Short Report, February 5, 2020: Most Canadian boards still don't include women; merit-based grants offer big economic returns; McMaster researchers establish a new form of computing

Mark Mann
February 5, 2020

A StatCan study of Canadian corporations in 2016/17 found that most of their boards didn't include women: over 60% had no women members. The number of women on boards is growing, but very slowly, say experts. - BNN Bloomberg

The University of British Columbia became the first Canadian post-secondary institution to join the Center for Open Science’s online platform, Open Science Framework Institutions (OSFI). The research management tool will help UBC researchers better embrace collaboration and mitigate the reproducibility crisis that is plaguing scientific research, according to Mathew Vis-Dunbar, who led the adoption of OSFI. - UBC

Global funding for neglected disease R&D grew for three consecutive years, reaching a record high of more than US$4.05 billion in 2018. Increases from both the public and private sectors drove a 7.9% rise in total global funding compared to the previous year. - Stat News

The Electronic Recycling Association, the Canadian Cloud Council, and Highrise have partnered to create the ERA Digital Foundation, a Calgary-based not-for-profit that seeks to "re-architect the digital economy for the greater good of all of humanity." - ERA Digital Foundation

Ottawa cleantech company Thermal Energy International has reported a 51 percent increase in year-over-year revenue, achieving a net profit of $385,000 in the three-month period ended Nov. 30, 2019, after a loss of $112,000 in the same quarter last year. The improved performance stems in part from increased demand for its heat recovery products in Europe. - Ottawa Business Journal 

StatCan reported that Canada's gross domestic expenditures on research and development (GERD) reached $35.7 billion in 2017, up 2.0% from the previous year, thanks in part to increasing R&D expenditures in higher ed, which advanced 3.8% to $14.3 billion. The business enterprise and higher education sectors accounted for more than 92% of R&D performance that year. Ontario and Quebec accounted for 70.1% of total R&D expenditures based on funding from all sectors. While Ontario saw a decline in R&D expenditures, Quebec saw a 10.3% rise, reaching $9.7 billion in expenditures. - The Daily

A collaboration between researchers from McMaster and Harvard universities has led to the creation of a platform that enables light beams to communicate with one another through solid matter, a discovery that could lead to a new form of computing. - EurekAlert

A new joint study from the University of British Columbia, Queen’s, Princeton and Yale found that merit-based grants are a government’s best bet for providing effective student aid for long-term economic growth. “We found that a $1000 increase in grants per year for every student, which corresponds to roughly a 50 per cent increase on average, would lead to a long-run gain in GDP of close to one per cent,” said study co-author Giovanni Gallipoli, an associate professor at the Vancouver School of Economics at UBC. “This is a comparatively large return on investment.” - UBC News

The Ottawa-based tech company Fully Managed has obtained $25 million in new financing to expand its senior care technology into markets in the US over the next two years. The funds come from Dallas-based Comerica and BDC Capital. - Ottawa Business Journal

Report: Since the U.S. struck a partial trade agreement with Japan in October 2019, the trade advantage that Canada gained through the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) has narrowed. In a new report from the Canada West Foundation, authors Sharon Zhengyang Sun and Carlo Dade identify overlooked opportunities for Canadian exporters in small sectors, where growth can be accelerated. - Canada West Foundation

Toronto-region tech hub ventureLAB announced the first cohort of companies in its Hardware Catalyst Initiative (HCI), along with $8 million in resources and mentorship from founding partners like AMD and Synopsys. Announced in June of 2019, HCI is Canada's first silicon incubator, focused on helping companies in Southern Ontario develop hardware solutions, by giving them access to expensive tools, lab space, investment and industry expertise. - Canadian Manufacturing

This spring, the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO) is launching a Western Canada Regional Headquarters in Calgary, expanding its investor education programming in Atlantic Canada, and collaborating on new programs with the regional angel groups and innovation hubs in its network. NACO says its activities will unlock $821 million in Alberta and $6.9 billion in angel capital across the country. - Financial Post

THE GRAPEVINE

Charles Émond has been selected by the Quebec government to replace Michael Sabia as president and CEO of Caisse de dépôt et placement. Émond is stepping up from his role as senior vice-president for private investments and strategic planning in Quebec. He previously spent 18 years at Scotiabank. Sabia is transitioning to become head of the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. - CBC

Peter Nicholson has joined the new Canadian Institute for Climate Choices as board chair. Climate Choices is an independent national research body that aims to chart transition pathways to a low-carbon economy. Nicholson was the founding president of the Council of Canadian Academies and has served in multiple executive roles in the public and private sector throughout his long and respected career. "Climate change has handed us a problem of immense complexity and scale, and there are no easy fixes.... Making choices that are cost-effective, fair and position Canada to thrive in the future is an incredible challenge, as well as an opportunity," Nicholson said in a statement. - Climate Choices

Mark Ruddock, CEO of small business lender BFS Capital, joined the Board of Directors for the Canadian Lenders Association (CLA), where he will work on initiatives to benefit consumers and small businesses, including open banking, risk-based pricing and responsible lending. - Financial Post

Veronica Farmer joined the University of Ottawa as Director, Partnerships and Commercialization, to spearhead their uOttawa-Kanata North strategic initiative. Farmer will pursue a three-pronged strategy on behalf of the university to promote access to talent, training and solutions in the Kanata North community. Her company TrueCourse Communications has supported marketing and business development efforts for many companies in Kanata North and Ottawa. - R$

Nicola Urbani has been appointed Director of Innovation Support Services for the Office of the Vice-President Research at the University of Ottawa. A management and investment professional, Urbani was the Director of Investments at CIC Capital Ventures and before that held the position of Vice-President of Commercialization for the Lady Davis Institute at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal. He has also served as a Business Advisor at the National Research Council in the area of medical devices and therapeutics, and as Director of Strategic Projects and Commercialization at Génome Québec. - R$

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