Numbers

Number 10 / Volume 33 / October 23, 2019

Innovation Conversations: McConnell Foundation president Stephen Huddart on creating a market for social finance in Canada

In June, the federal government announced the first key collaborators to implement a $50-million Investment Readiness Program (IRP) to prepare social purpose organizations to access the new $755-million Social Finance Fund when it launches in 2020. We spoke with Stephen Huddart, president and CEO of the McConnell Foundation and a member of the steering group for the Social Finance Fund, about what to expect from the IRP.

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Scandals spotlight the role of private funding in science

The recent scandals over gifts from the Sackler family and Jeffrey Epstein bring into sharp relief the challenges confronting universities as they seek donors to support scientific research and other programs. They are also a reminder that who funds science matters.

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Opinion Leader:
Meg Beckel

Museums are winning the war against “fake news” but losing out on research funding

While Canadians are growing increasingly skeptical of science, thanks in part to the proliferation of fake news online, one scientific institution continues to receive top marks when it comes to public trust and credibility: natural history museums.

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News Bites

News Briefs

The Short Report, September 25, 2019: Global Biotech Week, honeybee research, tax cuts for cleantech

The Liberal government promised to halve the corporate tax rate for cleantech companies if re-elected. Small and large businesses in sectors like renewable energy, zero emission vehicles, and carbon capture and removal technology would see their taxes lowered from nine per cent to 4.5 percent and 15 percent to 7.5 per cent respectively. The promise is intended to help Canada reach the target of net-zero emissions by 2050, a pledge shared by the European Union and other countries at the U.N. General Assembly in New York this week. – CBC

In the twenty-sixth annual report, the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI 26), Toronto dropped four spots to eleventh place, Montreal dropped two spots to twentieth, and Vancouver dropped five spots to twenty-fourth. – Long Finance 

The Government of Saskatchewan and the Cities of Regina and Saskatoon have proclaimed September 23 to 29 as Global Biotech Week. Saskatchewan hosts over 30 percent of Canada’s agricultural biotechnology activity, with many other areas developing, such as genomics, plant-made pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Saskatchewan’s bioeconomy catalyst Ag-West Bio is coordinating activities, which include industry networking events, workshops and public outreach events. – Global Biotech Week Saskatchewan

The University of Guelph is building “North America’s first one-stop shop for honey bee research, education and outreach.” The $12-million facility will host research that aims to understand the stressors affecting honey bees and other pollinators, which are falling in diversity and numbers around the world. “It is a serious problem threatening our food system and environment. Improving the health of bees and other pollinators is critically important,” said university president Franco Vaccarino. – University of Guelph

Lethbridge College opened its new Centre for Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CARIE), as well as a dedicated hub for student entrepreneurial activity at the college called The Pivot. CARIE is intended to be a catalyst for economic growth, sustainability and social development in the region, by bringing together community organizations, researchers and students to collaborate on projects that use new or existing knowledge to solve real-world challenges. – Lethbridge College

THE GRAPEVINE

Mitacs has listed a job posting for a new Chief Executive Officer & Scientific Director, now that Alejandro Adem is transitioning to his new role as president of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). Representing a network of 70 universities and 6000 companies, and operating a budget of $140 million through 25 offices across Canada, Mitacs supports applied and industrial research in mathematical sciences and associated disciplines. The listing states that “the ideal candidate will be a visionary leader with a keen understanding of the innovation ecosphere.” – Academica Careers

Canada’s new ambassador to China, Dominic Barton, has spoken admiringly of Xi Jinping’s signature foreign-policy initiatives, according to reporting by the Globe and Mail. The former managing partner at McKinsey & Company is “a bull on China,” he has said in the past, and supported China’s development in the far western regions, which are lately the focus of concerns over human rights abuses against the Muslim ethnic minority. It’s unknown how Barton’s views have evolved during the current period of strain between the two countries. – Globe and Mail (PAYWALL)

Tan Ping, an associate professor of computer science at Canada’s Simon Fraser University, has been recruited by Alibaba with a million-dollar annual salary to lead the internet giant’s computer vision section at its AI research laboratory. – Caixin Global

The Short Report, October 2, 2019: Kin cryptocurrency, robot tax, health tech

In a dramatic post, Kik founder and CEO Ted Livingston announced the Waterloo-based company will shut down its messaging service and focus exclusively on its cryptocurrency Kin. Livingston described a protracted battle with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over whether Kin should be labeled a security, which he says “would kill the usability of any cryptocurrency and set a dangerous precedent for the industry.” The company has resolved to take drastic measures: shut down the Kik app; fire more than 100 employees, thereby reducing the team to 19 people; and focus exclusively on “converting Kin users into Kin buyers.” – Medium

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Digital Ventures have come together to launch a venture incubator called Koru that will develop ideas emerging from within the OTTP’s own portfolio of companies, currently worth $201.4 billion. Chief investment officer Ziad Hindo said in a press release that the incubator will help protect these companies against disruption by “finding opportunities to add significant mutual value along the way.” – OTPP

As part of its election platform, the Green party of Canada proposed a “robot tax” that will be levied every time a company replaces a worker with a machine. The tax would be equivalent to the income tax paid by that laid-off employee. Green leader Elizabeth May said that the revenue would be applied to education and re-skilling programs for workers. The announcement prompted confusion and blowback on twitter. – CBC

Report on Business magazine posted its list of Canada’s 400 top-growing companies, ranked by three-year revenue growth. The top spot went to Mississauga-based Fleet Optics Inc., specializing in “final-mile delivery software, analytics and transportation,” which saw 10,147 per cent growth. – Globe and Mail

Montreal-based health-tech firm Chronometriq secured more than $20 million in Series B funding led by Full In Partners, a New York growth investor, to help the company secure its leadership in Canada and expand into U.S. markets. Chronometriq provides access-to-care and patient engagement tools to clinics and other health providers. – Chronometriz

New Brunswick-based software company MESH/diversity received nearly $1 million in investment to further develop its Diversity Intelligence Platform, a tool that uses predictive algorithms to help companies and organizations create inclusive cultures for hiring and employee retention. The New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF) contributed $250,000 to the round. – The Huddle

THE GRAPEVINE

The University of Alberta’s vice-president of university relations, Jacqui Tam, has resigned due to controversy over her approval of billboard advertisements promoting 2017 research that correlated climate change with better-growing barley. The ad stated that “climate change will boost Alberta’s barley yield with less water, feeding more cattle.” – Edmonton Journal

Rotman School of Management professor Dilip Soman has been given the Canada Research Chair in Behavioural Science and Economics. Soman directs the Behavioural Economics in the Action Research Centre at Rotman (BEAR), where he researches the application of behavioural science to consumer well-being, marketing and policy. – The Varsity

The Short Report, October 23, 2019: BoosterPacks, quantum supremacy, rare earth metals

CANARIE launched a new free tool called BoosterPacks to help Canadian entrepreneurs adopt new technologies. Each BoosterPack is curated for specific emerging technologies, like Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, and data analytics. The BoosterPacks contain an essential guide to the technology, including documentation of implementation and architecture options; a sample solution that demonstrates the technology; and up to a year’s worth of monthly credits from Canadian cloud providers to build, test, and experiment with pre-revenue products and services. – CANARIE

A team of Google researchers published a paper claiming to have achieved “an experimental realization of quantum supremacy… heralding a much-anticipated computing paradigm.” The authors say they have shown “that quantum speedup is achievable in a real-world system and is not precluded by any hidden physical laws.” CIFAR fellow David Bacon is named on the paper; CIFAR advisor John Preskill coined the term “quantum supremacy.” – Nature

Startup Edmonton will collaborate with Microsoft to help its members access technology, mentorship and business benefits, through tailored events and programming. – Edmonton Journal

The Canadian rare earths’ sector has scaled back its mining ambitions and turned instead to recycling, reports Gabriel Friedman in the Financial Post. Rare earths are used in key technologies for green energy, such as electric vehicles and wind turbines, but also in many other electronics, like smartphones. China dominates the supply chain, so Canadian companies like Geomega are taking a more cautious approach than exploring for deposits; instead, they released plans to build a recycling plant, with an estimated $30 million in annual revenue. – Financial Post

Alternative meat company Lightlife got a competitive boost this month when the American restaurant chain Dave & Buster’s chose their plant-based burgers over larger rival Impossible Foods’ plant-based burgers. Lightlife burgers are made by Greenleaf Foods, a unit of Canadian packaged meat producer Maple Leaf Foods. – Reuters

The Quebec government is launching a $100-million high-speed rural internet fund, projets Régions branchées, that will support digital infrastructure projects to connect 70,000 homes and several thousand businesses to high-speed Internet. – MobileSyrup

A leaked internal email revealed that Alberta post-secondary institutions are anticipating three consecutive years of cuts to public funding. “The post-secondary sector in our province is anticipating major cuts following the release of the Alberta government’s budget on Oct. 24,” wrote Brad Clark, chair of journalism and broadcast media studies at Calgary’s Mount Royal University, in an email to the advisory committee last Wednesday. Departments at the university are planning for a 10 per cent cut the first year, another 10 per cent cut the second year and five per cent the third year. – Edmonton Journal

THE GRAPEVINE

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) named Dr. Shawn Marshall from the University of Calgary as its first-ever departmental science adviser. Marshall applied for the ECCC position because he wanted to affect more meaningful change than he felt he could strictly as a researcher. “When it comes to climate change, the questions and challenges to the science aren’t really valid anymore,” he said. “It’s very clear what is happening. And I could work another 20 years and publish another 100 papers on this topic, but would it make a difference compared to trying to move the ball forward?” – University of Calgary

Lightspeed founder and CEO Dax Dasilva was named Innovator of the Year by The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business. This year, the company launched Lightspeed Loyalty globally and Lightspeed Payments as well as an IPO on the Toronto Stock Exchange that saw it valued at approximately CAD $1.4 billion—the biggest IPO by a Canadian technology company in nearly nine years. – Newswire

Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) named Dr. Claudia Krywiak its new President and CEO. Krywiak has been at OCE since 2011, first as Director, Partnership Development and Corporate Planning, then as Vice President, Corporate Planning, Development and Strategic Initiatives, and most recently as Interim President & CEO, since July. Krywiak is also a board member at the global architecture, planning, engineering and technology firm IBI Group. “It’s an honour to have been chosen to lead OCE given the long and successful history of the organization in driving job creation and economic opportunities in the province while helping Ontario-based SMEs and young entrepreneurs commercialize technologies both at home and in the global marketplace,” said Krywiak in a press release. – Ontario Centres of Excellence

People

The Short Report, October 9, 2019: Digital scholarship, e-commerce, astrophysics

The University of Alberta library has opened its new Digital Scholarship Centre (DSC), featuring Western Canada’s largest touch-screen data visualization wall, podcasting and webinar equipment, 3D printers and scanners, a VR room, and high-performance computers. – Folio

University of Calgary alumnus Wayne Foo, the founding CEO of the oil exploration company Parex Resources Inc, has made a $3.24-million gift to the school’s Faculty of Science. The gift establishes five Parex Resources Innovation Fellowships, as well as one Parex Resources Visiting Innovation Fellowship, to support research that leads to startup creation and technology advancement. – UCalgary News

The Ottawa-based e-commerce giant Shopify is building a team in the Chinese city of Shenzhen. The company is recruiting a head of business development to build partnerships with Chinese brands and exporters. Analysts believe the company could also tap the massive market of Chinese online shoppers. – Financial Post

The Université de Sherbrooke opened an $11.2-million design studio to support technological innovation and entrepreneurship.The Studio de création – Fondation Huguette et Jean-Louis Fontaine offers a 2,500-sq.-m. space for experimentation and prototyping. – USherbrooke

The University of Waterloo launched the Centre for Astrophysics, a new research hub focused on observation and experimentation. With an annual budget of about $500,000, the new hub will support long-term international research projects by 13 faculty members and 30 PhD and post-doctoral researchers on the Waterloo research team. – Waterloo Region Record

Macleans magazine released its annual ranking of Canda’s best comprehensive universities. Simon Fraser University took the top spot, followed by University of Victoria and University of Waterloo. – Macleans

More than a hundred CEOs of tech companies wrote an open letter to the campaigning party leaders, urging them to develop tech policies that will help the Canadian tech sector gain better access to talent, growth capital and new customers. Organized by the Canadian Council of Innovators, the CEOs write that “Canada’s productivity is lagging and our future economic prosperity is at risk.” – CBC

THE GRAPEVINE

Communitech CEO Iain Klugman announced that he will step down in 2021. Klugman has helmed the Kitchener-Waterloo tech incubator for more than 15 years, during a period when the number of local startups jumped from 200 to 1,400. The last year has seen a dramatic transition in the organization’s public funding, as its provincial funding was cut by 30%, while the federal government committed $52.4 million to a new scaling platform shared by Communitech, Toronto Innovation Acceleration Partners (TIAP) and Invest Ottawa. During his tenure, Klugman launched Fierce Founders, Canada’s first accelerator for women-led companies, and advocated for large-scale policy improvements like the  Global Skills Strategy. – BetaKit

As Yukon College prepares to complete its transition to Yukon University in 2021, making it the first university in the North, the institution has posted a position for YukonU’s first President and Vice-Chancellor. The school is looking for someone who “will embrace a teaching focused institution, research and the critical role of a post-secondary institution in society and the North in particular.” – Academica Careers

The Short Report, October 16, 2019: Ecocities, fintech adoption, animal testing

The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) opened an Ecocity Centre of Excellence for applied research and training in support of cities becoming ecologically sustainable. The Centre will be led by Dr. Jennie Moore, BCIT Director, Institute Sustainability, and founding coordinator of Vancouver’s EcoCity Network. – BCIT News

Accounting firm Ernst & Young published a new fintech adoption index that shows a dramatic spike in the use of financial technology by Canadian consumers, up to 50% from 17% two years ago. Despite the increase, Canadians lag behind the rest of the world in fintech adoption, across all age brackets. – Financial Post

The University of Windsor opened the Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods (CCAAM), Canada’s first research centre for alternatives to animal testing methods, with the help of a $1-million private donation—the largest single gift in the school’s history—from Eric and Dana Margolis, whose family foundation supports Humane Society International/Canada. – The Windsor Star

Canada ranks at the bottom of OECD countries for creating unicorns (or tech startups that reach a $1 billion dollar market value), despite coming in third for absolute venture capital (VC) dollars invested, behind the U.S. and China but ahead of many more populous countries, according to a study from the University of Toronto’s Impact Centre. The study seems to put to rest the notion that Canada lacks venture capital, but highlights the failure to foster domestic scaleups. – IT World Canada

George Brown College partnered with Changzhou Health Vocation Technical College (CHVTC) to support exchanges and collaborative program delivery between George Brown’s Centre for Health Sciences and the Chinese college. – George Brown College

HEC Montréal has launched an undergraduate distance-learning program for French-speaking students who want to learn how to start a business. The short, intensive program takes students through ten modules to design an entrepreneurial project and requires them to submit deliverables for each phase of their projects. – HEC Montréal

In a speech ahead of the province’s fall economic statement, Ontario’s Finance Minister Rod Phillips highlighted the importance of boosting the province’s competitiveness: “When we talk about Ontario, some of us will recall when we were a top 10 North American jurisdiction, on par with our neighbours to the south like New York, who today is number five. People are often surprised to find out we’re ranked 45th, one place ahead of Montana. We should be doing better and we can do better.” Phillips noted that the province has underperformed in the global competition for talent. – The Star

Olds College and Zone Startups Calgary are collaborating to support early stage agriculture technology companies through the Olds College Smart Farm and Zone Startup Calgary’s program offerings. Olds College

THE GRAPEVINE

The Insurance Institute of Canada (IIC) created a new director role to lead technology-learning initiatives. The Toronto-based Director of Learning Innovation and Technology will recommend and implement learning technologies for IIC members. – Academica Careers

Toronto’s Vector Institute will recruit three new tenure-stream faculty positions in deep learning. The announcement follows news that the Institute has cross-appointed eight new faculty members and 29 affiliate researchers at universities across Canada. – Business Insider

Number 9 / Volume 33 / September 18, 2019

Editorial:
Mark Mann

The polarizing national debate over what to do about our dependence on Alberta’s oil riches is devolving rapidly.

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Global community confronts the implications of human genome editing

The WHO has launched a global registry to track research on human genome editing—the first concrete recommendation of an advisory committee charged with determining what an effective oversight and governance framework should look like in the CRISPR era. At the same time, medical and scientific societies in other nations are grappling with the unprecedented ethical and scientific implications of altering the human genome in future generations.

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Opinion Leader:
Robert Luke

Structural bias is constraining the value of Canadian research. We need to recognize and reward more diverse research activities.

The policy imperative underwriting current research and innovation policy initiatives fails to take in the scope of research capacity in Canada. We need a frame of reference that encompasses the breadth and depth of Canadian researchers’ contributions to innovation.

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News Bites

News Briefs

The Short Report, September 18, 2019: Transdisciplinary research, digital verification, carbon capture

The University of Lethbridge officially opened its $280-million, 38,500-sq.-m. Science Commons. The facility aims to foster transdisciplinary research by congregating multiple science departments under one roof and by providing opportunities for collaboration. – University of Lethbridge

Vancouver fintech startup Trulioo raised C$70 million from institutional investors. Trulioo will use the funding to scale its operations in new markets. The company offers identity verification to five billion consumers worldwide, as well as more than 250 million businesses in over 195 countries. – BetaKit

The University of Calgary’s Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking received federal funding through the Research Support Fund’s Incremental Project Grant to create an entrepreneurship program and pitch competition for women in STEM. Called WELab, the program will provide entrepreneurial mentorship and training to any female-identifying students, staff, and faculty interested in building or growing a business, social enterprise or side hustle. – University of Calgary

The OECD has released a paper titled “How are digital technologies changing innovation? Evidence from agriculture, the automotive industry and retail.” The paper examines sector-specific dynamics that differentiate the opportunities created by digital technologies, and calls for a sectoral approach to designing innovation policies. – OECD

Quebec’s Institut national de la recherche scientifique has embarked on a Canada-wide research project to fight greenhouse gas emissions by trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) in mining waste, led by Louis-César Pasquier. Led by the University of British Columbia (UBC) and joined by the University of Alberta and Trent University, who have together invested $1.2 million in the project, along with $2 million in funding from Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and another $1.2 million from industry, the project’s researchers are partnering with three large mining companies to conduct field trials and further investigate the potential of mineral carbonation for carbon capture. – INRS

New federal rules on methane measurement, scheduled to come into effect in January 2020, have already spurred innovation in technology and equipment related to measuring methane emissions, the CBC reports. Both large and small oil and gas companies are investing in equipment to monitor methane leaks. – CBC

New Democrat Party leader Jagmeet Singh promised to create new incentives for the auto industry, if elected. Singh said he would revive a $300-million innovation strategy to support the development of zero-emission vehicles, on the condition that manufacturers and suppliers invest in keeping jobs on Canadian soil. – National Post

THE GRAPEVINE

The University of Toronto is seeking a director of institutional research and data governance. The successful candidate’s role will be to develop and maintain a coordinated approach to data-driven decision making by working closely with the university’s senior administration across its three campuses. The director will advise on a business intelligence roadmap to leverage data assets, facilitate the development of analytical capacity across the institution, and foster inter-divisional collaboration on data projects, according to the posting. – University of Toronto

Energy storage company VanadiumCorp named Dr. Gilles Y. Champagne its chief technology officer. Previously the VP of engineering and development at Imergy Power Systems  in Silicon Valley, Champagne has held executive positions in various cleantech companies in Canada, the US and Europe. – Newswire

New University of Windsor president Robert Gordon responded to the provincial government’s  new performance-based funding model in an introductory address to staff, faculty and students. He told the assembled audience that difficult decisions will be made as a result of the impending financial challenges. Gordon said that workforce readiness is one of his early priorities and stated that the university is looking for ways improve learning opportunities outside the classroom. – Windsor Star

The Royal Society of Canada announced 10 medals and four awards to be bestowed on 14 Canadian scientists, scholars and researchers at the Awards Ceremony at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier in Ottawa on Friday, November 22, 2019. – Royal Society of Canada

 

The Short Report, Sept 11, 2019: Genome lab, industrial IoT, ecommerce

The federal government and the province of Quebec are teaming up to fund the creation and operation of a Montreal-based international centre of expertise for the advancement of artificial intelligence, focused on the responsible and ethical development of AI technologies, as part of the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI). Ottawa is committing $10 million over five years to the project, while Quebec awarded a $5 million grant to Montréal International to either create the organization or draw one from abroad. The centre will seek to expand commercialization and adoption of AI-enabled tech in Canada. – BetaKit

Canadore College officially opened the first functional genome lab at an Ontario college, featuring leading-edge genome sequencing technology. The lab was created through a collaboration between the college and The DNA Company. Canadore has been approved for a post-graduate certification in applied genomics program – the first graduate program in the area in the field – beginning in 2020. Separately, a committee of North Bay city council recommended rezoning a vacant lot to allow for the development of a research park led by the college. The proposed “innovation park” could create more than 370 jobs. Five companies with a connection to the college have expressed interest in the project. – North Bay Nugget

A new program called Scale Without Borders (SWB) aims to support newcomer tech entrepreneurs through networking opportunities, showcases and classes. The program is spearheaded by Nouhaila Chelkhaoui, the lead for Ryerson DMZ’s accelerator and women founders programs. – BetaKit

Suncor will replace coke-fired boilers with two emission-reducing cogeneration units at its Oil Sands Base Plant. The units, which provide energy-efficient steam generation for bitumen extraction, will be in service by 2023 at an estimated project cost of $1.4 billion. The units are also capable of generating 800 megawatts (MW) of power that will be transmitted to Alberta’s energy grid, equivalent to approximately 8% of Alberta’s current electricity demand. – Suncor

Toronto venture capital firm McRock Capital raised $80 million from energy giant Royal Dutch Shell PLC for a fund focused on “industrial internet of things” (IIOT). This is the second time McRock Capital has created an IIOT-focused fund: the first, in 2015, raised $70-million and saw the successful backing of Miovision Technologies of Kitchener, Ont., and Calgary-based Decisive Farming; now the firm is aiming for $100 million. – Globe and Mail

ISED announced more than $40 million in investments for innovation projects: $27 million for projects across Edmonton and surrounding areas through the Business Scale-up and Productivity program, the Regional Innovation Ecosystems program, and the the Western Diversification Program; $13 million investment for three Niagara, Ont.-based projects through FedDev Ontario; and $453,000 for two projects led by the Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC). – BetaKit

Ottawa-based ecommerce giant Shopify has acquired warehouse automation and management technology developer 6 River Systems for $450 million. The acquisition gives the company access to the same robotics experts from Kiva Systems who helped develop Amazon’s robotics business. The deal is part of Shopify’s $1-billion plan announced in June to launch a network of fulfilment warehouses and shipping logistics capabilities in the United States. – TechCrunch

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board is pushing into private credit to make up for dwindling yields elsewhere. CPIB increased its private debt investments from $5.1 billion in 2011 to $32.7 billion at the end of March. The pension fund is now reporting more than $400 billion in assets. – BNN Bloomberg

Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) has issued seven recommendations aimed at supporting economic growth, competitiveness and the fight against climate change by investing in skills and innovation. The recommendations include expanding SME participation in the R&D ecosystem by investing in business innovation engagement services based in colleges, institutes and polytechnics; investing in social innovation research; and supporting  the development of a national framework to promote the integration of climate change adaptation and mitigation into postsecondary education. – CiCan

FedDev Ontario is investing $5 million in Brock University through its Community Economic Development and Diversification stream to create a facility aimed at making Niagara a research and innovation leader in bioagriculture, bioscience and chemical manufacturing sectors. – BrockU

THE GRAPEVINE

Norquest College president and CEO Jodi Abbott has announced she’s stepping down and will leave her post in January. Her resignation is the latest in a series of executive departures at post-secondary institutions in Alberta, following new rules introduced by the NDP government in 2018 that limits base pay at universities to $447,000, whereas the president at Norquest is in the second lowest tier and would have a maximum base salary of $267,500. Abbott earned $485,371.84 in salary and benefits in 2018. Under Abbott’s leadership, the college’s enrolment more than doubled to 18,381 students, and she raised $170 million to open the Singhmar Centre for Learning in 2017. – Edmonton Journal

Sun Life Financial appointed Léo Grépin the new president of Sun Life Asia, replacing Claude Accum when he retires at the end of the year. Grépin will be responsible for life, health and wealth-management businesses in the Philippines, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and India, a region that constitutes a fifth of Sun Life’s annual profits. Grépin’s appointment comes at a time when some companies are redirecting their manufacturing from China to Southeast Asia. – Globe and Mail (PAYWALL)

Encana Corporation made changes to its executive team with the promotion of Michael McAllister to president, Brendan McCracken to executive vice president of corporate development and external relations and Greg Givens to chief operating officer. McAllister joined Encana nearly twenty years ago and previously served as Encana’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. He will continue to report to CEO Doug Suttles and will assume leadership responsibilities for operations, exploration and land, marketing and midstream and corporate services. – Encana

 

People

The Short Report, September 4, 2019: Master of Information, ocean protection, beef research

Dalhousie University‘s School of Information Management (SIM) is offering a new title to prospective library studies grad students: Master of Information. The renaming of the Master of Library and Information Studies program reflects changes in the library profession as digital information has become pervasive. The revised program will support more career options related to digital transformation, data management, community engagement and human-centred design. – Dalhousie

Two new challenges have been launched through the Innovative Solutions Canada program: the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is inviting small businesses to develop a computer model that will help specialists determine which vaccination strain would be most successful at preventing and controlling foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks in livestock; and the National Research Council Canada wants SMEs to develop new solutions for medical drug delivery and carbon manufacturing.  – CFIA, NRC

Ottawa has awarded more than $8.2 million for four research projects at Concordia University and McGill University to improve protocols and decision-making to minimize the environmental impacts of oil spills. The projects are funded under the $45.5 million Multi-Partner Research Initiativeto support collaborative research among oil spill experts. The funding for the research projects is part of the $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan. – Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Canadian research network PermafrostNet will receive more than $5 million over five years from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to support permafrost science. The collaboration between 12 universities and more than 40 partner organizations is led by Carleton University’s Stephan Gruber, professor and Canada Research Chair in Climate Change Impacts/Adaptation in Northern Canada. Permafrost underlies more than one-third of the Canadian land surface and nearly all of it will experience thaw during the 21st century. – Carleton University

CANARIE announced $2M in funding to support the Canadian Association of Research Libraries’ (CARL) Portage Network, a national, library-based research data management (RDM) network. The funding will expand Portage services and tools and add capacity to national RDM resources. – CANARIE

The Ontario government opened the Ontario Beef Research Centre in Elora. The centre will provide access to research and technology for Ontario’s 6,800 beef farms, as well as support research related to animal welfare, reproduction, nutrition, meat quality and safety. – Ontario

Vancouver software firm Clio has secured investments from American growth equity firms TCV and JMI Equity totalling US$250-million, which represents the largest single venture-capital financing in Canadian history. Clio provides cloud-based services to lawyers, such as time tracking, case management and billing. With the new financing, co-founder and CEO Jack Newton said he sees the company evolving to become the operating system for law firms. – The Globe and Mail

Alberta Innovates, the Natural Resources Canada Clean Growth Program, and Emissions Reduction Alberta are teaming up with industry partners to fund BIOSALIX, a coal mine reclamation project in Alberta valued at $10.5 million. The project will use municipal organic waste from Edmonton to replenish soil at the mine site in order to grow a willow crop that may be used as a biomass feedstock for renewable energy. – Alberta Innovates

Google’s Sidewalk Labs has partnered with the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan to launch Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners, a company that will invest in “technology-enabled” urban infrastructure, such as dynamic traffic-monitoring systems using multiple sensors. – The Globe and Mail

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada announced a $12-million investment in Rockport Networks to support the company’s $50-million Networking at the Edge (NATE) project, which will create software-enabled network systems for data storage while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. – ISED

Bishop’s University is unveiling $9.3-million in renovated science labs, study spaces and a greenhouse this fall. The renovations will benefit students in astrophysics, biodiversity, epidemiology, cell biology and chemistry. – CBC

The government of Canada is putting $22 million towards a Low Carbon Innovation Centre for the Vancouver region, with a mandate to support green job growth while “aggressively reducing” carbon emissions. The project is part of a $183-million nationwide initiative called Low Carbon Cities of Canada (LC3). LC3 is a partnership between Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to accelerate climate solutions in order to meet 2030 and 2050 carbon reduction targets. – Journal of Commerce

THE GRAPEVINE

Saskatoon-based uranium producer Orano Canada announced that Jim Corman will replace Vincent Martin as president and CEO. Corman joined Orano’s predecessor company, COGEMA, as a geological engineer in 1993 and has held multiple positions in the company since then. He’ll be returning to his home province of Saskatchewan from Paris, France, where he was director of projects and industrial support at Orano Mining. – Globe Newswire

Toronto-based real estate valuation platform iLOOKABOUT (ILA) announced the appointment of James Kelsey as company director. Kelsey led the startup of the Corporate Finance Division for Bank of Montreal, and most recently served as vice chairman of North American Commercial Banking at the Bank of Montreal. – Stockhouse

Halifax-headquartered underwater inspection provider Welaptega appointed Tyler de Gier to general manager for its global business. The appointment is part of the company’s international growth strategy following its acquisition of global subsea equipment and solutions specialist Ashtead Technology in November 2018. – Offshore Engineer

 

 

The Short Report, August 28, 2019: International education, social enterprise, industrial R&D

Innovative Solutions Canada launched three new challenges from Health Canada: develop a tool to help medical professionals rapidly diagnose an infection and identify whether it stems from a virus or bacteria; create a tool that would use artificial intelligence and deep learning to help specialists quickly and effectively match organ donors and compatible recipients; and in a cost-effective way to test mixtures containing micro-organisms to determine the risks they may pose to human health and the environment. Successful small businesses may receive up to $150,000 to refine their R&D, and if accepted into Phase 2, receive up to $1 million to develop a working prototype. – Newswire

Communitech, in partnership with Thomson Reuters Labs and Gowling WLG, announced “Tipping the Scales,” a six-day immersive bootcamp in October for Canadian startups in the legal, tax and regulatory fields. – Financial Post

At Sustainable Development Technology Canada‘s annual public meeting, Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains announced $56 million in funding for 18 cleantech companies across Canada. Canada is number one in the G20 for cleantech innovation. The clean technology market is set to exceed $2.5 trillion by 2022. – Newswire

The federal government will spend nearly $30-million over the next five years to diversify global recruiting for international students coming to study at Canadian colleges and universities. The government will focus its marketing in countries with a growing middle class and where post-secondary capacity is limited. These efforts are part of the $148-million International Education Strategy (2019-2024) released last week. – The Globe and Mail

Ottawa will invest $3 million in WE Charity‘s WE Social Entrepreneurs initiative to support the creation of approximately 200 youth-led enterprises dedicated to addressing social issues at a community level, and will allow 30 already established social enterprises to become investment‑ready. – Newswire

The Government of Canada is investing up to $4.8 million in 21 women-owned or -led businesses and three organizations supporting women entrepreneurship in Quebec: Microcrédit MontréalYouth Employment Services Foundation, and Fédération des agricultrices du Québec. This funding is administered through Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions. – Newswire

Statistics Canada released its latest industrial research and development characteristics. The report states that in-house industrial R&D spending dipped 0.2% from 2016 to $18.7 billion in 2017, and preliminary estimates indicate a further drop to $17.7 billion in 2018, as well as a signal of intent to spend $18.3 billion on R&D activities in 2019. – Statistics Canada

The Institute for Research on Public Policy has released a study concluding that, despite having right conditions for innovation, Canada’s record on patents and IP development is modest at best. Researchers Nancy Gallini from Vancouver School of Economics and Aidan Hollis from the University of Calgary found that Canadians are increasingly likely to transfer or sell their IP to foreign entities rather than continuing to develop it in Canada. – IRPP

Transport Canada has selected two small businesses in Waterloo — LabForge Inc and Brisk Synergies Tech Corp — to develop a new system to enhance the safety of vulnerable road users by equipping commercial vehicles with sensors to alert drivers to possible collisions. – Newswire

THE GRAPEVINE

Montreal AI start-up Deeplite announced the appointment of Nick Romano as its President and CEO. Romano will guide the company toward full commercialization of its software platform that automatically improves the speed and energy-efficiency of deep neural networks. Romano is a serial entrepreneur who founded and grew Messagepoint (f.k.a. Prinova) into a global PROFIT500 company. – Newswire

The Transition Accelerator, a new national organization seeking to solve major business or social challenges where significant GHG reductions can be built into the solutions, has appointed Dan Wicklum its CEO. Wicklum was CEO of Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), executive director of the Canadian Forest Innovation Council, and a senior manager at Environment and Climate Change Canada and Natural Resources Canada. – Newswire

Canadian Science Policy Fellow Shawn McGuirk has been promoted to the position of Senior Policy Advisor at NSERC. McGuirk is a doctoral candidate and CIHR Vanier Scholar at the Goodman Cancer Research Centre at McGill University. – LinkedIn

Number 8 / Volume 33 / August 21, 2019

News Bites

News Briefs

The Short Report, August 21, 2019: Bio-manufacturing, insurance innovation, women entrepreneurs

The Academic Ranking of World Universities released its list of top 1000 universities worldwide, with four Canadian universities in the top 100: University of Toronto (24), University of British Columbia (35), McGill University (90) and McMaster University (also 90). – ARWU 2019

Genome Ontario has published a proposal to the Strategic Innovation Fund‘s National Ecosystems Stream, to establish a National Synthetic Biology-Enabled, Sustainable Bio-Manufacturing and Bio-Technology Ecosystem in Canada. Together with the Genome Canada Enterprise, the proposed ecosystem would seek to establish Canada as a global leader in novel, industrial scale advanced bio-manufacturing technologies, with a focus on the industrial biotechnology, agriculture and agri-food, and health and biosciences sectors. – Genome Ontario

Bayer is acquiring Blue Rock Therapeutics, a stem cell therapy commercialization venture now headquartered in New York but originally based in Toronto, where it still has offices. Bayer already owned a 40.8 percent stake and will pay US$240 million in cash upfront for the remaining shares, as well as an additional US$360 million payable upon achievement of pre-defined development milestones. – Newswire

The Centre for Study of Insurance Operations (CSIO) announced the launch of its Innovation and Emerging Technology Advisory Committee, or INNOTECH, to evaluate the application of new and emerging technology and digital innovation in the P&C insurance industry. – Canadian Underwriter

Quebec steel manufacturer Verbom will receive over $960,000 in funding through Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED) under the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program Steel and Aluminum Initiative to develop production equipment and tools. – Newswire

Innovation Guelph received $1,879,983 from the federal government to expand its Rhyze Project, which helps local women entrepreneurs find venture capital and mentorship. The funding is part of Ottawa’s $2-billion Women’s Entrepreneurship Strategy. – BetaKit

Steel manufacturer Stelco will receive almost $50 million in federal funding to modernize its facilities and improve sustainability. The funding joins $451 million in projects that the Hamilton company is undertaking over the next two years, which CEO David Cheney says will add 75 jobs. – CBC

The Ontario government is earmarking $1.2 million for the University of Guelph to fund research into bio-products, waste reduction and recycling technologies. The projects focus on finding replacements for plastic. The money is part of the province’s annual investment of $5.8 million into the Agri-Food Innovation Alliance. – Guelph Mercury

The Tri-council agencies are “looking for a seamless solution” to help manage their research grants and awards. The solution should counter the problems associated with aging systems, out-of-date technology, and inconsistent data architecture. – Twitterbuyandsell.gc.ca

GRAPEVINE

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced the creation of a new advisory committee to help promote apprenticeships and skilled trades across Canada. The committee will lead consultations, explore partnerships and provide advice to the federal minister of employment, workforce development and labour. Members named to the committee include Mandy Rennehan, founder and CEO of Freshco, Jamie McMillan, ironworker and founder of Kickass Careers, and Matt Wayland, executive assistant with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. – CTV News

The Government of Canada announced appointments to the Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization (CASDO): Philip Rizcallah as Chief Executive Officer, Paul Claude Bérubé as Chair, and Mary Reid as Vice Chair. CASDO is a new organization that was established by the Accessible Canada Act; its purpose is to develop accessibility standards for the federal jurisdiction. – Newswire

Short Report, August 14, 2019: International research, ocean analytics, smart farm

The Trade Commissioner Service has renamed its Going Global Innovation (GGI) program to CanExport Innovation (CXI). The program offers grants to support the early-stage development of international research partnerships. It is designed to minimize the cost of finalizing relationships where there has already been interest between the research partners. Through CXI, Canadian innovators can access up to 75% of eligible project costs to a maximum $75,000 in non-repayable business grants, typically for targeted trips spanning less than one week abroad. Eligible applicants include small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); universities, colleges, or other academic institutions; and non-governmental research centres. – MentorWorks

Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) has officially launched a Sensing, Engineering and Analytics-Technology Access Centre (SEA-TAC), with the help of a $1.75 million investment from the Government of Canada. Located at NSCC’s Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE), the centre will offer applied research and problem-solving services to external clients for a fee, allowing them to access capabilities like coastal mapping, subsea imaging, vessel energy audits, data analytics and big data visualization, topo-bathymetric lidar and 3D modelling. – NSCC

Science Minister Kirsty Duncan announced more than $61 million for state-of-the-art research labs and equipment through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF). This investment will support 261 projects at 40 universities across Canada. – Newswire

Ottawa is committing nearly $7.5 million in funding for seven projects to support talent attraction, skills development, and digital innovation in Manitoba. The funding includes $2.2 million for the Information and Communication Technologies Association of Manitoba, which received $2,243,972 to establish the P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College High School) program in Manitoba. Other beneficiaries include Economic Development Winnipeg, New Media Manitoba, Pricerazzi Inc and Tangent Holdings. – Newswire

The federal government is taking a two-pronged approach to supporting Canadian companies, says Navdeep Bains in an interview with the Daily Hive: investing in platforms like the innovation superclusters, and investing in talent, such as by offering access to digital skills training. Bains also attested that that “companies that are really high growth – in the billions of dollars – are staying in Canada.” Looking ahead, Bains is focused on digital transformation and digital transparency. – The Daily Hive

Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) is awarding $1.9 million in Regional Innovation Ecosystems (RIE) funding for the second phase of the Olds College Smart Farm (OCSF) in Alberta. The funding will enable the smart farm to acquire agricultural equipment and advanced sensor technologies to support its development, testing, validation, and scale-up of agricultural technologies. – Newswire

The Trade Commissioner Service‘s (TCS) cleantech director Jean-Philippe Linteau says that Canada is positioned to lead in cleantech oil and gas innovation. “A key message for you is to remember that Canada is an energy powerhouse, and that we are also a cleantech leader, and so there is no country that is better positioned to be out there leading the transition to the clean resources nexus. This is where we are going and it’s incumbent upon us as Canadians to help the world make that transition,” Linteau told attendees to a Cleantech Global Workshop at the Global Petroleum Show. – JWN

APPOINTMENTS AND AWARDS

Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains named the directors on the board of Canada’s new College of Patent Agents and Trademark Agents: Jeffrey Astle (Associate General Counsel—Intellectual Property for Pratt & Whitney Canada Corp.), Karima Bawa (senior fellow with the Centre for International Governance Innovation), Thomas G. Conway (board chair; partner at Conway Baxter Wilson LLP), Ruth McHugh (chief operating officer at the Office of the Auditor General of Alberta) and Douglas B. Thompson (founding partner at Thompson Cooper LLP). The board is tasked with establishing the College, as well as creating a licensing system to govern the profession, which is currently regulated by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. The College will operate as an independent regulator responsible for enforcing a code of professional conduct and implementing requirements for professional development. It is one of the initiatives under Canada’s five-year, $85.3-million Intellectual Property Strategy. – Canada.ca

Data integration and analytics software provider Palantir Technologies announced the appointment of David MacNaughton as president of Palantir Canada. MacNaughton is stepping down as the Canadian Ambassador to the United States at the end of this month. He served in that position since March, 2016 and helped Canada negotiate the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement in 2017. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland attributed securing the removal of the U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum to MacNaughton’s leadership. MacNaughton’s new role at Palantir will be to build relationships with Canadian organizations that are looking to change how they use and leverage their data. – Financial Post

People

The Short Report, August 7, 2019: Intelligent communities, advanced wood, cyber security

Montreal came in first for innovation on a ranking of intelligent communities by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF). ICF ranks communities by their ability “to generate innovation in business and government for economic but also social and cultural growth.” Their metrics cover innovation programs available in the community; online services provided by local government or public agencies; collaboration among businesses, government and institutions; and projects that seek to develop a self-sustaining innovation ecosystem. Montreal was recognized for its ICT, aerospace, life sciences, health technologies and clean tech clusters, which together contain more than 6,250 companies employing about 10% of the workforce. – ICF

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has announced a new funding program to assess the impact of patient oriented research, or research that engages patients as partners and that focusses on patient-identified priorities. The Patient-Oriented Research Impact Assessment Grants are sponsored by the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR), a national coalition of federal, provincial and territorial partners dedicated to the integration of research into care. The total amount available for these grants is $1 million, enough to fund approximately 20 grants. The maximum amount per grant is $50,000 per year for up to one year. – ResearchNet

The government of Canada has announced a $2.5-million investment in the Canadian Wood Council’s Advanced Wood Education Roadmap to promote the benefits and opportunities associated with wood construction. This project will design and implement new Canadian post-secondary learning curricula, resources and tools, as well as work placements. Funding for the project is provided through Natural Resources Canada’s Green Construction through Wood program. The program aims to position Canada as a world leader in tall wood construction technologies and the low-carbon economy. Plans for wooden skyscrapers are proliferating in Canadian cities, such as the proposal by Sidewalk Labs in Toronto to construct all the buildings from Canadian timber. – Newswire

Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC) has announced a new challenge to small businesses, led by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). The CBSA is looking for a solution that will allow audio and video recordings requested under the the Access to Information Act to be edited automatically so that no individual other than the requestor can be identified on the footage released. – Newswire

The Government of Canada released its National Cyber Security Action Plan for the next five years and relaunched the Cyber Security Cooperation Program with $10.3 million available over five years to support initiatives in the area of cyber security in Canada. The call for proposals will be open from August 7, 2019 to August 28, 2019; proposals will be evaluated by a panel of Government of Canada cyber security experts. – Newswire

Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Natural Resources, announced an investment of over $1.5 million to the Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning at McGill University, for a project that will test and validate a better approach to fragmenting underground rock deposits using specialized chemicals that expand and break apart rocks without blasting. This project is funded through Natural Resources Canada‘s Clean Growth Program, which invests in clean technology research and development projects in Canada’s energy, mining and forestry sectors. – Newswire

Premier Jason Kenney‘s UCP government has stopped processing applications to an Alberta investor tax credit program that supports investments in sectors like IT, cleantech and healthtech, among others. Justin Brattinga, press secretary for Economic Development Minister Tanya Fir, said the future is uncertain for this and other business tax credits introduced by the NDP government, and indicated that the provincial government has already taken steps to improve competitiveness by cutting the corporate tax rate. – Calgary Herald

APPOINTMENTS AND AWARDS

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) has appointed its first Departmental Science Advisor, Dr. Shawn J. Marshall from the University of Calgary. Marshall is a professor in the Geography Department and has over 100 peer-reviewed publications, with a focus on glacier-climate processes and glacier response to climate change. Reporting to the Deputy Minister, Marshall’s mandate is to provide specialized advice on fostering a culture of scientific excellence, harnessing opportunities for collaboration, and leveraging external science perspectives on science priorities. He will also participate in senior level interdepartmental discussions on government science, while collaborating with the Chief Science Advisor and other science advisors from other departments and agencies. – R$ Exclusive

The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), Quebec’s largest pension fund, is seeking a Montreal-based portfolio manager to construct and manage a new $1-2B portfolio of securities dedicated to disruptive business models. The successful candidate will be tasked with a three-part mandate: to invest in disruptive companies, evaluate disruption risks in new investments across CDPQ’s portfolio, and monitor portfolio exposure to risks relating to disruptive technologies. – The Logic (Subscriber), CDPQ

Canada’s chief information officer Alex Benay is leaving his post to become chief client officer at the Ottawa-based firm Mindbridge Analytics Inc., which seeks to transform the auditing industry using AI. In June, the company announced that it had raised $15.1 million in VC financing and secured a federal government funding commitment of $14.5 million to be paid over seven years. “This opportunity was not part of the plan but it’s hard to pass up. The product is maturing, the impact on people is amazing, the team is growing and the money is there,” Benay told the Globe and Mail. During his tenure in government, Benay led the adoption of a “cloud first” strategy, spearheaded the process to find a replacement for the failed Phoenix payroll system, and co-founded the CIO Strategy Council, alongside former BlackBerry CEO Jim Balsillie. – The Globe and Mail

 

The Short Report, July 31, 2019: Women-led businesses, medical technologies, autonomous greenhouses

Ottawa will invest up to $49.5-million into the Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network (CAAIN) for the development of AI, robotics and precision agriculture, in order to reduce reliance on temporary labour and improve profitability for Canadian farmers. CAAIN is led by Alberta Innovates, Lakeland College, and the Vineland Research & Innovation Centre out of Ontario. – Lethbridge News Now

Alberta Innovates has put several of its funding programs for entrepreneurs on hold due to uncertainty over the province’s delayed budget. “We are reviewing all funding programs at Alberta Innovates to ensure that they meet these priorities and that these programs are providing the best value for Albertans’ tax dollars,” said press secretary Justin Brattinga. – The Globe and Mail

George Brown College has partnered with robotics companies GlobalDWS and Autonetics Universe to study the potential of service robots on campus. As part of this partnership, George Brown received “Georgie” the Robot, which resides at the Teaching and Learning Exchange (TLX). – George Brown College

The 20 members of the University Climate Change Coalition, or UC3, announced a platform to fight climate change during its inaugural conference at the University of British Columbia. The universities pledge to accelerate research, lower on-campus emissions and push for progressive climate policy at all levels of government. – Vancouver Sun

A team comprised of researchers from Microsoft Research (MSR) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) has won the first international Autonomous Greenhouse Challenge to create an AI greenhouse control system that could grow a successful crop with limited resources and minimal direct human involvement. “Microsoft Research had the AI expertise, but expertise in greenhouse crop science and lighting is also needed for successful crop production. That’s where we came in,” said AAFC’s Dr. Xiuming Hao, advisor to the project. The competition was put on by Wageningen University & Research (WUR) in the Netherlands and corporate sponsor Tencent. – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

The Government of Canada announced investments totalling more than $4.5 million for women-owned or -led businesses in Saskatchewan through the Women Entrepreneurship Fund. Businesses receiving funding include Clevor Technologies Inc in Saskatoon and Destination Leadership Inc in Regina. – Newswire

A $20 million proposed project to help healthtech companies commercialize their technologies has received an initial $7 million investment from the federal government. CAN Health Network will enable startups and SMEs to work with early adopter institutions to research and develop medical technologies for market. The project will be spearheaded by Dante Morra, chief of staff of Trillium Health Partners, and Deepak Kaura, chief medical officer of 1QBit. – BetaKit

Carbonix, an Indigenous-led clean technology pilot project for capturing contaminants from industrial waste streams, has received $3.1-million from the federal government through Natural Resources Canada’s $155-million Clean Growth program. – Canadian Mining Journal

APPOINTMENTS AND AWARDS

Gillian Hadfield has been named the inaugural director of the University of Toronto’s new $100-million Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society, and the inaugural Schwartz Reisman Chair in Technology and Society. Hadfield re-joined U of T’s Faculty of Law last year after teaching for 17 years at the University of Southern California. Hadfield was a fellow at Stanford’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. Her research spans different disciplines and illustrates the centre’s emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches. – U of T News

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) announced the appointment of four new council members: Dr. Susan Chatwood, Scientific Director, Institute for Circumpolar Health Research; Dr. Darren Lawless, Dean of Applied Research and Innovation, Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning; Dr. Ishwar K. Puri, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and professor of mechanical engineering, McMaster University; and Dr. Wendy Watson-Wright, Chief Executive Officer, Ocean Frontier Institute. The appointments were made under the Government of Canada’s new approach to Governor in Council appointments. – Newswire

Carleton University’s Michael Weiss has received a $560,000 grant from the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), PROMPT and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to develop an Open Source Cyber Fusion Centre. Weiss and colleagues Steven Muegge, professor in the Sprott School of Business, and Tony Bailetti, director of Carleton’s Technology Innovation Management (TIM) Program, will collaborate with industrial partners eGloo and AvanTech, as well as Concordia University.  – Carleton University

33-7 / Volume 33 / July 24, 2019

Editorial:
Mark Mann

If the health of our biosphere isn’t reason enough to fund vital cleantech innovation, the strength of our economy should be.

Read More

News Bites

News Briefs

The Short Report, July 24, 2019: 5G, Indigenous health, John Knubley

Rogers Communications has partnered with Waterloo accelerator Communitech to open a 5G innovation lab, opening in September and focusing on smart city, IoT and enterprise applications. – Yahoo Finance

Saskatoon-based software company Vendasta Technologies Inc. has raised $40-million in venture capital, the largest ever for a Saskatchewan tech company. – The Globe and Mail

Ottawa calls it the largest single investment in Indigenous health research: $100 million through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) over 16 years to establish a national network of centres focused on research, development and knowledge translation for Indigenous health. – CTV News

Algonquin College and George Brown College have formed a research alliance to develop, implement and test new models for innovation and collaboration for applied research. The partnership includes the possibility of pursuing joint application and grant proposals, and connecting students and faculty with shared interests. – Algonquin College

Minister of Science and Sport Kirsty Duncan announced $285 million through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) for over 6,900 researchers and graduate students across Canada, to fund research in areas including education, immigration, Indigenous health and the environment. Minister Duncan made the announcement at the University of New Brunswick, where she also signed the Dimensions charter for embedding the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion in the policies, practices, action plans and culture of participating institutions. – Canada.ca

APPOINTMENTS AND AWARDS

The Canadian Agri-food Policy Institute (CAPI) has announced governance changes: Chantelle Donahue, current Vice-President and Commercial Seed Manager for the Global Edible Oil Solutions division at Cargill, was elected to the position of Chair of the Board of Directors, succeeding John F.T. Scott; and Stéphanie Hamelin was elected to the position of Vice-Chair, taking over from Claude Lafleur. – CAPI

As of June 28, John Knubley has stepped down from the federal public service after seven years as Deputy Minister at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED). Previously, Knubley served as Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs at the Privy Council Office, and held other senior positions in various departments and bodies, including Transport, Infrastructure and Communities; Natural Resources; and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA). – R$ exclusive

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) welcomed Dr. Shawn J. Marshall to the position of Departmental Science Advisor (DSA) at Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). Marshall is a professor at the University of Calgary Department of Geography. His research projects include field and modelling studies in the Canadian Rockies, the Canadian Arctic, and Greenland. – PIPSC

The 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

The Short Report, June 26, 2019: Dementia, Ontario chief scientist, AI for travel

The Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging is receiving $46 million over five years: $31.6 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and $14.4 million from partners, including the Alzheimer Society. Headquartered at Baycrest in Toronto, the second phase of CCNA’s research program will include a large-scale study to evaluate the effectiveness of new approaches to dementia prevention that may include a combination of medication, diet, exercise, and cognitive training. – GoC

Sidewalk Labs has released its draft Master Innovation and Development Plan for Toronto’s eastern waterfront. The three volume document—Toronto Tomorrow—examines the planning concepts and proposed operational systems, the urban innovations (mobility, public realm, buildings and housing, sustainability and digital innovation), and the public-private partnerships. The draft master plan also includes plans for an “urban innovation campus” for start-ups and a new Google Canada headquarters. – Sidewalk Toronto

George Brown College has teamed with the City of Toronto, MaRS discovery District, and Refined Manufacturing Acceleration Process (Re-MAP) to create a new urban light-manufacturing space for entrepreneurs in Toronto. The mixed-use complex at 440 Dufferin St., will house a 5,574 square-metre light-manufacturing space, including 1,347 square-metres dedicated to the incubator, called Factory 6. The project is slated to open in July 2020. – GBC

The National Research Council of Canada has announced the first round of collaborative research projects funded through the New Beginnings Initiative, which supports small-scale, exploratory research projects with external collaborators. Under the $2-million annual initiative, the NRC will partner with 47 researchers across 22 organizations. – GoC

The Fonds Nature et technologies (FRQNT) and the Fonds Culture et société (FRQSC) are providing $3.6 million over six years to the Centre for interdisciplinary research into the operationalization of sustainable development. Under CIRODD, researchers in the engineering, social sciences and healthcare sectors take an interdisciplinary approach to issues such as sustainable mobility, changing behaviours and practices and optimizing the consumption of electricity through the use of artificial intelligence in Quebec. – Newswire

Austerity measures in the recent Ontario budget have claimed another R&D initiative, WaterTAP, the Water Technology Acceleration Project.  The Toronto-based project announced it will cease operations June 30, after its funding was terminated in March by the Ministry of Economic Develop, Job Creation and Trade. Since 2012, WaterTAP has provided commercialization and business support to over 300 companies. (Related: Ontario Budget 2019 takes “slice-and-dice” strategy to research funding) – WaterTAP

Researchers and institutions have until August 1 to provide their wish-list for the next phase of the New Frontiers Research Fund. The online consultation is inviting researchers and institutions to provide feedback on the “Transformation stream”, which will support large-scale, Canadian-led interdisciplinary research projects that address a major challenge. The competition will award $144 million over six years, with individual awards of up to $4 million per year. – GoC

Canada will lead one of nine action groups under the Blue Charter—a commitment made by the 53 Commonwealth member states to work together to solve ocean-related problems. Canada will head the Ocean Observations Action Group which will advance opportunities to increase the innovation, development and deployment of ocean observational technologies; accessibility of ocean observational data, knowledge and best practices among Commonwealth countries; political cooperation to better integrate ocean observational data, information and knowledge into decisions, products and services within the Commonwealth; and gender issues within the context of ocean science. – The Commonwealth

Evidence for Democracy says it hasn’t seen “any indication that the Ontario government has made any efforts to fill the chief scientist position”. The advocacy group describes the responses it received to two Freedom of Information requests to the Ontario government as “disappointing”, saying it was denied access to most documents related to research funding, or required to pay “a prohibitive fee” for information that it “is likely to lack significant value”. Dr. Molly Shoichet held the position until she was dismissed by the Progressive Conservative government after it was elected in 2018. – ED

Canada has placed six universities in the top 200 of the QS World University Rankings 2020: University of Toronto (U of T) (29), McGill University (35), University of British Columbia (UBC) (51), University of Alberta (U of A) (113), University of Montreal (UM) (137), and University of Waterloo (173). Canada fared slightly better in the Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities (NTU Ranking) for 2019, released by National Taiwan University. Nine Canadian universities made the top 200: U of T (4), UBC (27), McGill (47), U of A (81), UM (104), McMaster University (119), University of Calgary (132), University of Ottawa (147), and Western University (197). – World University Rankings; NTU Ranking

Carleton University becomes the ninth regional hub for the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH), a federal government-supported national network and digital platform for sharing research, resources and best practices among female entrepreneurs. – Carleton University

MicroSintesis, a Charlottetown, PEI-based life science company focused on developing proprietary microbiome therapies, has closed a $16.4-million minority investment from Toronto-based  Northern Private Capital (NPC), an investment vehicle of CFFI Ventures, a company controlled by John Risley, founder of Clearwater Fine Foods. The funding will be used to scale-up production of the company’s products and build out the company’s research capabilities and platform to deliver a new generation of microbiome products dedicated to improving livestock, companion animal, and human health. – Newswire

Canopy Growth Corp.’s investment arm, Canopy Rivers, is investing USD $10 million in San Diego CA-based ZeaKal Inc., creators of a proprietary technology that increases photosynthesis, improves plant yield and enhances nutritional profiles for a variety of agricultural crops. The investment will enable ZeaKal to expand field trials currently underway in Canada, the U.S. and New Zealand to include cannabis and hemp. Canopy Rivers will also own 8.7% of ZeaKal. – Newswire

Vancouver-based Nextleap Solutions Ltd. has entered an agreement to buy a hydrocarbon extraction process and formula for a cannabis concentrate known as “shatter”, set to become legal in Canada on October 17. – Newswire

A new $180-million, seven-year international DNA barcoding project launched in June, led by the University of Guelph and U of G professor Dr. Paul Hebert. The project, which aims to catalogue every living thing on Earth, involves more than 1,000 researchers from about 30 countries. –  U of G

McMaster University is planning to launch the David Braley Centre for Antibiotic Resistance to tackle the growing global threat of antimicrobial resistance. The $7 million for the new centre comes from a $50-million gift made to the university by David Braley in 2007 for teaching, learning and health-care research and delivery. – McMaster

Montreal-based M&A firm FNC Capital has signed a five-year, $5-million partnerships with artificial intelligence company Stradigi AI, Montreal, to develop AI solutions for the airline and travel industry. In May, FNC announced plans to acquire Quebec-based airliner, Transat A.T.Newswire

APPOINTMENTS AND AWARDS

Dr. Rui Wang will begin a five-year term as the new dean, Faculty of Science at York University effective Jan. 1, 2020. Wang joined York in August 2018 as a professor of biology and since May 1, has served as interim VP research and innovation. He has also been leading the planning for York’s new campus in Markham, ON. – YorkU

Barbara Dirks, head of Silicon Valley Bank’s Canadian division, is leaving her position for personal reasons. Dirks was appointed to the new position in March 2018. – G&M

The federal government has created a new Canadian Statistics Advisory Council to provide the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and the Chief Statistician of Canada with impartial and independent advice on the quality of Canada’s national statistical system, in keeping with Canada’s Digital Charter. The council will be chaired by Dr. Teresa Scassa, Canada Research Chair in Information Law and Policy at the University of Ottawa. The other members are: Gurmeet Ahluwalia, Managing Partner, StratExLead; David Chaundy, president and CEO, the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council; Annette Hester, principal of TheHesterview; Jan Kestle, president and CEO, Environics Analytics; Céline Le Bourdais, Distinguished James McGill Professor of Sociology at McGill University; Gail McDonald, Akwesasne Heritage Complex Project Developer, Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe; Dr. Howard Ramos, Associate Dean Research, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Dalhousie University; and Dr. Michael C. Wolfson, health consultant and former Canada Research Chair in Population Health Modeling, University of Ottawa. – Newswire

The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) has appointed two new directors to its board for a three-year term: Nobina Robinson, former chief executive officer of Polytechnics Canada, and Dr. A. Scott Carson, a professor of governance and strategy at the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University. – HEQCO

Fertilizer Canada has inducted Dr. Cynthia Grant to the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame. The soil fertility and crop nutrition researcher recently retired from the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Research Centre in Brandon, MB. Grant is just the tenth women—out of more than 200 people—to have been inducted into the Hall of Fame since 1960. – Fertilizer Canada

People

The Short Report, July 17, 2019: Frailty, electric vehicles, cloud computing

A new report by the Toronto Region Board of Trade’s World Trade Centre Toronto (WTC-T) argues that the Toronto region needs a better scaleup ecosystem to grow its small and medium enterprises. Titled ”Defying Gravity: Building a Scaleup Ecosystem,” the report claims that the region provides ample support to tech startups through its numerous accelerators and incubators, but lacks support and resources for scaleups. As a consequence, Toronto lags behind international competitors in its capacity to generate high-growth firms. – Defying Gravity: Building a Scaleup Ecosystem

The Canadian Frailty Network and the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging (MIRA) have partnered with health technology firm Metabolon Inc to develop a $4-million research program that will perform large-scale metabolomic profiling and biomarker identification with samples from the Canadian Longitudinal Study of Aging (CLSA), a national research platform on aging involving 50,000 men and women in Canada. – Biospace

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) announced two investments worth a total of $4 million: $2,085,600 for the Centre for Women in Business (CWB) at Mount Saint Vincent University to develop and deliver an intensive management program called “Greater Heights for Growth,” targeted at women business owners who have built profitable businesses in high-growth sectors and are generating revenue of $1 million or more; and $1,940,292 for the Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs (NLOWE) to create the Atlantic Canadian Women in Business Growth Partnership, alongside other organizations in Atlantic Canada that support women in business. – MSVU

Montreal-founded, San Francisco-based startup Sonder will open a second headquarters in Canada after raising US$210 million in financing, bringing its valuation to over $1 billion. Sonder founder Francis Davidson says that Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal are possible hosts for the new headquarters. The company offers a rival service to AirBnB and currently employs 900 people, of which 140 are located in Canada. – The Globe and Mail

Suncor will receive $4.6 million in SIF funding to build 92 electric vehicle (EV) fast chargers at its Petro-Canada locations across the country. The funding is part of Ottawa’s $182.5-million investment to build a coast-to-coast charging network for electric vehicles, with 500 fast chargers to be built this year and hundreds more expected over the next two years. Another $130 million from Budget 2019 is being invested in charging infrastructure, alongside a new incentive worth up to $5,000 for Canadians who purchase or lease a zero-emission vehicle. – Newswire

FedDev Ontario will contribute $14 million to Niagara College to expand the Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI), a network of seven post-secondary institutions that pools resources and expertise to support smaller manufacturers to adopt cutting-edge technologies. The new funding will allow SONAMI to add three new post-secondary institutions and provide greater expertise in areas such as bio-industrial manufacturing, green product manufacturing and intelligent manufacturing. The FedDev investment leverages over $24 million in funding, including $14 million from industry collaborators and $10.3 million from SONAMI member post-secondary institutions. – Canada.ca

Amazon Web Services (AWS) will launch a Cloud Innovation Centre (CIC) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, with a focus on health and wellbeing. Called the UBC Community Health and Wellbeing CIC, the centre is the first of its kind in Canada and will officially open in early 2020. – UBC

APPOINTMENTS AND AWARDS

The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada named Pierre Pettigrew as the new chair of its board of directors. An executive advisor at Deloitte Canada, Pettigrew was the Government of Canada’s special envoy for the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and arbitrates international trade disputes at the World Trade Organization. During his years as a Member of Parliament (1996-2006), Pettigrew served as minister of Foreign Affairs, minister for International Trade and minister for International Cooperation. – Asia Pacific Foundation

Tom Corr is resigning from his role as president and CEO of Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), following recent news that 30-50% of staff were laid off due to funding cuts by the provincial government. Claudia Krywiak, VP of corporate development, planning and strategic initiatives, will serve as interim CEO until OCE can appoint a permanent replacement. During his tenure, Core “refocused the organization to stimulate business-led innovation and accelerate commercialization of leading-edge technologies,” according to a statement by the OCE. – BetaKit

The Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA) has appointed Suzanne Grant its interim CEO following the sudden passing of president and CEO John Reid on June 24. Grant was the cofounder and CEO of health-tech company iBIONICS, and is a current Entrepreneur In Residence at the CATA Women in Technology Forum. “John was one of a kind and we shared a passion for pulling others up. I am humbled by this appointment and with the support of Canada’s small and medium tech business leaders, we will carry the torch assuring John’s legacy and ensuring CATA’s impact flourishes,” Grant said in a statement.  CATA

The University of Ottawa’s Institute for Science, Society and Policy is launching five new Research and Engagement Clusters: Arctic Change, headed by Jackie Dawson, Canada Research Chair in Environment, Society and Policy; Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, headed by Jason Millar, Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in the Ethical Engineering of Robotics and AI; Energy, headed by Monica Gattinger, Director of the ISSP; Inclusive Innovation, headed by Kelly Bronson, Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Science and Society and co-headed by Sandra Schillo, associate professor at The Telfer School of Management; and Risk, Technology and Security, headed by Mark Salter, professor at the School of Political Studies. – ISSP

Stefan Leslie will be leaving his role as executive director of the Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response Network (MEOPAR) to become the CEO of the newly-formed Research Nova Scotia (RNS). An independent, not-for-profit corporation, RNS was created by the provincial legislature six months ago to support, organize and coordinate funding for research in Nova Scotia. Leslie previously worked for Fisheries and Oceans Canada. “I am looking forward to bringing my background in both government and working with a non-profit research organization to Research Nova Scotia as it works to enhance the province’s research capacity,” Leslie said in a statement. – Research Nova Scotia

The Short Report, July 3, 2019: Geothermal energy, digital task force, biofoam

Razor Energy Corp has received $5 million from Natural Resources Canada and $2 million from Alberta Innovates to co-produce a geothermal electricity project at an active oil and gas operation. The University of Alberta will conduct geothermal research in association with the project. – Newswire

Nova Scotia-based company CarbonCure Technologies has partnered with Hawaii’s HC&D Ready Mix (HC&D) to produce CO2 mineralized concrete, as part of the state’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. – CarbonCure

The SCALE.AI supercluster in Montreal selected its first set of projects, comprising initiatives to explore how AI can be used to reduce costs and improve efficiencies in the consumer goods, farming, telecom and shipping sectors. A federal investment of up to $2 million in these projects will be matched by $3.1 million in contributions from industry and other partners. – Newswire

Alberta hemp producer Rowland Farms, along with its research partners Corteva Canada and Botaneco, have been chosen as the first recipients of a Protein Industries Canada Supercluster grant. The $4-million matching grant will support applied research to develop new processing capabilities. – Lethbridge Herald

WELL Health Technologies Corp acquired KAI Innovations, a Toronto-based SaaS company that helps clinics and doctors transition health information to electronic medical records (EMR). – BetaKit

Innovative Solutions Canada announced the launch of a plastics challenge led by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) for the development of a new kind of foam insulation to be derived from Canadian forest residue. – Newswire

The University of Manitoba officially opened its Smartpark Innovation Hub, a 75,000-square-foot “information exchange centre” intended to facilitate partnerships between industry, government, and the University. – UM Today

Natural Products Canada (NPC) announced three new commercialization programs for members of its innovation cluster: an executive talent program, a proof-of-concept program, and a go-to-market program. – Natural Products Canada

APPOINTMENTS AND AWARDS

Bell Canada COO Mirko Bibic will assume leadership of the company when CEO George Cope retires on January 5, 2020. Bibic is currenty responsible for Bell Mobility, Bell Residential and Small Business, and Bell Business Markets (BBM), and has led Bell’s broadband leadership strategy. – Newswire

Algoma University in Ontario appointed Dr. Paulette Steeves as the Tier II Canada Research Chair in Healing and Reconciliation. Steeves has received $500 thousand to continue her work creating a database of archaeology sites in North and South America that demonstrate the presence of Indigenous First Nations people as far back as 200,000 years. – The Sault Star

The Ontario government announced the creation of a Digital and Data Task Force, as well as consultations for the development and implementation of its provincial data strategy. The task force will be chaired by Linda Mantia, former Senior Executive Vice-President and Group Chief Operating Officer of Manulife Financial, and vice-chaired by Bryan Smith, co-founder and CEO of Toronto-based tech company ThinkData Works. Other members: Bilal Khan (Deloitte Data), Avner Levin (Ted Rogers School of Management), Maithili Mavinkurve (Sightline Innovation), Shyam Oberoi (Royal Ontario Museum), Mark Sakamoto (Think Research), and Kirsten Thompson (Dentons Canada LLP). – Ontario.ca

Number 6 / Volume 33 / June 19, 2019

Editorial

Two leading life sciences innovation organizations are merging to provide the scale and depth Canada’s industry needs to compete globally.

Read More

Emerging Tech: Creating a Quantum Canada

Seed-stage companies are bolstering Canada’s position as a global leader in quantum science and technology. The question of how to maintain and grow that advantage—built through sustained investment in quantum research and development—has never been more urgent and is preoccupying academics, policymakers and innovators across the country.

Read More

Opinion Leader

Canada needs small-scale vaccine manufacturing to support research, and help save human and animal lives

The lack of affordable small-scale manufacturing has been a persistent challenge for Canadian researchers, and a gap in the country’s biomedical landscape.

Read More

News Bites

News Briefs

The Short Report, June 19, 2019 – Research chairs, cybersecurity, Strategic Innovation Fund

Science and Sports minister Kirsty Duncan has announced over $275 million for 346 new and renewed Canada Research Chairs at 52 institutions across Canada. It was the most gender diverse competition yet: 47% women, 22% visible minorities, 5% persons with disabilities, and 4% Indigenous peoples. The Canada Foundation for Innovation is contributing another $5.2 million for research infrastructure, supporting 30 chairs at 18 institutions. – GoC

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research is granting $31.6 million, and the Alzheimer Society of Canada and other partners are contributing $14.4 million more, to support Phase II of the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging, a national hub for collaborative research on dementia. The five-year funding will support an ambitious research program, including a large-scale study evaluating the effectiveness of new approaches to dementia prevention. – GoC

The federal government made two new awards under the Strategic Innovation Fund. Ottawa-based MindBridge Analytics Inc. will receive $14.5 million to support a $140.8-million, seven-year project to develop an AI-powered software tool to help companies better analyze their data. Energy utilities, for example, might use the platform to analyze power grid data to better observe patterns, improve efficiency and reduce energy use. – Newswire

The Aerospace Industries Association of Canada is the latest winner under the federal Strategic Innovation Fund’s Stream 5—National Ecosystems. The AIAC will receive up to $49 million “to establish a national aerospace innovation ecosystem that will take on the technological challenges of the industry, accelerate the commercialization of new and improved products, and create more highly skilled jobs for Canadians”. The government recently opened a new competition under Stream 5 related to large-scale, collaborative innovative initiatives. Applications are accepted on a continuing basis; there are no submission deadlines. – GoC, Newswire

In related news, the AIAC released its Vision 2025 report at the Paris Air Show June 17. The report recommends six key priorities for prosperity, and identifies several areas for collaboration to increase the sector’s competitiveness. – AIAC

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) awarded a $30-million contract to Honeywell for the design and implementation phases of its Quantum EncrYption and Science Satellite (QEYSSat) mission—the culmination of a series of research and technology development activities undertaken by the Institute for Quantum Computing. Honeywell will build, test, deliver, provide training for and commission the QEYSSat satellite, which will create a secure link between ground and space to transmit encryption keys. The work is expected to extend until the end of 2022. – GoC

FedDev Ontario is investing $10 million in Ryerson University’s Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst—a new national centre for innovation and collaboration in cybersecurity in Brampton. With an additional $20 million from Rogers Communications, Royal Bank of Canada and the City of Brampton, the Catalyst will offer specialized training programs in the cybersecurity sector, establish 40 partnerships, and provide commercialization support to 60 companies as part of a new small business accelerator. – GoC

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council has awarded 17 new Technology Access Centres (TAC) to colleges and cégeps, bringing to 47 the number of applied research and development centres across Canada. One of the recipients, Loyalist College in Belleville, ON, received $1.75 million to launch the country’s first TAC for natural products and cannabis. Six TACS were also renewed for another five years. – Newswire

Over $73 million will be dispersed to help 90 college researchers partner with local employers to translate research into new technologies to help businesses grow. Funding will also go towards specialized equipment to help companies develop local solutions to pressing issues in their regions. Funding was provided through the College and Community Innovation Program and College-Industry Innovation Fund. – Newswire

Intellijoint Surgical, a Waterloo-ON medical device company, is spearheading the launch of Canada’s first industry-led hub dedicated to scaling southern Ontario medtech start-ups. Opening in June, the Medical Innovation Xchange (MIX) will occupy 2,787 square metres of the Kitchener building with Intellijoint as its anchor tenant. The hub can house about 200 people. – Newswire

The pan-Canadian Consortium for Industrial Research and Innovation in Medical Technology, MEDTEQ, has announced the first recipients from its $14-million investment fund, which aims to mature technologies, accelerate innovation and de-risk companies. Co-investors include Anges-Québec, Anges-Québec Capital, Innovacorp, Real Ventures and others. The funding recipients are: Densitas (Halifax); MIMs (My Intelligent Machines) (Montreal); My01 (Montreal); Optina Diagnostics (Montreal); Saccade Analytics (Montreal); Spinologics (Montreal); Spring Loaded Technology (Halifax); and THORASYS (Montreal). – Newswire

A $5-million gift to Toronto’s Sinai Health System will fund the new Dovigi Family Sports Medicine Clinic and a research chair in sports medicine. The donation was made by entrepreneur and former NHL player Patrick Dovigi, founder and CEO of GFL Environmental Inc. – Newswire

The National Research Council and the University of Waterloo have launched the Collaboration on Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, and Cybersecurity. Housed on the University of Waterloo campus, the new hub brings together 20 researchers and students from the NRC and UWaterloo. – GoC

Access to talent is the main reason Canadian companies have been slow to adopt artificial intelligence, according to a new report from the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship at Ryerson University. The skills gap includes “technical, managerial, and translation talent required to support the effective development, implementation, and use of fundamental AI infrastructure, develop effective business strategies, calculate risk, manage business processes, and identify and address unintended consequences.” – Brookfield Institute

Canada has earned the dubious distinction, along with Bangladesh, China, India, Malaysia, and South Africa, for having a weak intellectual property regime that inhibits innovation, concludes a new report from the Global Trade & Innovation Policy Alliance, a global network of independent think tanks based in Washington DC. The report questions whether the federal government’s new IP strategy, launched in 2018, will actually strengthen IP rights, noting “that’s where the Canadian government’s IP strategy should have been focused first and foremost”. – GTIPA

Toronto-based fintech company Borrowell has raised $20 million in Series B funding, bringing its total raised in equity to $36.7 million. The company also reached more than a million users, which Borrowell claims now makes it Canada’s largest consumer fintech company. – Borrowell

APPOINTMENTS

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has recruited an international team of scientists at the Krembil Centre for Neuroinformatics, which is moving into a new open-concept space at CAMH’s College Street location in Toronto. Team members are: Dr. Shreejoy Tripathy (USA), leading the Computational Genomics team; Dr. Etay Hay (Israel), leading the Brain Circuit Modelling team; Dr. John Griffiths (UK), leading the Whole Brain Modelling team; Dr. Andreea Diaconescu (Romania), leading the Cognitive Network Modelling team; Dr. Leon French (Canada), leading the Integrative Neuroanatomy team; Dr. Daniel Felsky (Canada), leading the Whole Person Modelling team; and Dr. Joanna Yu (Canada), Senior Project Manager of the BrainHealth Databank initiative. – CAMH

Dr. Nicholas Vukotic, principal scientist at Proto Mfg., is the University of Windsor’s new Industrial Research Chair in X-ray Diffraction and Crystalline Materials. The $3.7-million research partnership is jointly funded by UWindsor, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and Proto Mfg., a Windsor company that manufactures X-ray diffraction instrumentation and provides laboratory services to companies around the globe. – UWindsor

The Short Report, June 12, 2019 – artificial intelligence, tech demos, cybersecurity

Gaming company Unity Technologies is expanding its operations in Montreal with a new artificial intelligence lab. More than new 450 hires are expected over the next few years, including artificial intelligence experts, developers and engineers. – Newswire

The federal government is awarding $50-million to three private equity funds under the clean tech stream of its Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative. The winners are: Renewal FundsCycle Capital Management and ArcTern Ventures. – GoC

The federal government is investing $10 million over five years, matched by the BC Women’s Health Foundation, to support cervical cancer research led by Dr. Gina Ogilvie and her team at the Women’s Health Research Institute, and her colleagues at the Gynecological Cancer Initiative. Researchers will study human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination and screening methods and work to implement their findings nationally. – GoC

The fifth stream of the Strategic Innovation Fund has been launched to support industrial research and technology demonstration, with the goal of accelerating commercializing and scaling up businesses in Canada’s most innovative sectors. Funding will support collaborations between large and smaller companies, academia, non-profits, accelerators and incubators. – GoC

Sixteen consumer-interest R&D projects will receive more than $3 million over two years under a federal program managed by the Office of Consumer Affairs. – GoC

Dawson College will spend over $1 million in a new artificial intelligence initiative, which includes: peer-to-peer mentoring for faculty; the development of AI teaching materials; research funding for AI and machine learning, ethics of AI, and digital humanities; development of programs of study; professional development, knowledge sharing and networking; hiring of external consultants; and licensing cloud based computing engines for AI programing. A new Dawson AI Advisory Board will help guide the project. – Dawson College

The National Research Council of Canada and the University of New Brunswick have opened the Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity-NRC Cybersecurity Collaboration Consortium in Fredericton, NB. Some 50 researchers and students from both institutions will conduct cybersecurity research for critical infrastructure with a focus on internet of things security, artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, and natural language processing. – GoC

More than 200 women entrepreneurship projects will receive up to $100,000 each under the Women Entrepreneurship Fund, which recently saw its federal funding increase from $20 million to $30 million. To date, 107 projects have been funded and more will be listed as announcements are made. – ISED

The Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation, led by Baycrest in Toronto, and Tokyo-based SOMPO Digital Lab, are partnering with companies globally to test, validate, disseminate, adopt, and scale promising innovations to assist older adults living with dementia and their caregivers. SOMPO operates innovation hubs in Tokyo, Silicon Valley, and Tel Aviv. – Newswire

Polytechnique Montréal and HEC Montréal today have signed an agreement to launch a double bachelor of business administration (B.B.A.) and bachelor of engineering (B.Eng.) degree starting in 2021. The program—a first for Canada—will ensure engineering graduates also have strong management, entrepreneurial and communications skills. – Polytechnique

Appointments

Spectrum Therapeutics, Smiths Falls ON, has appointed Dr. Marcel Bonn-Miller as global clinical scientific director. The former director of cannabinoid research at Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, Bonn-Miller brings 18 years of experience researching cannabinoids and their various effects, including leading or contributing to 19 clinical trials. – Newswire

Vancouver-based Pasha Brands Ltd., Canada’s largest organization of craft cannabis brands, has brought aboard a chief scientific officer to ensure cannabis it purchases is of high quality and traceable. Dr. Brigitte Simons is an expert in technical quantitative reporting using mass spectrometry to deliver accurate potency and testing of cannabis products. For over 16 years, she operated mass spectrometers for the U.S. National Institutes of Health and contracted partners of Canadian federal and provincial government agencies. – Newswire

Dr. Neil Owens, director of scientific affairs at Medicure Inc., will take over as the Winnipeg pharmaceutical company’s president and chief operating officer effective July 1. Current president Dr. Albert Friesen will continue as CEO and board chair. – Newsiwre

Science minister Kirsty Duncan has appointed six new members to the National Research Council Canada Council: Dr. Susan Blum, associate VP Research and Innovation, Saskatchewan Polytechnic; Norma Beauchamp, former president/CEO, Cystic Fibrosis Canada; Dr. Steven Murphy, president, University of Ontario Institute of Technology; Dr. Karen Bakker, Canada Research Chair in Political Ecology, University of British Columbia; Ray Hoemsen, president and Managing Director, NEXUS Manitoba and executive director, Research Partnerships and Innovation, Red River College; and Dr. Pierre Rivard, founder and executive chair, TUGLIQ Energy. – GoC

Five new members have been appointed to the Governing Council of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research: Dr. Jeannie Shoveller, research director, BC Centre on Substance Use; Don Ferguson, former deputy minister of Health for New Brunswick; Debbie Fischer, executive associate, KPMG; Dominic Giroux, president/CEO, Health Sciences North and the Health Sciences North Research Institute; and, Dr. Brianne Kent, postdoctoral research fellow, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. – GoC

Dr. Anthony Clarke starts a five-year term as dean of science at Wilfrid Laurier University beginning August 1. Clarke is currently a professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Guelph. – WLU

CANARIE has launched an open call for applications for its board of directors. Two candidates are being sought: a researcher at a Canadian higher education institution and a VP Research at a Canadian university. To apply, visit CANARIE’s Board of Directors page.

CanWIT (Women in Tech), a division of CATAAlliance, has named Suzanne Grant, CEO of Stealth Company in Ottawa, to its board as Executive in Residence to help advance advocacy for women in tech. – CATA

People

The Short Report, June 5, 2019 – McMaster endowment, AI, timber research, green jet fuel

The Short Report – May 29, 2019: CRCC progress report, poultry research, bio-refinery

The Canada Research Coordinating Committee has released its first progress report, highlighting accomplishments to date on five priority areas: interdisciplinary, international, high-risk/high-rewards, rapid response research; key emerging research areas; equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI); Indigenous research; and, the needs of early career researchers (ECR). Activities over the coming year include: calls for applications under the New Frontiers in Research Fund; implementation of tri-agency EDI and ECR action plans; co-development of new models to support Indigenous research and training. – SSHRC

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency want to see SSH research play a bigger role in informing best practices related to environmental and impact assessments for major natural resource-sector and infrastructure projects such as mines and pipelines. Up to 13 Knowledge Synthesis Grants worth up to $30,000 will be awarded to identify the current state of knowledge and gaps. – SSHRC

The Saskatchewan government is renewing its support to the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation with $11.6 million over five years, bringing the province’s total funding for the centre to $45.4 million since 2012. The centre funds research in nuclear medicine, materials science, nuclear energy systems, and environmental and social topics related to nuclear technology. USask

The federal government is investing up to $8.24 million to the Canadian Poultry Research Council under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, AgriScience Program Clusters program. The funding, in addition to $3.78 million from industry, is expected to result in the development of alternatives to antibiotics through research on antimicrobial use and resistance, as well as healthier and safer products by the poultry food chain. – GoC

The Natural Resources Canada‘s Clean Growth Program is providing $2 million to FPInnovations for a thermomechanical pulp bio-refinery that opened this month in Thunder Bay, ON in partnership with Resolute Forest Products Inc. With the capacity to treat 100 metric tons of biomass annually, the $23-million pilot plant will use FPInnovation’s patented TMP-Bio technology to convert wood sugars to biomaterials, such as wood adhesives, animal feed and composites. – FPInnovations, Newswire

The Office of the Chief Science Advisor is seeking candidates for a potential Chief Science Advisor’s Youth Council (CSA-YC), open to youth between the ages of 18 and 30 interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and their societal dimensions. The council’s mandate is to provide a youth perspective, identify and inform key issues and challenges facing the Canadian science community, and advise on and take part in outreach activities of the Office of the Chief Science Advisor. – Application

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is creating an external Advisory Committee on Aquaculture Science, in response to the 2018 Report of the Independent Expert Panel on Aquaculture Science led by Canada’s Chief Science Advisor, Dr. Mona Nemer. The five-member committee will be comprised of one Canadian scientist, two international scientists, one Indigenous Canadian representative, and one member at large. Fisheries and Oceans Canada is now accepting nominations and expressions of interest for these positions. – GoC

Natural Products Canada, a Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research, has signed a memorandum of understanding with New Frontiers in Food, a cluster of food-focused companies and organizations in Europe that is fast-tracking the development of innovative food technologies. Canada is one of several countries in the cluster, including France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain – NPC

The Canadian Defence and Security Network officially launched on May 24 to create stronger linkages between academic scholars and defence scientists. Led by Dr. Stephen Saideman at Carleton University, the centre will focus on five research themes – defence procurement, military personnel, operations, security, and civil-military relations – and each theme will have a joint academic/government/civil society/defence team associated with it. – CDSN; Backgrounder

Dr. Dean Regier, a scientist at BC Cancer has received $500,000 from Genome BC’s Genesolve program and Illumina Inc., San Diego CA, to generate evidence for using whole exome and whole genome sequencing to diagnose and guide treatment for the two million Canadian children with rare diseases. The two-year project, which includes collaborators from the University of Oxford, the University of British Columbia and BC Children’s Hospital and BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre, will draw upon health care data from BC as well as the 100,000 Genomes Project in the UK. – Newswire

Toronto-based Electrovaya Inc., which received $3.8 million from Sustainable Development Technology Canada last November, has received its first purchase order for an electric bus battery system shown to power a bus for more than 200 kilometres. The name of the customer was not revealed. – Electrovaya

Cape Breton University plans to open the island’s first innovation space by September to provide training and support to new and existing entrepreneurs. The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre will be one of several innovation spaces to open across the island as part of the Creative Island Network, led by the Cape Breton Partnership. – CBU

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research has announced the recipients of the 2018 CIHR Gold Leaf Prizes: CIHR Gold Leaf Prize for Discovery – Dr. Tak Wah Mak, University Health Network; CIHR Gold Leaf Prize for Impact – Dr. Deborah Cook, McMaster University; CIHR Gold Leaf Prize for Outstanding Achievements by an Early Career Investigator – Dr. Tracie Afifi, University of Manitoba; and the CIHR Gold Leaf Prize for Transformation: Patient Engagement – Dr. Erin Michalak, University of British Columbia. – GoC

The Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) has appointed an expert panel to review the Labour Market Transition of PhD Graduates. The review, initiated at the request of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, will examine the main challenges PhD students in Canada face in transitioning to the labour market, and how these differ by field of study. The panel members are: Dr. Elizabeth Cannon, president, University of Calgary (chair); Dr. Marcelline Bangali, associate professor, Department of Foundations and Practices in Education, Université Laval; Dr. Dwayne Benjamin, vice dean, Graduate Education, University of Toronto; Dr. John (Jay) Doering, associate VP (Partnerships), University of Manitoba; Dr. Bryan Gopaul, assistant professor, Warner School of Education and Human Development, University of Rochester; Diane Gray, president/CEO, CentrePort Canada and chair, Mitacs; Dr. Tina Gruosso, scientist, Translational Research, Forbius; Dr. Jennifer Polk, co-founder, Beyond the Professoriate; Dr. Susan Porter, president, Canadian Association of Graduate Studies; Dr. Reinhart Reithmeier, director for Professional Development and Alumni Engagement, Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto; Dr. David Walters, associate professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Guelph; and Dr. Paul Yachnin, Tomlinson Professor of Shakespeare Studies, Department of English, McGill University. More information about this project can be found here.

University of Alberta chemist and associate dean of science Dr. Margaret-Ann Armour died May 25 at the age of 79. Armour was a tireless advocate for female scientists, having co-founded the Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology program and the Canadian Centre for Women in Science, Engineering, Trades and Technology. – UAlberta

Number 5 / Volume 33 / May 22, 2019

Editorial

Details are emerging on cuts to Ontario R&D – and the news isn’t good.

Read More

Opinion Leader:
Joy Johnson

Are we in danger of building another patriarchal system with the emergence of precision medicine?

The emergence of big data and artificial intelligence (AI) and its integration with health science, we are seeing incredible innovation on the horizon, but will we all benefit from the dawn of precision medicine or only a privileged few?

Read More

News Bites

News Briefs

The Short Report - May 22, 2019: Discovery Grants, IP Expert Panel, Cannabis and UFC

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council has awarded an unprecedented $588 million in grants to more than 4,850 researchers, exceeding the record $558 million awarded last October to nearly 4,300 recipients. (R$, October 31, 2018) Today’s announcement includes: $426 million in Discovery Grants for more than 2,295 researchers; $6.2 million in Discovery Launch Supplements for 499 early-career researchers; and, $83 million in Scholarship and Fellowships to support nearly 1,700 graduate students and fellows. The funding stems from the historic $4 billion for research committed in Budget 2018. – NSERC

The Ontario government is launching an expert panel and online consultation on intellectual property with the goal of maximizing commercial opportunities for academia in its work with incubators, accelerators and regional innovation centres. The panel’s report, due in December, will also include an action plan for a provincial IP framework. The panel members are: Jim Balsillie, co-founder of the Council of Canadian Innovators; Dr. Shiri Breznitz, associate professor, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto; Myra Tawfik, EPICentre professor of Intellectual Property Commercialization and Strategy, University of Windsor; Dr. Dan Herman, VP of Strategy and Partnerships, Myant Inc.; and Natalie Raffoul, managing partner, Brion Raffoul Intellectual Property Law. – Ontario Government

After more than 18 years, the Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity ceased operations May 16 following a decision by the Ontario government to cut all its funding, which amounted to just under $1 million annually. Prior to closing, the institute published a final Prosperity scorecard for Ontario, rating the province on 10 indicators. Their website will remain archived until 2021. The recent Ontario budget also cut funding to the Mowat Centre. – IC&P

Innovation minister Navdeep Bains today launched Canada’s new Digital Charter, as well as an action plan for implementing the Charter’s 10 principles: universal access; safety and security; control and consent; transparency, portability and interoperability; open and modern digital government; a level playing field; data and digital for good; strong democracy; free from hate and violent extremism; and, strong enforcement and real accountability. – GoC

Invest Ottawa has launched the $11-million Ottawa L5 Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) Test Facilities, which will allow innovators and companies to tackle issues such as CAV operations in inclement weather, safety and security, interoperability, data collection and analytics, and connectivity. – Invest Ottawa

The University of Toronto’s Medicine by Design is awarding $1.2 million to nine research teams to advance regenerative medicine research and translation, using tools such as synthetic biology and mathematical modeling. – U of T

Aurora Cannabis Inc., Edmonton, has inked an exclusive, multi-year, multi-million collaboration with mixed martial arts organization UFC to advance clinical research on the relationship between hemp derived Cannabidiol (CBD) products and athlete wellness and recovery. The research will be conducted at the UFC’s Performance Institute in Las Vegas and led by Dr. Jason Dyck, a Canada Research Chair in Molecular Medicine at the University of Alberta. – Newswire

University of Calgary spin off Parvus Therapeutics has signed a licence agreement with Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, to further develop and commercialize a precision nanomedicine treatment for autoimmune diseases such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease and autoimmune liver diseases. – Parvus

Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions has made several recent investments: $500,000 to Reflex Photonics to acquire specialized equipment for making of electronic optics and photonic products; $2.6 million (includes Quebec funding) to Carrefour Québec International to help Quebec companies grow markets outside the province; $500,000 to Laboratoire M2, Sherbrooke to tap new markets for its non-toxic and biodegradable disinfectant product for cows and cattle; $500,000 to electronics firm Gentec Inc. to complete an expansion and modernize its operations; and, $100,000 to Laval Smart Mobility Incubator and Accelerator (CIAMIL) to acquire cloud computing infrastructure. – GoC

The Mining Association of Canada is receiving $325,000 from Natural Resources Canada’s Climate Change Adaptation Program towards a $650,000 project to develop best practices and guidance for the mining sector on climate change risks and adaptation measures. – GoC

A Vancouver-based precision oncology company, Cancer Treatment Options and Management Inc., is launching a new bioltech company, Liquid Biopsy Labs that uses a simple blood test to check for cancer cells in the body. Its patent-pending technology claims to produce tests that are 99% accurate, and show signs of cancers months, even years, before a tumor would be visible with traditional imaging tools. – Newswire

The Hawaii Department of Transportation is demonstrating the effectiveness of carbon-injected concrete using a process developed by Halifax-based CarbonCure Technologies Inc. Carbon dioxide captured by Hawaii Gas and distributed by Matheson Gas is mixed into the concrete using CarbonCure Technology where it is converted to a mineral and permanently embedded within the concrete. – CarbonCure

The Grapevine

Dr. Jane Rylett, a neuroscientist and expert in Alzheimer research, will take over as scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute of Aging effective August 1. Rylett is currently associate dean in the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University, and a scientist in the Molecular Medicine Research Laboratories at Robarts Research Institute. – GoC

University of Canberra president Dr. Deep Saini has been appointed president of Dalhousie University, effective January 1, 2020. Saini earned his PhD in plant physiology from the University of Adelaide in Australia and has worked at four different U15 universities in Canada, including VP at the University of Toronto. – Dalhousie

Dr. Nicolas Bélanger, a professor in TÉLUQ University’s Department of Science and Technology, will become the scientific director of the Réseau Reboisement Ligniculture Québec (2RLQ), a new research network focused on intensive forest production. The network will have an annual budget of $110,000, with funding from the Quebec government and partners. – UQuebec

The Short Report - May 15, 2019: Early career awards, cannabis R&D, AI

Minister of Science and Sport Kirsty Duncan has announced the first 157 early career researchers to share $38 million under the recently launched New Frontiers in Research Fund. Each recipient will receive up to $250,000 over the next two years to support international, interdisciplinary, fast-breaking and high-risk research. – Newswire

Vancouver-based Centre for Drug Research and Development has brokered a collaborative agreement with TRIUMF and its commercialization arm – TRIUMF Innovations – to develop novel radiopharmaceuticals for personalized cancer treatments. Watch for the full article next week. – CDRD

Quebec’s largest pharmaceutical employer, Pharmascience Inc., is launching Royalmount Laboratories – a new Montreal division specializing in contract research services for local and international companies, with a focus on cannabis testing for third parties. – Newswire

Cannabis Growth Opportunity Corp. is turning Vaudreuil-Dorion’s former Hoffmann-La Roche Complex into an incubation centre for startups. The massive 180,000 sq. ft. C3 Cannabis Innovation Centre – which is affiliated with McGill University’s Center for Cannabis Research – will provide cannabis growers, producers, processors and researchers with access to R&D, early production and capital, while reducing commercialization costs and accelerating time to market. – Newswire

Vancouver-based AbCellera Biologics Inc. has brought aboard the Vaccine Research Centre (Bethesda, MD) and Ichor Medical Systems (San Diego, CA) to participate in a USD$30-million U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency project to develop field-ready countermeasures against viral outbreaks within 60 days. – AbCellera

After three years of R&D, Resolve Digital Health is seeking a medical device licence from Health Canada for two more of its “smart” cannabis vaporizers. The Toronto company is seeking similar regulatory approvals in the European Union, Australia, Israel and Central and South America. – Resolve

Alberta’s cannabis sector has united to create the Alberta Cannabis Council, representing cannabis producers, retailers, clinics and industry affiliates, including public agencies, the scientific research community, industry affiliates and post-secondary institutions. The not-for-profit’s inaugural executive director is Michelle Russell, formerly head of business development at cannabis consulting company 420 Advisory Management. – Newswire

New Brunswick Power has received $1-million from Natural Resources Canada’s Energy Innovation Program to launch a one-year research and demonstration project testing the feasibility of conservation voltage reduction in helping consumers conserve more energy and increase renewable energy use. – Newswire

A team of lawyers and scientists at Element AI Inc. in Montreal have developed an “easy-to-use” online Data Licensing Tool to foster transparency and clarity in the use of datasets for machine learning applications. The global artificial intelligence research and legal communities are also invited to improve and adopt Element AI’s recently released Montreal Data License paper – a proposed framework designed to bring legal clarity to individuals and companies that make data available to third parties for use-cases in the field of artificial intelligence. – Newswire

Google is providing a $500,000 grant to the Actua youth outreach network to develop AI curriculum for Canadian high-school students as part of its new Codemakers program. – Newswire

CIFAR is providing $300,000 in funding and in-kind support to expand the CIFAR-OSMO AI for Good Summer Lab, which will provide up to 30 undergraduate women from across Canada with training and networking opportunities in artificial intelligence. – CIFAR

The Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation has launched its $2.5-million Spark program which will provide front-line care workers with up to $50,000 to translate grassroots ideas into early stage innovations in the field of aging and brain health. – Newswire

The federal government has unveiled a new pilot program, Dimensions: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Canada, a charter and $5.3 million in grants to help universities and colleges address systemic barriers, particularly those experienced by members of underrepresented or disadvantaged groups. The letter of intent deadline for the pilot is June 3. – GoC

The governments of Quebec and Canada have awarded $1.3 million to the Pôle d’excellence de l’industrie des systèmes électroniques du Québec (ISEQ) – a centre of excellence that supports the development of the province’s electronics systems industry. The funding will allow ISEQ to create a regional office that supports electronic system companies in the Mauricie region. – GoC

Nicoya, a Kitchener ON-based nanotech company, is receiving $2.57 million from FedDev Ontario to develop and market a new version of its world-first desktop surface plasmon resonance instrument (SPR), marketed as a more accurate, portable, and cost-effective method for collecting data for R&D. – GoC

Nancy White has been appointed CEO of Inagene Diagnostics Inc., a Toronto startup that has launched its first product – a genetic test for pain treatments and dependency risk. The company’s former CEO, life sciences executive Peter Brenders, becomes strategic advisor to the chair. – Inagene

Montreal-based IRICoR (Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer – Commercialization of Research) has added three new directors to its board: Annie Gauthier, partner at the law firm BCF; Bettina Hamelin, president and CEO of Ontario Genomics; and Bernard Lachapelle, president of The JBL Group Inc. – IRICoR

Nanomedicine pioneer Mauro Ferrari takes over January 1 as the new president of the European Research Council, after early 40 years working as a researcher in the U.S. Ferrari will be responsible for overseeing the rollout of Horizon Europe, described as “the most ambitious EU research and innovation programme ever”. – European Commission

People

The Short Report – May 8, 2019: Cannabis R&D, fuel cell demo, accelerator funding

With the goal becoming a mainstream healthcare company, Smiths Falls, ON-based Canopy Growth Corp. has spun off a new division – Spectrum Therapeutics – to oversee the company’s commercial medical and clinical research operations including Spectrum Cannabis, Canopy Health Innovations, and recently acquired Germany-based C3Cannabinoid Compound Company, which develops cannabinoid-based medical therapies. – Canopy Growth

Toronto-based FSD Pharma and Solarvest of Vancouver are investing an initial $1 million over two years in a collaborative R&D project to develop a proof of concept that algae can express pharmaceutical-grade cannabinoids – a process that could significantly reduce production times. The two companies have also created a joint scientific review committee. – Newswire

Ballard Power Systems, Vancouver, is supplying its next-generation fuel cell modules for a $15-million project that will test hydrogen’s ability to fuel Alberta’s heavy duty trucking industry. The three-year Alberta Zero-Emissions Truck Electrification Collaboration project builds on more than a year’s worth of research, data analysis and scenario modelling done by the Canadian Energy Systems Analysis Research Initiative. – Ballard

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council has announced $44 million for 75 projects at 24 universities under the outgoing Strategic Partnership Grants program (to be consolidated under the new Alliance Grants program. See article). A full list of projects can be found here. – NSERC

The first call for proposals has been launched for the Incubators and Accelerators Driven by Excellence, a new federal initiative that will award $12 million over four years to Quebec business incubators and accelerators. – Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions 

Ericsson says it will create more than 30 new jobs for data scientists, engineers, artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning architects, and software developers this year at its new Global AI Accelerator innovation hub in Montreal. The company also has GAIA hubs in the U.S., Sweden and India. – Ericsson

Concordia University’s District 3 innovation hub has partnered with Fonds de recherché du Québec to launch the province-wide Quebec Scientific Entrepreneurship (QcSE) program. The goal is to see 10% of Quebec PhD and postdoctoral researchers involved in translating their research into start-ups. – Concordia

The BC Institute of Technology officially opened its Summit Centre May 1 to support students in starting, growing and scaling their own ventures. – BCIT

Canadian companies are continuing to rely heavily on foreign capital, particularly from the U.S. According to the Canadian Venture Capital Report, released by CPE Media Analytics, the majority of $1.28 billion in venture capital raised in Canada in Q1 2019 came from U.S. investors (53%), with Canadian investors contributing 19%. – Newswire

The Government of Canada is investing $2.6 million to design, create and implement a gender equity research hub to support applied research in sport. A two-day forum will be held at the end of May to determine the parameters of the new research hub. – GoC, Minister Duncan’s remarks

The University of Ottawa is establishing a satellite office in the region’s tech hub – Kanata North – focusing on areas such as telecom, data analytics, machine learning and autonomous vehicle systems. U of O is also partnering with Kanata North firms and the National Research Council in a consortium looking into optical satellite communications challenges of the future. – Kanata North

A University of Guelph research project to turn co-products from ethanol production into new products has been awarded $1 million over five years from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and three industry partners, IGPC Ethanol, Competitive Green Technologies and Greenfield Global. – U of G

Other federal funding announcements:  96 recipients will share $9 million in grants under the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s PromoScience program (NSERC); $2.4 million to the Huntsman Marine Science Centre in St. Andrews, NB to study how spill response measures (e.g., dispersant chemicals) affect fish and other aquatic species (GoC);

The Canadian Institute for Advanced Research has launched the AICan Bulletin, a new bi-monthly newsletter about artificial intelligence in Canada, produced in collaboration with Amii, Mila and the Vector Institute. – CIFAR

PEOPLE

2019 NSERC Prize Winners: $1 million Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering – Dr. Barbara Sherwood Lollar, a University of Toronto geologist who discovered the oldest water on earth; $250,000 John C. Polanyi Award – Dr. Douglas Stephan (University of Toronto); Brockhouse Canada team award – Drs. Pascale Champagne, Michael Cunningham, Philip Jessop and Warren Mabee (Queen’s); Synergy Awards – Dr. Paul Charette (Sherbrooke), Luc Landry (Cégep de La Pocatière), Dr. Amar Mohanty (Guelph) and Dr. Roberto Morandotti (INRS); E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowships: Drs. Lin Cai (Victoria), Maud Ferrari (Saskatchewan), Erin Johnson (Dalhousie), Paul McNicholas (McMaster), Dwight Seferos (Toronto) and Hongbo Zeng (Alberta); and the NSERC Gilles Brassard Doctoral Prize – Dr. Anna Golubeva (Waterloo). – NSERC

Université Laval professor of animal sciences Dr. Janice Bailey began a new job in May as the scientific director of Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies. – FRQNT

McGill University academic-clinician Dr. Sarah Prichard has been named acting VP (Research) at Western University for a one-year term, effective July 1. A search for a permanent research leader will take place shortly after Western President-elect Alan Shepard begins his term in July. – WesternU

Dr. Gina Conte has been appointed director of genetics at Toronto-based TruTrace Technologies Inc., previously named BLOCKStrain Technology, which has developed the first integrated blockchain platform to register and track intellectual property in the cannabis industry. – Newswire

Dr. Charles Pollack, who recently left the Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp, which he founded at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, takes over as chair of the scientific advisory board at Toronto-based FSD Pharma Inc., where he will provide advice on cannabinoid therapeutic programs. – Newswire

The Short Report – May 1, 2019: Licensing income, new Teachers fund, federal investments

Details are beginning to emerge on cuts to R&D in the April 11 Ontario budget: $1 million for the Mowat Centre (closing), the Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity (closing) and the province’s Health System Research Fund (clawed back). R$ will investigate these and other cuts further. – Mowat Centre

Canada and Japan have signed two agreements to strengthen investment and research ties. One between Invest in Canada and the Japan External Trade Organization will make it easier for Canadian and Japanese companies to partner, and another between the National Research Council of Canada and the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International of Japan will support R&D in fields like robotics and telecommunications. – PMO

The Canada-Israel Industrial Research and Development Foundation has approved $4.28 million in new funding for seven industry-led projects in life sciences, artificial intelligence, clean tech, cybersecurity, and information and communications technologies. – CIIRDF

Environment and Climate Change Canada is joining international partners in funding new research by the World Economic Forum that, in its first phase, will examine the economic value of nature associated with biodiversity, the climate, and society, and “high-ambition solutions” based on evidence. GoC 

Canada’s academic institutions generated just $75 million from licensing income in 2017, with the University of Saskatchewan leading the pack ($18.5 million), while the number of inventor disclosures hit 1,882 – an 11% increase over 2016, reversing a three-year downward trend (AUTM).

Canada’s largest private funder of vision research, Fighting Blindness Canada, is calling for a national vision health strategy – including increased research funding for clinical trials – to avert an emerging vision health care crisis that could see the number of people living with blindness double by 2031. – Newswire

Innovation, Science and Economic Development has launched a series of initiatives to foster a more inclusive intellectual property system for Indigenous knowledge and cultural expressions, including an IP grants program and a new Indigenous Peoples and IP webpage. – GoC

The federal government is one of several partners investing in the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) Canadian Data platform, a seven-year, $81.35-million initiative that provides a single portal through which researchers will be able to request access to a multitude of administrative, clinical, and social data from various sources across the country. – CIHR

The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) has launched the Teachers’ Innovation Platform (TIP), which will focus on late-stage venture capital and growth equity investments in companies that use technology (e.g., computing, materials science, robotics and medicine) to disrupt incumbents and create new sectors. – OTPP

BMO has launched a Technology & Innovation Banking Group to provide advice and funding to help scale high-growth companies, from startup to post exit or IPO. – BMO

Vancouver-based medical diagnostics company LightIntegra Technology Inc. has raised about $7.1 million in a Series A financing, led by Genome BC and Boardwalk Ventures Inc., to commercialize a first-of-its kind test to quickly analyze blood quality for transfusions. – BusinessWire

The Saskatchewan Research Council and Saskatoon-based research company Kanata Earth Genetics Inc. have partnered to provide analytical testing and genomic services to licensed cannabis producers across Canada. – Newswire

Recent federal funding announcements: $1.9 million for the World Trade Centre Montréal to expand its Trade Accelerator Program to communities across Quebec (GoC); $15.3 million for 15 projects through the Substance Use and Addictions Program, the Harm Reduction Fund and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (GoC); over $1.6 million to the University of Lethbridge to enhance its Terrestrial Eco-system Remote Sensing program and to help the local Piikani First Nation meld traditional teaching with new technological innovations in community-based environmental monitoring (GoC); $11.2 million to the Bioproducts Cluster, led by Bioindustrial Innovation Canada, to develop new applications for farm crops and residues (GoC); $2 million for the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology’s new Centre for Grid Innovation to help companies develop and test innovative power generation technologies (NAIT); $6.7 million to Eavor Technologies Inc., Calgary, to develop a demonstration facility for a closed-loop geothermal system (Newswire); and nearly $3.5 million for two projects at the University of Winnipeg – machine learning for digital agriculture, and a precision agriculture platform (UWinnipeg).

PEOPLE ITEMS

Dr. Douglas Muzyka, the former president for DuPont’s operations in Canada, Mexico and China, replaces Tom Jenkins as the new chair of the National Research Council’s governing council. – GoC

The National Angel Capital Organization has appointed Claudio Rojas, formerly managing direct at Hurt Capital Inc., as its CEO. Rojas replaces Yuri Navarro who moves over to Montreal-based Panache Ventures, a venture capital firm specializing in seed stage startup investments. – NACO

Olivia Steedman has been tagged to lead the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan new investment vehicle, the Teachers’ Innovation Platform. Steedman was previously the senior leader of OTPP’s infrastructure and natural resources group. – OTPP

Andre Salvi, who recently led strategy partnerships with fintech companies for BMO, will head the bank’s new Technology & Innovation Banking Group.  The group also includes managing directors Devon Dayton and Deirdre Bergin. – BMO

Lionel Pellizzari is the new senior director, development and innovation, at Développement international Desjardins in Quebec City where he will coordinate activities related to digital and technological solutions. – DID

The Quebec government has appointed former PricewaterhouseCoopers executive Guy LeBlanc as president and CEO of Investissement Québec and a member of the agency’s board of directors. He replaced Pierre Gabriel Côté effective April 23. – Investissement Québec

The Manitoba government has appointing seven new members to the board of Research Manitoba: Tracey Maconachie (chair), Dr. Rashid Ahmed, Doreen Bilodeau, Dr. Hani El-Gabalawy, Luis Escobar, Earl Gardiner and Andrea Legary. Dr. Digvir Jayas and Christopher Johnson were reappointed to the board. (Gov-MB)

The federal government has appointed several researchers, as well as physicians and patient advocates, to the new Scientific Advisory Committee on Health Products for Women. The researchers include: Dr. Lorraine Greaves (chair) (UBC), Dr. Cara Tannenbaum (UdeM), Dr. Ashley Waddington (Queen’s), Dr. David Urbach (U of T), Dr. Sherif Eltonsy (U of M), Dr. Sharon Batt (Dalhousie) and Dr. Louise Pilote (McGill). – GoC

Dr. Kim McGrail, professor at the UBC School of Population and Public Health, will lead the new Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research Canadian Data platform which will make it easier for researchers to access and analyze health research data.

After almost three years as ArcticNet executive director, Leah Braithwaite has returned to Environment and Climate Change Canada to resume her federal public service career. Dr. Mickael Lemay will take on her duties as acting manager of the network.

York University deputy provost Dr. Rui Wang takes over as interim VP of research and innovation at the institution effective May 1, replacing Robert Haché who will become Laurentian University’s next president and vice-chancellor. – YorkU

Dr. Marcelin Joanis, an expert in public economics and professor at Polytechnique Montréal, has been appointed VP for research at the Center for Interuniversity Research and Analysis of Organizations in Montreal. – CIRANO

Queen’s University researcher Dr. James Reynolds becomes chief science officer at Kids Brain Health, after serving as acting CSO for the past year. One of his first priorities will be crafting a successful Cycle III proposal to the Networks of Centres of Excellence program. – Kids Brain Health

Health Sciences North and the Health Sciences North Research Institute in Sudbury ON have appointed Dr. Greg Ross as VP, academic and research impact, effective May 1. – Health Sciences North

The University of Toronto has selected Dr. Christopher Yip for a five-year term as dean of Applied Science & Engineering effective July 1. Yip currently serves as U of T’s associate VP, international partnerships. – U of T

Dr. George Belliveau, who specializes in research-based theatre and performed research, takes over July 1 as department head, Language and Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia. – UBC

Number 4 / Volume 33 / April 24, 2019

Editorial:
Mark Mann

As the discourse around scaleups intensifies, the way we use the term is growing more ambiguous. What do we really mean when we talk about scaleups?

Read More

Opinion Leader:
Peter Stokes

Renewed funding for nanoelectronics research in Europe sends a message. Is Canada listening?

For researchers and organizations in Canada’s micro-nano R&D space, recent renewed funding to the nanoelectronics research community in Europe sends an important signal about working together to advance research and innovation in this vital sector.

Read More

Opinion Leader:
Tina Gruosso, Farah Qaiser, Molly Sung and Marie Franquin

Budget 2019 promises support for the next generation of scientists, but Ottawa must go farther still

Support for trainees outlined in the 2019 budget signal’s ongoing commitment from the federal government to train today’s youth for the jobs of tomorrow. However, this is simply one step forward on a long and winding road to better support science and the next generation of scientists in Canada.

Read More

News Bites

News Briefs

The Short Report – April 24, 2019: ArcticNet, e-DNA, autonomous greenhouse

ArcticNet‘s funding was renewed for $32.5 million over five years, enabling it to evolve beyond the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) program and become a permanent pan-Canadian research centre. During this funding period, ArcticNet’s research will focus on the sustainable development of the “Blue Economy” (shipping, fisheries, tourism, and mining), and growing postsecondary research and training capacity through its North-by-North initiative. – NationTalk

The University of Alberta’s Canadian Mountain Network (CMN) also scooped up some final NCE funding, as that program is gradually transferred to the New Frontiers in Research Fund. $18.3 million over the next five years will go to supporting the development of a comprehensive mountains observations program at CMN, as well as a new training program for mountain researchers and a knowledge mobilization program to support evidence-based decision making based on multiple ways of knowing. – Folio

Three research networks led by the University of British Columbia — NanoMedicines Innovation Network (NMIN), RESEAU Centre for Mobilizing Innovation, and Composites Research Network Knowledge Mobilization Centre (CRN-KM) — will receive a combined $21.7 million in federal funding through the NCE: $18.5 million for NMIN, and $1.6 million for each of the others. – UBC

The Centre d’entrepreneuriat et d’essaimage de l’Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (CEE-UQAC) is receiving $4 million from Développement économique Canada pour les régions du Québec (DEC) to create a bio-product processing centre called the Centre de transformation et de valorisation de bioproduits (CTVB). – Université du Québec

Malaysia’s national oil company PETRONAS has joined CMC Research Institute’s carbon storage research group, part of the institute’s Field Research Station (FRS) program, ahead of deploying carbon capture and storage at its offshore operations. – CMC Research Institutes

The University of Manitoba Centre for Oil and Gas Research and Development (COGRAD) will receive $1.1 million from ISED to establish an environmental DNA (e-DNA) laboratory for non-invasive biodiversity monitoring. – Newswire

PROFILE: Journalist John Lorinc offers a close study of Jim Balsillie‘s battle against Sidewalk Labs and the “anti-global-tech-giant narrative” he’s spinning. – Maclean’s

The Toronto Trade Accelerator Program (TAP Toronto) has won a $6.7 million federal investment to help 1,000 Ontario SMEs improve their export game. – BetaKit

McMaster University received $37.5 million through the federal Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund for the now-completed redevelopment of its Arthur Bourns Building, replete with improved science and engineering research facilities and a 45,000 square-foot addition. – McMaster Daily News

Capilano University in British Columbia will receive nearly $2 million from ISED for its new Indigenous Digital Accelerator Centre, a dedicated space for Indigenous entrepreneurs, where they will receive mentoring and advice from members of Indigenext, an Indigenous business accelerator. – Newswire

ISED will invest $3 million in Ecoation Innovative Solutions Inc. for an autonomous AI platform for pest management and yield prediction, designed to increase the crop yield of greenhouse growers. – Newswire

The Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) has named Angela Mondou its new President and Chief Executive Officer. Mondou has held senior leadership roles at Nortel Networks and Blackberry, served as president of the charity Canada Company, and created the public-private sector leadership forums “Strategic Knowledge Exchange.” – ITAC

Three University of Toronto researchers were named among the 50 new fellows of the Royal Society, the United Kingdom’s national academy of sciences: earth scientist Barbara Sherwood Lollar, molecular geneticist Benjamin Blencowe and biomedical engineer Molly Shoichet. – University of Toronto

The Short Report - March 27, 2019: ThunderFish, Friesen Prize, godfathers of AI

Dr. Ian Potter will take over as CEO at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, a not-for-profit in the Niagara Region dedicated to horticultural science. Potter previously held executive positions at the National Research Council, Alberta Innovates, and the Alberta Research Council. – Canada.com

McGill University professor Dr. Bartha Knoppers has been awarded the 2019 Henry G. Friesen International Prize in Health Research for her work on the ethics of biomedical research in human genetics and genomics. – McGill

David Dexter will be the new director of Sheridan College’s Screen Industries Research and Training Centre (SIRT), which supports technology innovation within Ontario’s screen industries. – Twitter

Kraken Robotic Systems Inc. will receive $1 million from the federal government through the Build in Canada Innovation Program for its ThunderFish 300 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV), to be delivered to Defense Research and Development Canada (DRDC) for testing later this year. – The Telegram

The Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) has opened its new Carrefour d’entrepreneuriat et d’innovation Desjardins (CEI-Desjardins), which will include a laboratory for research on entrepreneurship and SMEs. – Université du Québec

Yoshua Bengio, Geoffrey Hinton, and Yann LeCun — the “Godfathers of AI” — are sharing the $1-million 2018 A.M. Turing Award. Hinton is associated with University of Toronto and serves as chief science advisor at the Vector Institute; Bengio is associated with Université de Montréal and is the founder and scientific director of Mila (Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms); Lecun did his postdoctoral research with Hinton at the University of Toronto and now holds the position of Chief Artificial Intelligence Scientist at Facebook AI Research. – The Verge

The Short Report - April 10, 2019: Seafood tech, forest research, clean transport

CIFAR added 17 new members to its AI Chairs program, bringing the number from 29 to 46. A third announcement later this year will bring the total to around 60. CIFAR also announced four new additions to its portfolio of interdisciplinary research programs. – BetaKit

The Government of Canada and the Province of Nova Scotia are jointly investing more than $1.2 million in 11 regional organizations through the Atlantic Fisheries Fund, for the implementation of new technologies and equipment in the fish and seafood sector. – Newswire

Natural Resources Canada announced $22.7 million for FPInnovations, the forest sector research institute headquartered in Pointe-Claire, Quebec. The funding will support new forest-based products to go to market ($20.4 million), as well as protecting market access and improving environmental performance ($2.3 million). – Newsire

Transport Canada announced a second call for proposals under the Clean Transportation System – Research and Development program, offering $1.5 million over three years for the development of clean technologies to improve the environmental performance of Canada’s transportation system. – Newswire

ISED released a report on its consultations with the co-operative business sector, concluding that co-operatives represent great potential for the Canadian economy because they are innovative and growth-oriented – What We Heard: Motion-100 Consultations

A new federal investment of $6 million under Canadian Agricultural Partnership will support the pork industry in three areas: $3.8 million through AgriAssurance for food safety, traceability and animal care; $1.2 million through AgriMarketing for expanding markets; and $1.1 million through AgriScience for increased production. – Newswire

The Public Policy Forum released a new report on Canada’s competitiveness by Sean Speer and Robert Asselin, in which they raise concerns about the loss of intellectual property to foreign companies and argue for more protection and support for Canadian-based technologies. – BNN Bloomberg

A new report by the law firm McCarthy Tétrault argues that legal service providers in Canada should do more to adapt to the opportunities and risks of digitization. – Canadian Lawyer

The world’s largest pipeline for liquified CO2 is being built in Alberta. The 240-kilometre, $470-million pipeline will collect captured carbon from a fertilizer plant and the new Sturgeon Refinery near Edmonton, sequestering up to 1.8 megatonnes of C02 annually. – JWN

Environment and Climate Change Canada announced that the Pan-Canadian Expert Collaboration has won a bid to create an independent, policy-oriented, not-for-profit national institute focused on clean growth and climate change, which will be eligible to receive up to $20 million over five years. – Newswire

Red Deer College and Alberta-based electricity distribution provider FortisAlberta formalized a partnership agreement at the college’s new Alternative Energy Lab to collaborate on various sustainability initiatives. – Red Deer College

People

The Short Report - April 17, 2019: Indigenous innovation, Ontario budget, scaling network

Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) announced more than $1 million over four years for a new Social Purpose Institute (SPI), launched by United Way of the Lower Mainland. The initiative aims to promote economic growth and social purpose in British Columbia.  – Newswire

The governments of Canada and Quebec are investing $8.4 million in Uniboard Canada Inc. to enable the fibreboard manufacturer to develop a system that will recover heat and redirect it to the fibre drying system. – Newswire

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) will invest $4.4 million in Saltworks Technologies Inc. to support development of a wastewater disposal technology for the oil and gas industry, called Airbreather. – Newswire

Three innovation hubs in Ontario are joining forces to implement a business scaling network along the Waterloo–Toronto–Ottawa corridor, called the Scale-Up Platform. Communitech, MaRS Discovery District and Invest Ottawa will share a $52.4 million investment from FedDev Ontario to support 30 companies in southern Ontario to achieve revenue objectives of $100 million or more by 2024. – Newswire

The National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) announced some of the first projects to be funded through its $700 million allocation from Budget 2018: Applanix Corporation ($2 million), for navigation of autonomous vehicles; Opus One Solutions ($1.6 million), for distributed energy integration; and Hibar Systems Limited ($2 million), for lithium-ion battery manufacturing. – Newswire

Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED) has awarded $4 million through its Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program to the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi’s Centre d’entrepreneuriat et d’essaimage (CEE-UQAC) to develop a new bioproducts processing and conversion centre (CTVB) in Saguenay. – Newswire

Minister of Small Business Mary Ng announced up to $2.5 million for SheEO — an organization that invests in women-led ventures — through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) Ecosystem Fund. – Newswire

Two projects in Western Canada will receive a combined $2.7 million investment from Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) to increase trade in the technology sector: $2.6 million to the Information and Communication Technologies Association of Manitoba (ICTAM) for its Tech West Canada initiative, and $100,000 to virtual reality animation company Flipside XR through the Women Entrepreneurship Fund. – Newswire

Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Indigenous Services, launched the Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative to improve housing conditions in Indigenous communities by funding Indigenous-led projects to build effective and culturally-inspired living spaces. – Net NewsLedger

Canadian Heritage announced 20 projects that will share $7.8 million in funding through the new Creative Export Canada program. – Newswire

In its 2019-2020 budget, Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government allocated $782 million to the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, representing a 20 percent budget cut. The budget includes the creation of a dedicated talent stream to attract high-skilled workers to Ontario’s tech sector, as well as plans to continue consultations on its first-ever data strategy. – BetaKit

Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan announced $80 million to establish eight new Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC), along with new requirements for the tri-agency initiative to address a lack of equity, diversity and inclusion. – Newswire

The Short Report - April 3, 2019: Future skills, Lightspeed POS, cannabis research

Concordia University has launched the Future Skill Innovation Network, or FUSION, linking five other universities — Simon Fraser, Calgary, Saskatchewan, Carleton and Memorial — to promote student skills development for the globalized economy. The project is funded with a $2.5-million investment from the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Centre, which also announced five other pilot projects to test solutions to skills development challenges. – Concordia

CIBC Innovation Banking announced the closing of US$55-million debt facility with Lightspeed POS Inc, the Montreal point-of-sale software company that grossed CAN$276 million and achieved a unicorn-level, $1.4-billion valuation when shares surged after its IPO on March 8. – Cision

Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) named John Brogly its acting chief executive, following the departure of founding chief executive Dan Wicklum in February. Brogly has worked in leadership at COSIA since the organization launched in 2012. – JWN

The University of Alberta received a $1-million grant for Alzheimer’s research from the Alzheimer Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories and the University Hospital Foundation. – CBC

The University of Toronto and its affiliated hospitals will launch the Toronto Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research Consortium (TC3), a partnership focused on the health effects of cannabis, at the Cannabis Innovation Summit on April 4. – U of T

McGill University will replace its Centre for Medical Education with the new Institute of Health Sciences Education, which will provide graduate programs in health sciences education. – McGill

Agorize, an international platform for hackathons and open innovation challenges, raised $20 million in series B funding to accelerate its development in Canada. – Cision

Number 3 / Volume 33 / March 20, 2019

Opinion Leader:
Joe Irvine

University technology transfer has evolved, but more industry engagement will create better opportunities for commercialization

The most important change to the field of technology transfer has been the adoption of a strategic institutional approach at post-secondary institutions to external relations and economic development.

Read More

Innovation Conversations: Q&A with Minister Mary Ng

Small Business and Export Promotion Minister Mary Ng has announced the successful recipients of the Women Entrepreneurship Fund, a novel investment stream that provides $20 million directly to women whose businesses show strong potential to grow.

Read More

News Bites

News Briefs

Creative Destruction Lab adds new location at University of Oxford

Alberta invests $100M in innovative clean tech projects

Ottawa invests $100M in steel and aluminum SMEs across the country

$49M SIF investment aids construction of $3.5B plastics facility in Alberta

Cisco invests $15M to expand operations in Western Canada

American steel company EVRAZ North America receives $40-million SIF investment

Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster launches first cohort of industry-led projects

Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster announced its first cohort of industry-led projects, with $40 million of co-investment over three years: $15 million from the Vancouver-based supercluster and more than $25 million from industry, research and academic partners. The seven projects will develop and apply digital technologies such as quantum computing and data analytics in the natural resources, healthcare and industrial sectors. Applications include strengthening the early detection and treatment of skin cancers, improving the prediction of manufacturing failures and analyzing the economic and environmental impacts of resource projects. Each project team brings together a consortium of partners that includes industry adopters, technology leaders, startups, SMEs, digital innovators and research organizations. Companies involved include TELUS Health, LlamaZOO Interactive, D-Wave and Microsoft. Sue Paish, CEO of the Digital Technology Supercluster, says the projects will propel Canada forward as a digital innovation leader, drive increased economic growth and create jobs.

$37.5M SIF investment brings BioVectra expansion project to $144.6M

Saskatchewan confronts talent shortage as tech sector sees 100% growth

Canada launches $2B, 24-year space strategy with new Canadarm for NASA-led moon base project

FedDev Ontario receives $1B from ISED to fuel economic growth

Export Development Canada commits $32M in financing to cleantech firm Ecolomondo

Minister of Labour Patty Hajdu announces $3.14M to support women in trade apprenticeships

Minister of Labour Patty Hajdu has announced $3.14 million from Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU) for a new apprenticeship project called An Innovative Model to Enhance Entry, Advancement, and Employment Outcomes of Women Apprentices. Supporting CBTU’s Women in Trades Program, the 42-month project offers career services, employment assistance and networking opportunities for up to 750 women apprentices, including approximately 100 Indigenous women. The program aims to help each participant complete their training and obtain Red Seal certification, which allows them to work anywhere in Canada. The project is funded under the Innovation in Apprenticeship Training stream of the Union Training and Innovation Program, which receives $25 million annually from the federal government to support union‑based apprenticeship training, innovation and partnerships.

$1.2M investment supports biomass research at Saint Mary’s University

People

Canada Mining Innovation Council announces new chair of its board of directors

Number 2 / Volume 33 / February 20, 2019

Editorial:
Mark Mann

To thrive, Canada’s many tech-cluster and supercluster initiatives need to focus on liveability and other social issues in the areas where they operate.

Read More

Opinion Leader:
J. Adam Holbrook and Carol Muñoz Nieves

Vancouver’s digital supercluster needs policies that protect its human capital

Digital industries in Canada operate in ways that are often at odds with other economic activities, owing to a fundamental difference: in the digital sector, the main input is human capital and the main output is intellectual property, whereas for most other Canadian industries the inputs are resources and the outputs are processed raw materials, manufactured goods and conventional services.

Read More

News Bites

News Briefs

New University of Lethbridge hub for innovation and discovery nearly complete

Federal government launches new agency to address digital shifts in job market

The federal government has committed $225 million over four years for a new Future Skills Centre at Ryerson University, plus $75 million annually in subsequent years. The job training agency will be operated by the university alongside the Conference Board of Canada and Blueprint ADE, and will focus on preparing Canadians for changes to the job market as a result of digitization and disruptive technology. The arms-length agency will fund skills-development projects across Canada and partner with provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous governments and for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. In the same announcement, the government named 15 members of its Future Skills Council, which will advise the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour on national and regional issues related to emerging in-demand skills and workforce trends. The Council will be co-chaired by Valerie Walker, Executive Director of the Business/ Higher Education Roundtable (BHER) and Dr. Thierry Karsenti, Director of the Centre de recherche interuniversitaire sur la formation et la profession enseignante (CRIFPE).

Alberta commits $100M to grow province’s AI sector

ISED launches competition for $30M pilot program to provide IP advice to Canadian SMEs

New biomass research cluster seeks enhance production of clean bioenergy in Canada

New federal program will invest $50M to support competitiveness in Canada’s agricultural sector

Alberta invests $70M in 11 industrial projects to reduce emissions

The Alberta government is investing $70.2 million in 11 private sector industrial projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and operating costs. The funding, from the province’s Climate Leadership Plan, is being provided through Emissions Reduction Alberta’s Industrial Efficiency Challenge, an open call last year to large final emitter industrial facilities in multiple sectors: oil and gas, chemicals and fertilizers, cement and concrete, forestry and agriculture, electricity, and manufacturing. Funding will be distributed on a milestone-by-milestone basis, based on progress reports.

The 11 projects — all first-of-kind demonstrations and deployments — are worth a combined value of $267 million. They include using low-carbon fuels to make cement; recovering heat from a refinery to generate electricity; digital optimization in oil sands production; recovering flue gas energy in a kraft pulp mill; and using a natural gas turbine with battery storage. The projects are expected to reduce GHG emissions by more than 5.2 million tonnes (carbon dioxide equivalent) by 2030.

University of Calgary innovation hub receives $8.5M from city’s investment fund

Canadian genomics researchers win $56M in funding from government and businesses

Defence awards contracts worth $46.2M to bolster surveillance in the North

Ottawa invests $6M in Mississauga-based cleantech firm Imtex Membranes

B.C. agriculture projects receive $2.9M from federal-provincial innovation program

Natural Resources Canada announces $4.2 million for renewable energy projects in the North

Quebec AI institute Mila opens giant new facility in Montreal

The Quebec Institute of Artificial Intelligence (Mila) officially opened its new premises in Montreal, with more than 200 partners and other members of the Quebec artificial intelligence ecosystem in attendance. Mila is tasked with implementing the Quebec government’s Strategy for the Development of Quebec’s Artificial Intelligence Ecosystem. The AI institute will receive $80 million over five years from Quebec’s Ministry of Economy and Innovation, as well as $44 million from the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) as one of the three lead partners in the development and implementation of the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy.

Mila was created as a collaboration between the Université de Montréal and McGill University, with support from HEC Montréal and Polytechnique Montréal. The new 90,000-sq-ft location, situated in Montreal’s Mile-Ex neighbourhood, will house more than 375 Mila members and 125 researchers and experts from partner companies and institutions. The facility also includes corporate labs, start-up spaces, and a technology transfer centre, which will help startups, SMEs and industrial research projects include AI in their innovations. Mila aims to facilitate the conversion of AI research to economic development by concentrating all phases of the innovation process, from student projects through to established companies.

Other important companies in the Montreal AI ecosystem are located in the same building complex, a former textile factory that’s now home to Element AI, Thales, RBC’s Borealis AI, Facebook’s AI lab, and SCALE.AI—the AI supercluster focused on next-gen supply chains—among others.

“Here in Montreal we started research on AI and it has given us a bit of headway, but the rest of the world isn’t waiting. They’re pressing on the gas and investing billions and billions of dollars,” Yoshua Bengio, Mila’s founder and scientific director, told the assembled crowd. “It’s important to think about what we have here and how we build Mila so we can compete in this global environment.”

READ MORE: CIFAR unveils first cohort of AI chairs at Pan-Canadian AI Strategy annual meeting

ISED announces major investments in Siemens and Nokia under the Strategic Innovation Fund

Ottawa invests $15.3M in Alberta advanced solar project

People

Laurentian University names new president and vice-chancellor

NSERC announces new vice president of research grants and scholarships

SCALE.AI names former Yellow Pages Canada head Julien Billot as CEO

The Montreal-based artificial intelligence supercluster SCALE.AI has appointed Julien Billot as its CEO. Billot has extensive experience conducting digital transformations in the telecommunications and media industries, at Orange and Lagardere Active in France, and at Yellow Pages Group, where he served as Media Group CEO for PagesJaunes (2009-2013) and then president and CEO of Yellow Pages Canada (2014-2017). In June 2018, Billot was named CEO of Montreal’s NextAi incubator and Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) accelerator programs, which are associated with the university business school HEC Montréal. He will retain that position as he enters his new role at SCALE.AI: “We see a real coherence between SCALE, NextAi and CDL,” Billot told RE$EARCH MONEY. The startups from NextAi will share space with SCALE.AI at 6650 St Urbain St. in Montreal, the converted textile factory in the Mile-Ex neighbourhood that also houses the Quebec Institute of Artificial Intelligence (Mila), ElementAI, Thales and other important companies and organizations from the city’s AI ecosystem. Billot graduated from Ecole Polytechnique of Paris and Telecom Paris Tech, and he also holds a post-graduate degree in economics from Paris Dauphine University. SCALE.AI is focused on improving the ability of Canadian businesses to develop, access and adopt AI-powered supply chains. With this appointment, all five superclusters now have a CEO.

READ MOREQuebec AI institute Mila opens giant new facility in Montreal (Jan 28, 2019)

Blackberry names Bryan Palma new president and COO

Number 1 / Volume 33 / January 23, 2019

Editorial:
Mark Mann

In the innovation community, we often talk about how government and industry can better facilitate the commercialization of research, but not every innovation finds its most natural and ideal expression as a product.

Read More

Opinion Leader:
Tim Draimin

Wicked ecological and social challenges force us to rethink innovation policy

Canada should adopt a mission-oriented approach to innovation in order to tackle the major societal challenges.

Read More

News Bites

News Briefs

Twenty-nine Alberta clean tech projects awarded $20.5M

New $1.62M collaboration in Nova Scotia will advance light-manipulation research

Defence finalizes 160 contracts for its Competitive Projects innovation program

Feds, industry invest $67.7M  to support field crop science

Queen's University launches Rose Innovation Hub at newly built Mitchell Hall

The Schulich School of Business opens $50-million research and commercialization facility

The Schulich School of Business at York University opened a new building for interdisciplinary research and commercialization. The Rob and Cheryl McEwen Graduate Study & Research Building will host four Centres of Excellence in management education: the Centre of Excellence in Responsible Business, the Schulich Centre for Global Enterprise, and the Brookfield Centre in Real Estate and Infrastructure, as well as the newly created Centre of Excellence in Business Analytics and Artificial Intelligence, which incorporates the Deloitte Cognitive Analytics and Visualization Lab. The $50-million, 67,000-square-foot building received $15 million from the federal government’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, created in Budget 2016 and offering $2 billion over three years to update and modernize aging post-secondary infrastructure. The McEwen building also employs environmentally responsible designs, including a glass solar chimney that provides passive natural ventilation to the whole building.

Dalhousie University opens new innovation 'sandbox'

New partnership streamlines funding for emission-reducing innovations

Bains and Duncan seek applicants for new science and innovation advisory council

Alberta Innovates invests $2 million to explore non-combustion uses for bitumen

New innovation centre launched in downtown Calgary

People

OMERS Ventures hires veteran investor Michael Yang to open Silicon Valley office

Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association appoints new CEO