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New COVID-19 portal aims to nationalize genomic data sharing

Canada is poised to launch a national portal that will provide a near real-time snapshot of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic across Canada, including the detection and spread of variants of concern. It will also establish the national data infrastructure Canada needs to track future pandemics.

BHER Roundtable concludes national innovation challenge to boost COVID-19 recovery

The Business and Higher Education Roundtable wrapped up its first Canada Comeback Challenge this month, a national challenge meant to shore up opportunities for students and support economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic. Student projects included a mining data platform, a wayfinder algorithm for visually-impaired users and a policy program to encourage flexible work policies.

Federal funding for energy efficiency must tackle impact on low-income Canadians

The federal government’s upcoming budget needs to address the problem of “energy poverty” as an urgent priority, Kirsten Pulles, Community Organizer for Efficiency Canada, says in an op-ed. This includes funding low-income energy efficiency programs, making meaningful reductions in energy use, and training and hiring lower-income, rural and racialized Canadians to do the energy efficiency upgrades and outreach work, she says.

The Short Report - March 31, 2021: Canadian government invests $925 million in biomanufacturing, funding for variants research, a new digitalization centre, and more

Ottawa announces major funding to expand Sanofi Pasteur’s Ontario facility for domestic biomanufacturing and vaccine preparedness; there’s new funding support for COVID-19 variants research and a new national network, and Siemens launches its first centre to accelerate the digitalization of energy and infrastructure in Canada.

Latest Issue:

Number 3

Volume 35 March 24 2021

Opinion Leader:
Michael J. Strong

As fight against COVID-19 continues, we must prepare for the next health crisis

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) will be supporting the creation of a new Centre for Pandemic Preparedness and Health Emergencies, CIHR president Michael J. Strong says in an op-ed.

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Opinion Leader:
Marc Spooner

Performance-based funding for universities is an unsound policy that sounds good

Performance-based funding proposed by some provinces for post-secondary institutions uses flawed indicators and hasn’t worked in other jurisdictions, Dr. Marc Spooner, PhD, professor of educational psychology at the University of Regina, says in an op-ed. “How governments can, in good conscience, ignore the damage these models have caused in other jurisdictions where they have been unsuccessfully implemented is difficult to understand.”

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Canada needs a targeted industrial strategy to improve innovation performance, experts say

Canada’s continued poor performance in innovation and business productivity is due to a failure to link publicly funded research and innovation programs to an industrial strategy based on the country’s strengths, say innovation experts. Meanwhile, studies by University of Toronto researchers show the federal innovation agenda has negatively impacted funding for basic, investigator-driven research but hasn’t addressed the underlying problem of industrial innovation in Canada.

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The Short Report – March 17, 2021: Canadian government invests heavily to bolster biomanufacturing, D-Wave Systems gets funding for quantum tech, Canada’s largest study on aging gets a top-up, and more

The Government of Canada seeks to bolster Canada’s biomanufacturing capacity, D-Wave receives $40 million to accelerate Canada’s quantum technology development, the federal government invests in Canada’s longest-ever study on aging, Quebec’s Lion Electric gets ready to break ground on a new battery manufacturing plant, and more.

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Oil and gas innovation network has yet to spend $80 million of federal funding for cleaner technologies

A pan-Canadian oil and natural gas innovation network has yet to spend the bulk of $100 million of federal funding on commercializing new, cleaner technologies, two years after Ottawa announced the funding and seven months after a contribution agreement was signed. The Clean Resource Innovation Network, which aims to produce the world’s cleanest hydrocarbons, plans to announce details of its planned three technology competitions by end of March 2021.

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Opinion Leader:
Bill Greuel

Canada can be a leader in plant-based foods if we take a coordinated approach

Canada is well-positioned to become a leader in meeting the growing global demand for plant-based foods and ingredients, but needs a coordinated effort to increase ingredient processing and food manufacturing in the country, Bill Grueul, CEO of the Protein Industries Canada supercluster, says in an op-ed.

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New federal budget could include funding for a quantum institute as global race for quantum tech heats up

When Budget 2021 drops on April 19, some of Canada’s quantum researchers and entrepreneurs will be holding their breath. That is because the Standing Committee on Finance published a budget recommendation in February urging the federal government to “financially support the establishment of a quantum computing research institute in the Toronto area, similar to the Vector Institute.”

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The Short Report – March 24, 2021: Genome Canada creates data portal to address COVID-19 variants, Suncor invests US$25M in carbon capture tech, a national agriculture network, and more.

Genome Canada launches a SARS-CoV-2 data portal to consolidate variants of concern data in one place, Calgary’s Suncor Energy invests in carbon capture technology to offset GHG emissions, Government of Canada invests $185 million in an agricultural program to share best practices for storing carbon, and more.

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New 10-year CIHR strategy focuses on health equity, Indigenous research and knowledge mobilization

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research has released a strategic plan that calls health equity “the most pressing health-related challenge in our country” and charts a course toward reducing health inequalities across Canada over the next decade. Researchers say inadequate funding and low success rates continue to be major problems, which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis, and also need to be addressed.

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