Short Report, July 10, 2019: Nuclear power, future skills, health tech

A planned $100-million infusion for Alberta’s artificial intelligence sector — promised in February by then-governing NDP leader Rachel Notley — is on hold, as Premier Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party scrutinizes the investment. Edmonton-based AI hub Amii (Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute) was slated to to use some of the funds to open a Calgary office, but is now holding off. The $100-million commitment also included money for Alberta Innovates, to boost its support of AI companies. – Calgary Herald

The federal government announced plans to build a $14.5-million climate-change research centre, called the Canadian Centre for Climate Change and Adaptation, in Prince Edward Island. Affiliated with the University of Prince Edward Island, the 45,000-square-foot facility will include state-of-the-art equipment and a “living laboratory”  that accesses nearby ecosystems. University president Alaa Abd-el-Aziz said the centre will use a multidisciplinary research model that will connect students and faculty with industry and government partners to form a “cluster of discovery.” – The Star

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) has been awarded an $8.5 million contract by the Government of Canada to refuel the Royal Military College of Canada’s (RMC) SLOWPOKE-2 nuclear reactor, a low-power reactor that produces neutrons for scientific research. The project will take nearly three years to complete and will extend the life of the 34 year old reactor by another 30 years. – Newswire

The Future Skills Centre at Ryerson University announced $7.65 million for 10 new innovation projects that will help identify the best training opportunities and facilitate transitions for mid-career workers who are experiencing, or are at-risk of, disruption and displacement, such as truck drivers, auto workers and cashiers.  Newswire

Hifi Engineering Inc, a developer and supplier of fiber optic sensing technology for monitoring pipelines and oil and gas wells, announced the closing of a $10 million equity financing deal, split equally between the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and one of the company’s existing strategic investors. The financing will support the company’s domestic and international growth and fund R&D for the next generation release of Hifi’s high fidelity dynamic sensing platform. – Newswire

Montreal’s Neomed Innovation Centre is building a $25-million innovation and commercialization complex that will specialize in life sciences and healthtech. The project will receive a $1.5 million federal investment from Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED), a $8.7 million loan from Investissement Québec, and an additional $1.5 million from the City of Montreal. The announcement follows the recent merger of Neomed with Vancouver-based Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) to form adMare BioInnovations, which will execute the complex. – BetaKit

The Government of Canada is investing up to $20 million in auto parts supplier Woodbridge Foam Corporation to support a modernization project that is expected to create 110 jobs and maintain 727 more in Ontario. As well as upgrading its manufacturing facilities, Woodbridge will create a Centre of Excellence to centralize its global research and development (R&D) activities in advanced materials and product design of molded foam products, such as car seats and armrests. The investment is made through ISED’s Strategic Innovation Fund. – Newswire

Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) announced $450,684 in funding for the Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN), to support the development and implementation of the network’s Innovation Growth and Competitiveness Program, which aims to strengthen cluster linkages, build strategic alliances and support business opportunities within the clean resources innovation industry. – Newswire

Delta, BC-based steel and rubber manufacturer Marcon Metalfab will receive $1 million for new equipment from Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) through the new Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) Steel and Aluminum Initiative, which provides targeted support to SMEs in the steel, aluminum and manufacturing sectors for projects to enhance productivity, add jobs and increase competitiveness through technology adoption. – Newswire

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is awarding a contract worth $30 million to Honeywell for the design and implementation phases of its Quantum EncrYption and Science Satellite (QEYSSat) mission to test quantum technology that protects communications in space. Quantum computers could render current encryption methods obsolete within the next decade; QEYSSat will seek to demonstrate the viability of quantum key distribution (QKD) technology over a link between ground and space. – newKerela

APPOINTMENTS AND AWARDS

Ryerson University’s Future Skills Centre has named Pedro Barata its new executive director effective September 1, 2019. Barata currently serves as United Way Greater Toronto’s Senior Vice President of Community Impact & Strategy, where he oversaw a research and policy agenda that emphasized the changing nature of work, the economic dynamics behind rising income inequality, and provincial policy can address the skills gap. – Future Skills Centre

Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) has appointed Wes Jickling as its new chief executive, effective August 6, 2019. Jickling is going to COSIA from his current roles as CEO of Innovation Saskatchewan and Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs in Saskatchewan. Jickling will take over from interim chief executive John Brogly. – Newswire

Elizabeth Douville will take over from Moura Quayle as chair of the board of directors at Genome Canada. Douville is managing partner and co-founder of AmorChem II Ventures Inc, a Quebec-based seed venture fund dedicated to financing and commercializing university technology development. As chair, she will lead the search for the organization’s next CEO, following the retirement of Marc LePage, who has held the position since 2015. – Genome Canada

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