidance program for SMEs in the aerospace and related sectors, which will receive $2.98 million over three years. Other projects include the creation of an office for the development of growing businesses and a contest for young scholars in emerging sectors.

TRIUMF to build new Institute for Advanced Medical Isotopes (IAMI)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced last week federal investments for TRIUMF, Canada’s particle accelerator centre, to create a new life sciences facility called the Institute for Advanced Medical Isotopes (IAMI). Of the total $31.8 million required for construction, Ottawa will provide $10.2 million, British Columbia $12.2, TRIUMF $5.4 million, and the BC Cancer Foundation and UBC $2 million each. Situated on TRIUMF’s campus, IAMI will advance research into life-saving medical isotopes and radiopharmaceuticals. The facility will include labs and a TR-24 medical cyclotron, one of the most technologically advanced commercial cyclotrons in the world. Among its many offerings, IAMI will provide a secure supply of important medical isotopes, contribute to next-generation cancer therapies, and accelerate global drug development by producing sought-after isotope-based radiotracers for gauging drug efficacy.

Alberta offers new incentives to cut industrial methane emissions

The Alberta government’s new Methane Emissions Reduction Program will provide small and medium-sized oil and gas companies with incentives of up to $250,000 per year, per facility for energy-efficiency upgrades to reduce global-warming methane emissions. Administered by Energy Efficiency Alberta, the program is designed for facilities in Alberta that don’t exceed more than 40,000 barrels of oil per day. In the separate Methane Challenge initiative, Emissions Reduction Alberta has invested $40 million in 12 separate R&D projects that are expected to reduce methane emissions by 6.9 megatonnes by 2030, bring $60 million of investment to Alberta and support 60 jobs. The Alberta Energy Regulator is finalizing new methane standards for the oil and gas industry, the province’s largest source of methane emissions. In 2014, the industry accounted for 70% of provincial methane emissions, or 31.3 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents. Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan includes reducing methane emissions by 45% by 2025.

New SIF funding for steel producer ArcelorMittal to support 6,400 Canadian jobs

In response to American tariffs on Canadian steel, economic development minister Navdeep Bains announced a $49.9 million Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) investment to support an undertaking by steel company ArcelorMittal to modernize its facilities. The $205 million project aims to improve efficiency, sustainability, and productivity across its operations. With this investment, ArcelorMittal expects to reduce fuel consumption and lower greenhouse gas emissions by up to 100,000 tonnes per year. The funding will support 4,700 jobs at its facilities in Hamilton, Ontario, where ArcelorMittal is the city’s largest private sector employer, as well as 1,700 jobs in Contrecœur, Quebec.

Over half of Canadian assets under management use responsible investment criteria: report

A new report by the Responsible Investment Association (RIA) reveals that Canadians increasingly favour investments that incorporate environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) criteria. The 2018 Canadian Responsible Investment Trends Report shows that responsible investment (RI) has increased by 41.6% since 2015, accounting for just over half of Canadian assets under management. Responsible investments reached $2.13 trillion as at December 31st, 2017, up from $1.51 trillion two years previously. Survey respondents anticipate moderate to high growth in responsible investing over the next two years.

exactEarth secures $7.2 million SIF funding

The Cambridge, Ontario-based company exactEarth Ltd. received $7.2 million in federal investment through the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF). exactEarth uses satellite technology to track ships at sea and to optimize routing for the global shipping industry. The funding will support exactEarth to invest more in R&D and to develop intellectual property that’s made and retained in Canada, as well as to continue collaborating with universities and research institutions in the Marine Environmental Observation, Prediction and Response Network (MEOPAR), a federally-funded Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE). With the help of this investment, exactEarth anticipates creating 67 jobs and plans to become a leader in real-time satellite Automatic Identification System (AIS) services.

People

Guy Levesque

The University of Ottawa’s Administration Committee has announced the appointment of Guy Levesque as Associate Vice-President, Research Support and Infrastructure, beginning November 19. Mr. Levesque currently serves as Vice-President, Programs and Performance at the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), where he previously held the position of Director of Programs from 2010 to 2015. He has worked as a strategic advisor in academia and also held management roles for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

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