Numbers

Number 20 / Volume 22 / December 23, 2008

Editorial:
Mark Henderson, Editor

For Canadian S&T and R&D, 2008 has been a year of dramatic swings with far more gut-wrenching lows than euphoric highs to rattle even the most battle-hardened veteran. The year began with the high-profile departure of the head of the Canadian Space Agency and the closure of the Office of the National Science Advisor.

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Opinion Leader:
Peter Calamai

Peter Calamai

Tragedy of the Media Commons
By Peter Calamai

The lights are going out all over North America. The lights in this case are journalists who specialize in covering science for the commercial mass media.

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Obama moving science and technology to the top of nation's priority list

The US appears set to elevate the status of S&T within government and the nation as a whole with the announcement of the team that will advise president-elect Barak Obama. Citing the need for leadership and emphasizing respect for “the integrity of the scientific process”, Obama is making clear that he intends to break with the current administration’s inherent distrust of science and failure to heed the advice of the nation’s top scientists and business leaders.

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Ontario think tank zeroes in on importance of the creative class to weathering downturn

Ontario’s growing concentration of workers that comprise the so-called creative class may help the province weather the recession better than the previous economic downturn of 1991. Yet members of the creative class in Ontario are paid significantly less than their counterparts in US peer states and are used less intensively by their employers, casting doubt on the ability of Ontario cities to retain them.

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News Bites

News Briefs

Obama administration strikes S&T transition team

Interface Biologics raises $5 million

Gas emission sensing technology gets $1.3 million

NRC renews funding for youngest clusters

CFI makes Leaders Opportunity Fund awards

Precarn to manage six Alberta projects

People

Dr John Holdren

Dr Steven Franklin

Dr Christopher Baker

Dr Jeremy Squire

Mike Williams

Number 19 / Volume 22 / December 12, 2008

Editorial:
Mark Henderson, Editor

Innovation has always been about more than R&D, but without it, companies and societies will find it far more difficult to achieve and maintain global competitiveness. That’s why the data recently release by Statistics Canada should be of concern.

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Stockwell Day signs long-awaited S&T framework agreement with Brazil

Canada has finally signed a formal S&T agreement with Brazil that could pave the way for a significant boost in high-tech and other trade between the two nations. The agreement is the third Canada has signed recently with an emerging economy following last year’s collaborative pacts with India and China and comes at a time of increased Brazilian interest in investing in Canada.

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Canada's R&D performance in doldrums with third lackluster year in a row

Economic crisis still to register

Statistics Canada has released its final and most substantial collection of R&D data of the year and it doesn’t paint a pretty picture. It shows that Canada’s gross domestic expenditures on R&D (GERD) are projected to be virtually stagnant for the third year in a row and are actually in decline when measured in 2002 constant dollars.

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Ontario's mobile content sector needs help to grow

Less than 5% of experts in Ontario’s mobile content sector believe the province’s wireless industry is a leader in entrepreneurship and innovation, and only 20% agree that Ontario has a solid global hold on data-centric mobile devices, such as the Blackberry, according to preliminary survey results released by the Mobile Experience Innovation Centre.

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News Bites

News Briefs

NRCan unveils design of CANMET MTL lab in Hamilton

EADS opens Montreal office at NRC's IAR

New tri-university neuroscience network created

CSA contributes to ESA, signs MDA contract

Governance endowment created by new foundation

People

Dr Genevieve Tanguay

Denise Amyot

Dr Bruce Archibald

Philip Howell

Number 18 / Volume 22 / November 30, 2008

Editorial:
Mark Henderson, Editor

Those expecting S&T to play a strategic role in stimulating the faltering Canadian economy were likely disappointed with this week’s Throne Speech and economic update. It’s one thing to assert support for a strong knowledge-based society and quite another to back up the rhetoric with effective, targeted programs and adequate financial resources.

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Researcher of year uses prize to launch endowment for research trainees

CIHR health research awards

One of the two main prizes awarded this year by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) will have ramifications far beyond its recipient. Dr Michael Hayden, the winner of the Michael Smith Prize in Health Research (Biomedical and Clinical Research) has announced that he will leverage the award’s high profile and $500,000 cash prize to establish an endowment for research trainees in four areas that hold profound personal significance.

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Technology transfer evolves to match new financing challenges, global competition

ACCT Canada Conference

Canadian technology transfer activity is experiencing a rapid period of evolution as it adapts to the challenging shifts in technology financing and global competition. The virtual shutdown of the venture capital industry and the current financial meltdown are helping to accelerate the introduction of an ever expanding range of novel approaches and collaborations for taking university-based discovery into the marketplace.

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Economic crisis halts MaRS Phase II

The expansion plans of Canada’s largest life sciences commercialization facility have been thwarted –— at least temporarily — with the suspension of construction on Phase II of the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto.

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Task Force recommends dramatic technology shift for medical isotope production

A task force assembled by TRIUMF is telling the federal government to give serious consideration to experimental photo-fission technology for the production of medical isotopes. Photo fission uses low-enriched uranium and small, relatively inexpensive accelerators as opposed to the aging NRU nuclear reactor at Chalk River which is high cost, high maintenance and requires weapons-grade, highly enriched uranium.

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News Bites

News Briefs

Perimeter Institute lands Stephen Hawking

Precarn funds six manufacturing R&D projects

VC investment continues downward trend

New Quebec consortium issues call for proposals

Univ of Manitoba establishes healthcare innovation centre

GSK endows research chair at Univ of Manitoba

Bell Aliant and PEI launch innovation fund

People

Dr Eugenia Kumacheva

Marie Thibault

Tony Rockingham

Paul Johnston

André Caillé

Number 17 / Volume 22 / November 13, 2008

Editorial:
Mark Henderson, Editor

If it’s true that good ideas bear repeating, then the latest report from the Conference Board of Canada may have hit a bull’s eye. The document is the result of a lengthy process of consultation and examination by a group of industry and institutional leaders and it pitches a handful of technology sectors it contends Canada should aggressively pursue (see page 3).

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Academia-industry partnership aims to boost mobile development

By Perry Hoffman

Several Ontario academic institutions and a number of wireless and content companies have banded together to form the Mobile Experience Innovation Centre (MEIC), an organization whose goal is to develop a centre of excellence for applied research, design and commercialization in Ontario’s mobile content and services sector.

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Harper government reinstates ministerial position for science and technology

S&T is back at the Cabinet table after a five-year absence with the appointment of Dr Gary Goodyear as minister of state for science and technology. The reinstatement of the junior ministerial position adds further definition to the Conservative government’s evolving approach to S&T policy and governance with details of the position’s mandate and priorities to be finalized next week.

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Opinion Leader:
Dr Peter Morand

Peter Morand

Making government R&D more effective
By Dr Peter Morand

As part of its annual benchmarking exercise, the Conference Board of Canada has just released How Canada Performs: A Report Card on Canada. And once again we find that Canada’s report card “tells the story of a country moving to the back of the class because of its underperformance in almost all subjects.

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Design can boost Canadian productivity

Toronto’s design labour force is a hidden resource that must be deployed to enhance Canadian competitiveness and productivity, says a leading advocate for design innovation.

Sara Diamond made the case for greater incorporation of design into the high-tech and other sectors in an address last month to the Economic Club of Toronto.

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Nortel decentralizes R&D, cuts CTO position

Nortel Networks Corp has instituted another round of cost-cutting and a structural re-organization that sees the elimination of the position of chief technology officer (CTO). Nortel says the moves reflect the growing impact of the “sustained and growing economic downturn” and end the tenure of John Roese, who was hired as Nortel’s CTO in mid 2006 to coordinate and execute Nortel’s overall R&D strategy (R$, July 7/06).

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News Bites

News Briefs

Quebec & China establish wireless research links

Waterloo ranks among North America's most innovative

Marilyn Walker donates $15 million to Brock Univ

Fourth annual lobster science workshop

Precarn funds intelligent systems R&D projects

Medizone establishes Canadian foundation

People

Nathalie Des Rosiers

Dr Philip Sherman

Dr Malcolm King

Dr Wayne Grover

Number 16 / Volume 22 / October 29, 2008

Editorial:
Mark Henderson, Editor

It was difficult to find any skeptics or detractors among those who assembled in Montreal earlier this week to participate in the third summit of the Canada-California Strategic Innovation Partnership (CCSIP).

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Pace of CCSIP's development accelerates with successful Montreal summit

Groundbreaking bilateral initiative

Three years after its original conception, the Canada-California Strategic Innovation Partnership (CCSIP) has completed its third and most productive summit, attracting more than 200 high-powered delegates to Montreal to advance discussions on future bilateral research in key technology areas.

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Opinion Leader:
Dr David Phipps

Dr David Phipps

Turning research into action
By Dr David Phipps

“We must translate our research findings in the human sciences into public policy and social programs…Knowledge transfer in the human sciences — the transfer of findings into policy and programs — is as important as technology transfer in the engineering and natural sciences.

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News Bites

News Briefs

McGill spin-off secures $3.5 million in financing

U of C to build biomedical engineering facility

Bromont opens specialized technology incubator

SSHRC reviewing peer review practices

Ontario invests $7.6 million in basic research

BASF licenses novel gene from Univ of Manitoba

Green IT MOU signed by UBC, Prompt & UC San Diego

People

Marie-Lucie Morin

Dr Lorne Tyrell

John MacInnis

Dr Bruce McNaughton

Jeffrey Dale

Ric Rumble

Number 15 / Volume 22 / October 7, 2008

Editorial:
Mark Henderson, Editor

Canada could be entering a bleak period for R&D. The collapse of the financial markets here and around the world have created a climate of fear in which new or even continued spending on key research and innovation programs are in jeopardy.

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Deloitte announces 2008 Technology Fast 50 ranking

Ontario dominates the 2008 Deloitte Technology Fast 50 ranking, placing 27 firms including seven in the top 10. Markham ON-based Nightingale Informatix Corp (healthcare service and software) took the top spot with a five-year growth rate of 23,078% — an impressive feat but far off the 42,120% growth rate registered by Sandvine, last year’s overall winner.

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Opinion Leader:
Dr Peter Nicholson

Dr Peter Nicholson

Asking more of public R&D institutions
By Dr Peter Nicholson

National innovation policies need to pay greater attention to the role and support of “public research and development institutions”. These are national laboratories and research organizations of various kinds that are neither universities nor divisions of corporations but include pre-competitive R&D consortia of business, academia and government.

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News Bites

News Briefs

StatoilHydro invests in university R&D

CSA and DRDC developing new microsatellite

Nanoledge closes series A financing

SAIT Polytechnic receives $300 million from province

Canadians rank biotech research highly: survey

People

Dr Kevin Yallup

Dr Pekka Sinervo

Number 14 / Volume 22 / September 19, 2008

Editorial:
Mark Henderson, Editor

The demand for hospital research infrastructure greatly exceeds supply. One of Canada’s most respected entrepreneurs says the high-tech sector is in danger of being shipped offshore. Canada’s innovation system is under severe pressure and there doesn’t appear to be any willingness on the part of our federal elected officials to tackle urgent problems head on.

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Opinion Leader:
Dr Ted Hewitt

Dr WE (Ted) Hewitt

Boost contract research in Canada’s universities
By Dr Ted Hewitt

The 2006 Survey of Intellectual Property Commercialization for the higher education sector was recently released by Statistics Canada.

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New CSA president's first task is to develop Long-Term Space Plan

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has a new president, a proposed new governance structure and marching orders to develop a new Long-Term Space Plan. Dr Steve MacLean takes the reins at the CSA after an extended period of turmoil and strategic drift with a mandate from Industry minister Jim Prentice to make “sweeping changes” to revitalize the embattled agency.

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News Bites

News Briefs

Group calls for 10-years of funding for diabetes

Alberta opens nanotech commercialization centre

Nortel to sell Metro Ethernet unit

TRIUMF signs MOU with Indian cyclotron

York Univ joins TRIUMF as associate member

U of T and IBM partner to build supercomputer

GM Canada commits more funding to R&D

Natrix raises $19 million for commercialization

Westport raises $54 million for engine development

Calgary's Canterris Inc to expand in Waterloo

Ryma receives $7 million in venture financing

People

Susan Baldwin

Christian Sylvain

Daniel Fontaine

Dr Geoffrey Norman

Number 13 / Volume 22 / August 15, 2008

Editorial:
Mark Henderson, Editor

Canada’s role in international science must be improved if the country is to withstand the onslaught of globalization and rapidly expanding economies of nations such as India, China, Brazil and Russia.

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Opinion Leader:
Paul Dufour

Paul Dufour

Alberta’s Foresight and the Need for Over-the-Horizon Thinking
By Paul Dufour

Precisely 25 years ago, I co-wrote a report with Don LeRoy for Canada’s leading research think tank — the Science Council of Canada — on the evolving role of the provincial research organizations and their mandates in support of technology and innovation for Canadian business and society.

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Increased angel investment key to unlocking potential of Canadian innovation

NAO targets commercialization funding gap

The National Angel Organization (NAO) is recommending the creation of a new credit for angel investors and an national angel co-investment fund as part of a package of initiatives to boost the single largest source of capital for seed and early-stage investments and overcome what it says is a $5-billion pre-commercialization funding gap.

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PAGES calls for more funds, greater alignment of international science

One of Canada’s largest scientific associations is calling for a change in direction and funding increases for international science. Measures such as some type of risk capital and the establishment of an International Opportunities Fund would help to enhance Canada’s reputation on the world scene, increasing its innovative status with industry and attracting and retaining top talent.

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Opinion Leader:
J.A.D. (Adam) Holbrook

Adam Holbrook

What is the real return on our research investments in universities?
By J.A.D. (Adam) Holbrook

Policy makers, program evaluators and senior managers in the federal government (and several provincial governments) have, for some time, been pushing research funding organizations and public sector organizations that carry out research to demonstrate the commercial return on their research expenditures.

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ISTPCanada punches above its weight with successful first year

International S&T collaboration gaining traction

A modestly funded program designed to stimulate bilateral R&D collaboration between Canada and several other nations is opening up a huge range of possibilities that could prompt the federal government to move aggressively on its Global Innovation Strategy (GIS).

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Funding for higher education sector declines for the first time since 1998

The era of dramatic funding increases in higher education R&D appear to be over. Statistics Canada reports that the total investment in the sector increased just 1.1% in 2006-07 to $9.6 billion. Of the six sectors contributing to higher education R&D, all posted moderate increases over the previous year except for the federal government.

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International experts gather in Halifax to examine regional innovation systems

Global expertise in translating regional strengths into innovative businesses and economic development is converging on Halifax next month for the first Canadian-based Technoopolicy Conference. The two-day event will examine best practices and policies for developing regional innovation strategies, with a particular focus on Atlantic Canada and featuring speakers from North America and Europe.

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News Bites

News Briefs

NRC telescope correlator passes first major test

SDTC funds 19 more clean tech projects

Precarn launches $500,000 T-Gap fund

China and NRC to collaborate on canola research

Sequenom certifies McGill genome innovation centre

MITACS applies expertise to infectious diseases

People

Dr Louis Lamontagne

Number 12 / Volume 22 / July 28, 2008

Editorial:
Mark Henderson, Editor

An alarming new report on how successive governments have handled the intellectual property needs of federal laboratories should be a call to arms for major changes in policy or legislation. Sadly, it appears that the Conservative administration is about as likely to affect meaningful change as the Liberals before them.

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Opinion Leader:
Éric Archambault and Grégoire Côté

Éric Archambault

Better bibliometrics needed for greater accountability of research expenditures
By Éric Archambault and Grégoire Côté

Canada spends about $25 billion on R&D every year, of which $5 billion are public funds spent by the federal government alone.

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MAPLE cancellation prompts MDS lawsuit

The abrupt termination of the Maple reactor program by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL) is being called one of the worst planned and managed R&D projects in Canada’s history and has spawned a major lawsuit by MDS Inc.

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News Bites

News Briefs

Performance Plants raises $13 million

Ontario invests $7.5 million in biofuels research

NRC to work with Biotanika on herbal extracts

Companies joins forces to combat cyber crime

UK funds major infrastructure projects

National Research Council joins WorldWideScience.org

People

Dr David Fransen

Dr Rafik Loutfy

Preston Manning

Jeff Kinder

Number 11 / Volume 22 / July 7, 2008

Editorial:
Mark Henderson, Editor

The Canada California Strategic Innovation Partnership (CCSIP) has scored its second major victory with the creation of the Cancer Stem Cell Consortium (CSCC) and at least $100 million in funding over five years (see page 3).

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Johnston steps down as head of Precarn

Paul Johnston is stepping down as president and CEO of Precarn Inc and will be replaced on an interim basis by his predecessor, Dr Tony Eyton. Johnston decided not to begin a second five-year term at the helm of the organization which is in the midst of a major shift in strategic direction prompted by the sunsetting of Industry Canada funding in 2010.

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Canada's future prosperity at risk: CBoC report

A new report gives Canada a failing grade in innovation and warns that the consequences of inaction could place future prosperity at risk. The message was contained in the 12th annual benchmarking report from from the Conference Board of Canada (CBoC), which assigned grades to six elements contributing to overall quality of life: economy, innovation, education and skills, environment, health and society.

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Opinion Leader:
Dr Aled Edwards

Aled Edwards

Drug discovery requires a new paradigm

Editor’s Note: As drug development costs rapidly spiral upwards, the number of new drug approvals continues to drop. The pharmaceutical industry is closing many of its North American R&D clusters and moving to lower-cost jurisdictions.

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Scientists urge action on climate change

At least 140 Canadian scientists have released an open letter to the country’s elected government leaders urging them to move more aggressively on the increasing urgent challenges posed by climate change.

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Competition Policy Review weighs in on innovation and post-secondary education

The federal government should establish a Canadian Competitiveness Council within Industry Canada to help implement a host of proposed measures to enhance Canada’s competitive advantage. The recommendation was one of 65 contained in the eagerly awaited final report of the Competition Policy Review Panel to increase competitive intensity through productivity and business environment enhancements.

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News Bites

News Briefs

Fredericton firm to demo natural gas technology

COM DEV wins micro-satellite contract

Invitrogen teams with Inter'l Regulome Consortium

BC creates new technology and trade ministry

MDS boosts cellular analysis with acquisition

People

Mark Whitmore

Dr Alan George

Natalie Dakers