Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne is facing a very busy year, with a mandate letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that includes more than 30 assigned tasks. They include establishing a new advanced research projects agency, launching a Canadian critical minerals strategy and a national quantum strategy and creating a global centre of excellence for eliminating methane gas emissions.
The pandemic provoked a bold experiment in research funding that put money into the hands of two dozen Canadian COVID-19 researchers in record time. Known as Fast Grants, the philanthropy-backed initiative has changed how COVID-19 is detected, tracked and treated and inspired others to rethink how science is funded, especially during emergencies.
Canada’s cybersecurity talent shortage is making it more difficult to protect critical assets as large organizations and infrastructure become more vulnerable to online attacks, according to leading researchers in the area.
A more integrated relationship with stronger partnerships between post-secondary institutions and industry can provide students with more work-relevant training, while rapidly upskilling and reskilling the current workforce to boost Canada’s lagging productivity, Laura Jo Gunter, president and CEO at the Northern Institute of Technology, says in an op-ed.
As 2021 draws to a close, we offer a compendium of key developments in Canada’s innovation ecosystem from the past twelve months.
As we enter into the holidays, we’ll all hopefully get more time to relax and, perhaps, crack open a book. Here’s some of the Research Money team’s top reading picks for 2021.
Alberta’s four major universities have put a hold on developing new research initiatives and renewing existing research agreements with entities in China, as directed by the provincial government. All four universities also have submitted reports to Alberta Advanced Education detailing all agreements, research relationships, institutional relations and joint ventures under way with entities connected to the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party.
A lack of understanding of scale-ups and how they operate is preventing governments from developing policies that support their growth, according to a report from the Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Climate change gives Canada’s innovation ecosystem a huge opportunity, supported by a change in innovation policies, to create new greenhouse gas emissions-free products from the oil sands, Bert van den Berg, an Ottawa-based innovation policy consultant and former program leader with NSERC, says in an op-ed.
A new Quebec neuroscience partnership may advance drug discovery for brain diseases through AI and Open Science; a CFI national survey shows most young adults have confidence in science; Dr. Leah Cowen has been named the University of Toronto’s vice-president, research and innovation, and strategic initiatives, and more.
The growth of Kraken Robotics, based in St. John’s, has been possible only with the financial investment and support of many federal and provincial government agencies, says Bill Donovan, senior program manager at Kraken.
The Short Report - Dec. 15, 2021: UBC launches diabetes centre of excellence, Standing Committees struck for 44th Parliament, exploring pandemic impacts, and more
Canada’s first JDRF Centre of Excellence in Type 1 diabetes research, science and technology standing committee members announced, Ottawa invests in pandemic research and vaccine confidence projects, and more.
Vancouver-based Harbour Air is developing a second battery-powered aircraft as part of its quest to offer the world’s first commercial electric passenger-plane service.
Opinion Leader: Much stronger public sector support needed for industry’s commercialization of intellectual property
More public sector support is needed to help Canadian companies generate and protect valuable intellectual property, because businesses are failing to exploit their IP and reap the economic benefits for Canadians, Daniel Katz, lead research analyst at Global Advantage Consulting Group, and Natalie Raffoul, managing partner of Brion Raffoul LLP, say in an op-ed.
Q&A: Former environment and climate change minister Catherine McKenna on COP26 and Canada’s climate plans
Catherine McKenna, former minister of environment and climate change and former minister of infrastructure and communities, spoke to Research Money about the outcomes of the COP26 climate summit, the federal emissions cap on the oil and gas industry, federal investment needed to ensure the country meets its emissions-reduction targets and her two “passions”: climate action and supporting women and girls.
Opinion Leader: Continued government support is critical to maintain Ontario’s global competitiveness in regenerative medicine
Ongoing provincial government support for the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine (OIRM) is critical to maintain Ontario’s global competitiveness in the fast-growing field of regenerative medicine which is developing cutting-edge products and therapies resulting from stem cell research, Dr. Duncan Stewart, president and scientific director of OIRM, and Dr. Tim Smith, chair of the board of directors at OIRM, say in an op-ed.
Innovation players hoping for signs in Throne Speech need to look elsewhere for indication of government’s STI plans
The first Speech from the Throne delivered by Governor General Mary Simon included just a single mention of innovation and made zero references to science or research and development, leaving STI tea-readers bereft.
A new Canadian startup is using AI to help businesses use AI-based systems responsibly.
The Short Report - November 24, 2021: BioVectra funding spurs expansion for mRNA vaccine development, UNESCO adopts the Open Science Recommendation, NSERC awards annual research prizes, and more
BioVectra’s funding boost creates room for mRNA vaccine production; UNESCO’s Science Commission unanimously adopts the Recommendation on Open Science; the Government of Canada celebrates Canada’s top natural sciences and engineering research talent, and more.
What will it take for Canada to modernize its financial ecosystem?
Canada is taking several steps to modernize the country’s financial ecosystem, including payment systems. But such initiatives will need continued industry pressure to get them implemented quickly, Nick Catino, Global Head of Policy and Campaigns at Wise, a U.K.-headquartered financial technology services company, says in an op-ed.
Canada’s lack of a semiconductor manufacturing base poses a national security risk amid a global shortage, says Canada’s Semiconductor Council in a new report.
A significant investment by Canada’s Ocean Supercluster in companies commercializing robotics and sensor technologies is starting to reap benefits, including creating jobs, building stronger domestic companies and attracting international firms to establish in Canada, says Susan Hunt, the supercluster’s chief technology officer.
Health Canada has published a new set of guiding principles to promote the safe and effective use of medical devices enabled by artificial intelligence and machine learning.
The Short Report - Dec. 8, 2021: Ontario launches flagship EV program, Alberta boosts vaccine development capacity, applied research on the rise, and more
The launch of Ontario’s vehicle innovation network signals readiness for next-generation auto solutions, Alberta invests tens of millions of dollars to fund vaccine research and manufacturing capacity, research activity continues to grow at colleges and institutes across Canada, and more.
Canada lacks the data to make sound policy decisions on digital economy: Conference Board of Canada report
Canada lacks the data on cross-border trade in digital products and services needed to make sound government policy and business investment for the nation’s digital economy, according to a new Conference Board of Canada (CBoC) report by by Swapna Nair, senior economist who leads the Global Commerce Centre at the CBoC.
The Short Report - Dec. 1, 2021: Canadian Nuclear Labs announces project team for Chalk River research centre, CFI's Innovation Fund competition, Mitacs & SSHRC awards, and more
CNL announces project agreement for construction of its new Advanced Nuclear Materials Research Centre, the Canada Foundation for Innovation launches its flagship competition fund for 2023, SSHRC and Mitacs celebrate Canada’s researchers and innovators, and more.
Some experts argue that new study procedures need to be expanded following record animal use in Canadian research projects during 2020.
Opinion Leader: Effective communication is a key tool for wise ICT procurement and increased productivity
Investment by governments and businesses in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) requires effective verbal communication about project needs, goals and accountability, which will minimize waste, save money and enhance the reputation of both Canada’s ICT industry and the nation’s productivity, says Henry Huang, a systems engineer and author, in an op-ed.