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Budgetary constraints slowing implementation of federal innovation and skills strategy

With Budget 2017, the Liberal government is kicking major components of its much-vaunted Innovation Agenda down the road as ambitious plans run up against an increasingly constrained fiscal environment. Under the Innovation Agenda – retitled the Innovation and Skills Plan – the launch of many new initiatives are deferred for a year or more while unfettered new support for fundamental science is absent – a development anticipated due to the delay in releasing a government-commissioned report delivered three months ago.

Latest Issue:

Number 3

Volume 31 March 15 2017

Editorial

It’s only one week until we have an opportunity to assess the federal government’s embrace of innovation with the tabling of the Liberal administration’s second Budget. After a decade of optimistic talk combined with benign neglect, Canadian innovators will once again be presented with policies and programs ostensibly aimed at making Canada – and Canadian business – more innovative.

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Opinion Leader:
Mark Walker

The Knowledge Economy Needs to (and Can) Benefit the Whole Country

Canada’s economy is transitioning from a resource economy to a knowledge economy. I have some bad news and some good news. 

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International review panel critical of CIHR management and flatlined funding levels

The Canadian Institute of Health Research’s recent efforts to reform its underfunded grants competition process was a failure. That’s the sobering conclusion from an international review panel tasked with studying and addressing the issue. The International Peer Review Expert Panel Report found that chronic underfunding and CIHR’s attempt to deal with the issue, combined with other problems, created a ‘perfect storm” that led to a crisis in confidence throughout the research community.

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MEOPAR to increase focus on partner needs as part of $28.5 million renewal

The MEOPAR Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE) has been renewed for another five years, including additional funding to implement a research plan that directly responds to the needs of partners and end-users. The Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response Network (MEOPAR) received $28.5 million from the ‘classic’ NCE program that will leverage an equal amount in cash and in-kind from an array of academic, non-profit, industry and government partners who also have a stake in better understanding and mitigate marine risks and hazards.

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A RE$EARCH MONEY Q&A with Adam Holbrook

Innovation has risen up the government’s priority ranking and will be a major thrust of the federal Budget when it is tabled March 22. Over the past year, several expert panels and councils have been preparing policy papers on fundamental science, innovation and economic competitiveness. On the other hand, the government is running annual deficits and plan to continue for several years to come. We asked Adam Holbrook, adjunct professor and associate director of the Centre for Policy Research on Science and Technology, Simon Fraser University, for his perspective on what needs to be done to make Canada more innovative and its use of research more effective.

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Opinion Leader:
Conor Meade

Measure for measure: The unique challenge of assessing innovation programs’ impact

If sound measurement of innovation support programs is so important, and everyone agrees that it’s important, why are we having this conversation? Why hasn’t it already been done?

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Canada’s regenerative medicine sector poised to soar with better funding and collaboration: report

Canadian expertise and achievements in regenerative medicine (RM) could be at a turning point if strategic steps are taken to increase stable funding and achieve greater coordination among the many federal and provincial players. Those are the key observations of a report issued by the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA), which was based on a two-day workshop held last October to provide policy makers with pointers for growing the sector and realizing greater economic and health benefits.

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Study to review national model for offering start-ups free IP advice

A Waterloo policy think tank founded by former Blackberry executive Jim Balsillie is funding a new study that will examine how start-ups can get access to free intellectual property legal services across Canada. The one-year project is examining the success of the Innovation Clinic at York Univ’s Osgoode Hall Law School, with a view to replicating the model nationally.

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News Bites

News Briefs

Former adviser to White House Office of S&T Policy to speak at Univ Ottawa

April 5 in Ottawa: Bromley Memorial Lecture featuring Kei Koizumi, former Assistant Director for Federal R&D and senior advisor to the director of the National Science and Technology Council, US White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Koizumi is currently a visiting scholar in science policy at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The lecture— hosted by the Univ of Ottawa’s Institute for Science, Society and Policy (ISSP) and moderated by ISSP fellow Paul Dufour — will provide examples and lessons learned at the White House OSTP, and offer thoughts on what a solid science-advice organization should look like. Also discussed will be the importance of a central organization at the highest level of government to formulate, implement, and coordinate STI policy.  Click here to register.

CFI Leaders Fund awards $52 million to 223 projects at 39 universities

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) has announced $52 million in funding from its John R Evans Leaders Fund for 223 projects at 39 universities across Canada. The funding announcement provides a breakdown by province and project. The CFI Leaders Fund provides researchers with foundational research infrastructure support, helping them to become leaders in their field and assisting institutions with creating competitive research support packages for research in their strategic priority areas.

Fusion raises US $25 million for cancer targeting technology

Fusion Pharmaceuticals Inc, a spin out of the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization (CPDC), has secured US$25 million in series ‘A’ financing to support and accelerate development of new next-generation therapeutics that precisely target cancer cells. The funding round is led by Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC Inc, and includes investments from HealthCap, TPG Biotechnology Ventures, Genesys Capital and founding seed investor, the Fight Against Cancer Innovation Trust (FACIT). Fusion’s lead program — FPX-01 0151 — leverages alpha particle-emitting technology combined with monoclonal antibodies to target cancer cells with reduced damage to normal tissue and fewer side effects. The company’s platform is based on radiolabelling technologies developed by CPDC, a Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research. The financing will also help Toronto-based Fusion build a pipeline through development of its recently acquired centryin-based targeting technology program which is now in preclinical development.

UHN receives $20-million gift from Daniels Foundation

The John and Myrna Daniels Foundation has made a $20-million donation to the University Health Network (UHN). The gift will support three UHN programs — the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, the Krembil Neuroscience Centre and the Multi-Organ Transplant Program. The UHN gift is the latest philanthropic donation made by John Daniels, a real estate tycoon whose developments include the Eaton Centre, TD Centre and the Mississauga community of Erin Mills.

OCE funds 20 IT-based automotive projects

The Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) has announced $1.4 million under its Automotive Supplier Competitiveness Improvement Program (ASCIP) for 20 projects that contribute to the adoption of information technology (IT) by industry. The funding has been matched or exceeded by industry partners for a total of more than $4 million. The projects, up to two years in duration, aim to increase supplier capability to deliver shorter design cycle times, support the adoption of specific software and IT solutions that enhance efficiency and cost effectiveness, and target smaller supplier firms to increase their sourcing capabilities and expand export markets. ASCIP is a collaboration between OCE, the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association and the provincial Ministry of Economic Development and Growth.

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