The last few weeks have seen a number of public funding announcements address climate change by adapting clean technology through research and innovation. At the federal level, there’s $155 million for the natural resources sector, and Alberta and Ontario have announced their own initiatives, with Alberta providing up to $1.4 billion.
The Feds on Monday announced details of a new initiative to diversify the venture capital market is it incents the sector to boost its investments in more Canadian companies.
CANARIE has announced a second round of competition for projects around reusable software after its pilot program was well received by the research community.
Another year of less-than-impressive R&D spending by the pharmaceutical industry has re-ignited the annual sparing match between industry and the organization that compiles the data. The Patented Medicines Prices Review Board (PMPRB) reports that companies belonging to Innovative Medicines Canada (IMC – formerly Rx&D) spent $770 million on R&D in 2016 or 4.9% of its $15.6 billion in sales – a ratio unchanged from 2015.
The federal government has announced a $155-million program to help the natural resources sectors address climate change by developing and deploying clean technologies that will lower their notoriously high greenhouse gas emissions. The funding under the new Clean Growth Program (CGP) is aimed at the energy, mining and forestry sectors for pre-commercial projects between technology readiness levels 3 to 9.
Canada has been longing for its turn to be an innovation leader but constantly looking to Silicon Valley as a role model is not going to be enough. Innovators big and small have to take risks and jump on the opportunity. And they don’t have to do it alone.
Ontario’s key life sciences players are calling for greater coordination to help the sector grow by more effectively exploiting the sector’s untapped potential.
After a months-long public search, Ontario has announced the appointment of Dr Molly Shoichet as its first chief scientist who will advise the provincial premier on science and innovation policy based on scientific evidence.
More than $29 million in grants were announced recently for 18 research projects under the Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) program of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).
Higher education spending in R&D rose 3.4% to $11.8 billion in FY15-16 from $11.4 billion in FY14-15, according to the latest data from Statistics Canada. This growth – as measured in constant 2007 dollars — indicates a change in direction after decreases of 1.1% and 1.2% in FY14-15 and FY13-14, respectively.
Ontario names Dr Molly Shoichet as its first chief scientist who will advise Premiere Kathleen Wynne on science and innovation policy based on scientific evidence.
Canada 150 Research Chairs attract top international researchers to Canada
Think Research platform development supports 350 jobs in Toronto with $5M funding
$265M in SSHRC funding for 3,300 projects
More than 3,000 social sciences and humanities researchers have been awarded $265 million as part of an annual competition held by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). The government says that in addition to providing core support, the funding is intended to help researchers build stronger partnerships with the private and not-for-profit sectors. The projects were funded under SSHRC’s recurring programs, including the doctoral and postdoctoral fellowships competition awards; partnership program; the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships Program for doctoral and master’s; and the Canada Graduate Scholarships to Honour Nelson Mandela Competition Awards. The Mandela awards were launched in 2014 in honour of the South African anti-apartheid leader and the country’s first post-apartheid president. SSHRC also announced recipients of the Genome Canada and SSHRC Joint Initiative on Societal Implications of Genomics Research program grants. SSHRC’s funding opportunities are competitive and merit-based and support research and training at the post-secondary level. A list of fund recipients are on the SSHRC website.
Toronto firms to get $9.5 million for cleantech development
Two Toronto-based companies are getting $9.5 million in federal funding to improve on their projects around clean energy technologies. Morgan Solar Inc is expected to use the funds for its solar power cells while NRStor Inc will use the funds to improve on its energy storage capabilities. Morgan Solar’s proprietary planar optical technology can help reduce the cost of materials used in solar panels. An initial first version is the world’s only translucent high-efficiency panel for building environments. The second version has the potential to be the lowest cost panel in the world for utility applications. The funds for NRStor are to develop higher energy storage capabilities for the Ontario electricity grid. By storing energy as compressed air and heat, the system developed by NRStor can help Canadian energy companies create more business opportunities. Investments in these two projects are made through Sustainable Development Technology Canada and support the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.
Mining groups submit proposal for supercluster funding
Six groups in the mining sector from across Canada have submitted a full proposal to participate in the final leg of the Innovation Supercluster Initiative (ISI), accumulating commitments of $700 million – $450 million in cash and $244 million in-kind. The consortium represents 162 partners in industry, government and academia including the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI), Centre for Innovation in Mineral Resource Engineering (CIMRE), Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC), COREM of Quebec, International Minerals Mining Institute, and Mining Suppliers Trade Association. The groups make up the CLEER (Clean, Low-energy, Effective, Engaged and Remediated) Supercluster, which was among the nine shortlisted proposals. CEMI and CMIC are leading the partnership, having submitted both the first-stage Letter of Intent last summer and the proposal last month. The consortium notes that unlike other supercluster proposals that are concentrated in select geographies, its grouping covers a broader scope with members from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec. The consortium says its composition is built on existing regional ecosystems to include service providers and suppliers, anchor companies, R&D organizations, post-secondary institutions, and partners from other sectors across Canada, including clean tech. The proposal seeks to boost the productivity, performance and global competitiveness of the mining sector through innovation that will address challenges in energy, water and the environment. If successful in its bid, it will share in the government’s $950-million, five-year contribution. CLEER projects it will generate more than 38,000 new, direct high-paying jobs and more than 100,000 indirect jobs and contribute up to $26 billion to GDP after the five-year funding period and an additional 8,000 jobs and $21 billion as benefits ripple through the economy.
NEXT Canada programs to support 100 high-potential start-ups
Ontario creates network for research and innovation in vehicle technologies
VCs ink MOU with Bioindustrial Innovation Canada on co-investment prospects
Inocucor gets $2.5M for second bio-fertilizer product
FPInnovations, Allnorth team up to provide energy management solution for pulp, paper firms
RBC steps up investments in AI with new Montreal lab
Dr Elissa Strome
The Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) has appointed a new executive director to head its recently funded Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy. Dr Elissa Strome of the Univ of Toronto will join the CIFAR team effective January 2, 2018, announced Dr Alan Bernstein, CIFAR president and CEO. The $125-million Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy funded under Budget 2017 supports the newly established AI institutes in Edmonton (the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute), Toronto (the Vector Institute) and Montreal (Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms). Strome, who has a PhD in neuroscience from Univ of British Columbia, was most recently executive director of SOSCIP, a platform for collaborative R&D in data science and advanced computing. She was also the director of strategic initiatives at the Univ of Toronto’s office of VP Research and Innovation.