Arthur J.E. Child Foundation , Canadian Institutes of Health Research , Eisai Limited , Government of Ontario , Government of Quebec, Kids Help Phone , L’Union des producteurs agricoles , Lactanet , Lambton College, Les Producteurs de lait du Québec , LSK Investment, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council , Niagara Region Economic Development , Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council , University of Alberta , University of Calgary , University of Quebec in Montreal , Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Alberta Cancer Foundation, Alberta Health Services, Avalon Advanced Materials , Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Camosun College, Canadian Foundation for Innovation, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles, Cégep de Saint-Laurent, Cégep de Thetford, Cégep de Trois-Rivières, Cégep de Victoriaville, Cégep Edouard-Montpetit, Collège d'Alma, College of the North Atlantic, Dairy Farmers of Canada, Dairy Farmers of Ontario, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, DFC, Durham College, Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, GeologicAI, George Brown College, Government of Canada, Government of Quebec, Health Canada, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, Innovative Solutions Canada, KDDI Corporation, Les Producteurs de lait du Québec, McGill University, MDA, Metso Corporation, Ministry of Economy, Innovation and Energy, Mitacs, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Niagara College, Northwestern Polytechnic, Novalait, Ontario Research Fund, Protein Industries Canada, Ribbit, Royal Society, RRC Polytechnic, Sheridan College, Transport Canada, Université Laval, Université Laval's Faculty of Forestry, Geography, and Geomatics, University of British Columbia, and Vector Institute



The Short Report - July 12, 2023: U of A study to shed light on MAID delivery; ISC's quantum testing stream; food-focused AI projects, permafrost research, and more.

Cindy Graham
July 12, 2023


The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council are providing $18 million in funding over the next five years to 16 Technology Access Centres (TACs) across Canada. The funding is provided through the College and Community Innovation program’s 2022 Technology Access Centre grants. TACs operated by Camosun College, College of the North Atlantic, Durham College, George Brown College, Lambton College, Northwestern Polytechnic, RRC Polytechnic, and Sheridan College each received $1.75 million while TACs operated by Cégep Edouard-Montpetit, Cégep de Saint-Laurent, Cégep de Thetford, Cégep de Trois-Rivieres, Cégep de Victoriaville, Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles, and Collège d'Alma each received $500,000. The funding will help fulfill local research and innovation needs in advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence, management of rainwater and dairy production. NSERC

Meanwhile, Canada's federal research granting agencies are conducting a review of the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications. The aim is to ensure that research findings supported by the agencies are freely accessible to the public without any subscription or fees when published in peer-reviewed journals. The updated policy, which will be released by the end of 2025, will align with international best practices and the growing global trend towards open access publishing. The agencies will engage with researchers, libraries, publishers, and scholarly associations to gather input on creating an effective and sustainable open access policy. GOC

The Government of Ontario has concluded a business mission to South Korea and Japan aimed at strengthening economic partnerships and attracting investments in the life sciences, automotive, and tech sectors. LSK Investment, a South Korean life sciences and health care investment company, plans to create a new $100-million venture capital fund for life sciences companies in Ontario and South Korea, focusing on supporting early-stage companies developing new therapeutics. It also intends to open its North American headquarters in Toronto later this year. The mission included meetings with automotive and tech companies, resulting in investments such as KDDI Corporation's $1.35 billion investment in acquiring three data centers in Toronto. Government of Ontario

Protein Industries Canada has issued a $10-million call for food-focused artificial intelligence (AI) projects. The call for industry-led projects is specifically seeking proposals that use AI to advance the development of plant-based food and ingredients in areas such as food safety and quality assurance, virtual testing of product formulations, designing food products for specific health outcomes, and addressing food waste and food security issues. Expressions of interest will be accepted on a continual basis, with the call closing once the $10 million has been allocated. PIC

Innovative Solutions Canada has recently launched a quantum testing stream. Pre-commercial prototypes in quantum sensing, communications, and computing will be tested in real-life settings to address specific government challenges, such as advancing signal fidelity over long distances, leveraging advances in magnetic sensors, and obtaining computing hardware and software solutions to improve government departments’ existing quantum computing stack, among others. The closing dates for each stream is August 3. Visit the Innovative Solutions Canada for details.

Niagara College has begun construction on a $9.4-million greenhouse, serving as the hub for the college's Horticultural & Environmental Sciences Innovation Centre and supporting advancements in applied research and student learning. The greenhouse will feature a horticulture lab, a vertical grow room, and five individually contained bays for research projects. The greenhouse is expected to be completed by March 2024 with funding from various sources, including the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario ($1,566,500 ); Niagara Region Economic Development ($800,000); the Canada Foundation for Innovation ($892,807) and the Ontario Research Fund ($893,391). Niagara College

The Government of Canada is providing more than $7.5 million in funding to Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) through the AgriScience Program – Clusters Component to support research aimed at enhancing the environmental and economic sustainability of the Canadian dairy industry. DFC will focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving cow health and welfare, and enhancing milk quality.  Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada

Meanwhile, McGill University and the University of Quebec in Montreal are embarking on a research collaboration that will examine the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in promoting dairy cattle welfare. A pilot project on two research farms in Quebec and Ontario will expand to a network of over 100 farms across the two provinces, creating a digital living lab centred on animal and dairy producers’ needs. The collaboration will be led by Dr. Elsa Vasseur (McGill) and Dr. Abdoulaye Baniré Diallo (UQAM) and is backed by a new five-year, $5-million Research and Innovation Chair in Animal Welfare and Artificial Intelligence, whose funding base includes Novalait, DFC and Lactanet as well as the Dairy Farmers of Ontario, Les Producteurs de Lait du Québec and federal government support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Ministry of Economy, Innovation and Energy. Farm Ontario McGill

Toronto-based pilotless airline startup Ribbit has received a yearlong $1.3-million contract from Transport Canada and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada through the Innovative Solutions Canada testing stream to begin flying autonomous aircraft to deliver cargo to remote areas of Canada. Ribbit will equip Transport Canada with a single optionally piloted fixed-wing airplane along with remote crew and maintenance services to sustain autonomous cargo flights for a one-year period. Meanwhile, the federal government will collect operational data to help drive evidence-based aviation regulations, standards, and policy. Ribbit CTV

Université Laval will receive up to $600,000 from the Government of Quebec to support the Partnership Research Chair on Permafrost in Nunavik. The funds will be used to maintain and develop permafrost knowledge in the context of climate change, support and accelerate adaptation to climate change in the province’s permafrost regions, and ensure the research chair is sustained over time. The funding follows a $900,000 investment from Quebec in 2021, establishing the chair. Government of Quebec


Health Canada will contribute $560,000 in funding over two years to the University of Alberta to conduct the first comprehensive national review of how medical assistance in dying (MAID) is provided across the country and increase understanding of individual and family experiences.  Information gathered will highlight strengths, challenges, and considerations of MAID service delivery, identifying best practices for all levels of government and health partners. Health Canada says that along with the data collected through the federal MAID monitoring system, the project will provide a better understanding of the experiences of persons requesting MAID, including factors leading to their request, and will shed light on issues such as access to MAID, quality of delivery, and cultural appropriateness. Health Canada

A $50-million donation from the Arthur J.E. Child Foundation will accelerate research at Calgary's new comprehensive cancer center. The facility is set to open in 2024 and will be the largest comprehensive cancer center in Canada. The donation was made through the OWN.CANCER campaign, a partnership between the Alberta Cancer Foundation, Alberta Health Services, and the University of Calgary. UCalgary

Mental health services provider Kids Help Phone is partnering with Toronto-based Vector Institute to expand its use of artificial intelligence (AI) in its service delivery. KHP says it will use natural language processing (NLP) to adapt its youth mental health dataset to the way young people speak, allowing frontline staff to offer more precise services to young people based on their words, phrases, and speech patterns, and route young people to available and appropriate service channels. KHP

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research, in partnership with Eisai Limited and Mitacs, are investing more than $1 million to provide a third research team as part of a consortium studying sleep and sleep disorders. The investment builds on a $3.8-million investment the Government of Canada and partners made to support two interdisciplinary research teams in 2022. The third team, led by Dr. Lianne Tomfohr-Madsen at the University of British Columbia, will study how people’s identities, location, and access to services affect their quality of sleep, and what factors protect and improve sleep. CIHR


The Government of Canada has announced two new living labs as part of the Agricultural Climate Solutions program led by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The labs, led by L’Union des producteurs agricoles and Les Producteurs de lait du Québec, will receive $9.2 million and $7 million respectively, and will focus on carbon sequestration and reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the implementation of beneficial management practices including crop rotation, cover cropping, better management of forage crops and animal waste, and exploring the impact of riparian strips and biochar on biodiversity and carbon sequestration. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Brampton-based space technology company MDA has been awarded a two-year contract with optional extensions by the Government of Canada through the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to combat illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing in the Indo-Pacific region. The contract involves the use of MDA's Maritime Insights Platform, which uses the RADARSAT-2 Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and combines satellite data sources to track and identify IUU fishing, including dark vessel detection. MDA

Avalon Advanced Materials (Toronto) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Helsinki-based Metso Corporation to develop Ontario's first lithium processing facility. The partnership aims to establish a lithium hydroxide production facility to meet the growing demand for electric vehicle (EV) batteries in North America. Avalon will use Metso's technology to construct a full-service lithium processing facility at its Thunder Bay industrial site, making it the first vertically integrated lithium producer in Ontario. The collaboration supports Canada's Critical Minerals Strategy and contributes to the development of domestic supply chains for the green and digital economy. Avalon


Calgary-based GeologicAI, a rock and resource digitization services company,  has raised a $20-million Series A funding investment from Washington-based Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the Washington-based investment firm founded by Bill Gates. The financial backing will further the development and scaling of AI-powered robot geologists, accelerating resource exploration and extraction to meet the demand for critical minerals. GeologicAI


Chamirai Nyabeze has been appointed network director for the Sudbury-based Mining Innovation Commercialization Accelerator Network (MICA), effective July 6.  Nyabeze has been a member of the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation for the past 11 years. Douglas Morrison will succeed Nyabeze as mining advisor to the network. MICA

University of British Columbia professor Dr. Pieter Cullis has been elected as a fellow of the Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of sciences and the oldest science academy in continuous existence. Cullis is being recognized for his work developing the lipid nanoparticle delivery technology that enables advanced nanomedicines, including the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. UBC

Stephanie McDonald has been appointed "Chief People, Culture, and Transformation Officer" of space technology and services company MDA. McDonald will oversee MDA's people, culture, and transformation agenda and supporting the company's strategy and growth in this new role. MDA

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