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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Canadian Frailty Network (CFN will use its second five-year cycle to expand the generation and dissemination of its research to achieve better outcomes for a highly under-recognized clinical syndrome in which people are afflicted with multiple health impairments.
Business in-house R&D spending totalled $16 billion in 2013, $700 million lower than pre-recession levels in 2007 as increases by resources-based firms failed to offset major declines in R&D outlays by Ontario-based manufacturers, according to a new report from Statistics Canada.
Ontario and Israel partner on new $20-million bilateral R&D program
Sensibill raises $17.3 million for fintech data analysis app
Ontario seeks input into mandate of new CSO
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.
Alternative federal Budget released
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has released its annual Alternative Federal Budget. Entitled High Stakes, Clear Choices. It arrives 10 days before Finance minister Bill Morneau tables the government’s own fiscal blueprint for the coming year.
New Global Skills Strategy includes fast-tracking stream for high-growth firms
Feds and Alberta fund carbon conversion test facility
Trump signs Canada-inspired bills to promote women entrepreneurship
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.
MEOPAR and Frailty Network funding renewed
The Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) program has announced $52 million in funding over five years to renew funding for two centres — the Marine Environmental, Observation, Prediction and Response network (MEOPAR) and the Canadian Frailty Network (CFN).
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.