The Short Report, April 1, 2020: EU will integrate COVID-19 stimulus with green transition; researchers team up to share resources and materials in fight against COVID-19; and more

Mark Mann
April 1, 2020

The European Union will adapt its economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic in support of the continent-wide Green Deal adopted in December. Europe wants to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 through a growth strategy that will "transform its economy and society to put it on a

more sustainable path." In a new statement, EU's leaders signalled the COVID-19 response will require "a coordinated exit strategy, a comprehensive recovery plan, and unprecedented investment." Without offering details, the forthcoming stimulus measures will match up with the green transition and digital transformation. - The Energy Mix

A group of Canadian volunteer researchers, students, activists and web developers led by Guillaume Bourque of McGill University and Tara Moriarty of the University of Toronto have joined together to create COVID-19 Resources Canada, a website to facilitate the sharing of resources, capacity and materials in the fight against COVID-19. The group aims to "support front-line healthcare workers;

expand capacities of public health and research labs; and serve as a source of expertise on COVID-19." The initiatives include a database for finding and sharing reagents used by clinicians and researchers; a compilation of all active Canadian research into COVID-19; a platform for sharing experimental results and protocols; and a collection of links to publications, among others. - COVID-19 Resources Canada

Canadian auto parts manufacturer Magna International has developed an "ozone sanitizing device" called the Puro that it claims can kill coronavirus. The device was first tested in 2012 and proven to kill MRSA bacteria; the company is now looking for a partner to help test and validate that the device also eliminates COVID-19. - The Drive

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) joined a $2.25-billion investment round in Google's autonomous driving tech company Waymo. This is the largest investment by the Crown corporation in the autonomous vehicle space to date. Also joining the round was Magna International, which partnered with Waymo last year "to open the world’s first factory fully devoted to manufacturing self-driving cars." - Electric Autonomy

A new index of comparative data on academic freedom saw the University of Toronto rank 18th globally. The second-highest ranking Canadian university was the University of British Columbia at 34th and then McGill University at 42nd. - Inside Higher Ed

Canadian post-secondary institutions like the University of Waterloo, the University of Guelph, Conestoga College, and Algonquin College are donating supplies such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators to local hospitals, as well as hospital beds, stretchers, mattresses and other equipment. - Academica

Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) is creating a $4-billion envelope to address the specific liquidity needs of Québec companies temporarily impacted by COVID-19, whether or not in CDPQ's portfolio. Eligible companies must have been profitable before the COVID-19 crisis, have a promising growth outlook in their sector and require a minimum of $5-million of financial aid. - Globe and Mail

Montreal fintech-focused VC firm Luge Capital has assembled a collection of financial and community resources in support of the Canadian entrepreneurial system during COVID-19, encompassing government programs and startup community initiatives. - Medium

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) is providing up to $15 million through its NSERC Alliance COVID-19 grants, to support collaborations between academic researchers and the public and not-for-profit sectors, and industry to address pandemic-related research and technical challenges. Support for up to $50,000 for one-year projects is being made available immediately. - NSERC


Vianne Timmons finished her last day as president of the University of Regina on March 31 and is now beginning her role as president and vice-chancellor of Memorial University in her home province of Newfoundland. Timmons led U of R through eleven straight years of enrolment growth, which she attributes in part to her commitment to diversity. She created the Inspiring Leaders Forum, a conference focused on women leadership. Current provost and vice-president Thomas Chase will serve as interim president until the executive search to fill the role is completed. - Regina Leader-Post

Dr. Guy Rouleau received the Canada Gairdner Wightman Award for "researchers who have had a sustained career of research excellence in the health sciences at an international level and have shown leadership and achievement above those of their peers." Rouleau is the director of The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) at McGill University, as well as the McGill University Health Centre. He has made critical discoveries in the field of genetics and neurological disease and has helped identify more than 30 genetic risk factors, novel mutation types and their effect on human health. - McGill

Gary Mar was named president and CEO of the Canada West Foundation. He previously was president and CEO of the Petroleum Services Association of Canada and was a Progressive Conservative MLA representing Calgary from 1993 to 2007. He was also the minister for international trade and Alberta’s representative in Asia and Washington, D.C. “Mar’s national and international experience will serve the Canada West Foundation in its mission to advocate for policy that is good for the West and good for Canada," Ray Crossley, chair of the foundation’s board of directors, said in a statement. - Calgary Herald

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