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The Short Report - April 21, 2021: SIF gets $7.2 billion in 2021 federal budget, BC budget invests in new strategic fund, Biden's funding surge, a boost for the Stem Cell Network, and more

Cindy Graham
April 21, 2021

BUDGETS, REPORTS & PANELS

The Strategic Innovation Fund will receive more than $7 billion in investments over the next seven years while the National Research Council's Industrial Research Assistance Program will receive $500 million over five years as part of the Government of Canada’s 2021 budget announced this week. — GoC

Related: Read Research Money's summary of Budget 2021

The Government of British Columbia has tabled its budget for 2021. The budget allocates $500 million to support the launch of InBC, a new strategic fund to support scaleup of BC companies and tech startups. – BC Gov

President Joe Biden is proposing a funding surge for federal research agencies, including 20 percent hikes at the National Institutes of Health to $51 billion and the National Science Foundation to $10.2 billion in his 2022 budget request. – Science

The Council of Canadian Academies has formed a panel to study factors related to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in scientific research and discovery in Canada. Teresa Scassa, Canada Research Chair in Information Law and Policy at the University of Ottawa, will serve as chair. – CCA

The School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary has released a report on the decline of Canadian public markets. The report argues that the environment for public companies has changed and provides steps for improvement. – SPP

COVID-19 & HEALTH NEWS

Canada’s Stem Cell Network will receive $45 million over the next three years to continue R&D of regenerative medicine therapies. The funding was announced as part of the federal government’s budget this week. – SCN

COLLABORATION, INNOVATION & FUNDING

The Government of Canada is contributing nearly $59 million towards new lab space to support materials acceleration platforms (MAPS) and the scaleup and commercialization of clean energy materials at the National Research Council and Natural Resources Canada’s centres of expertise for advanced materials in Mississauga and Hamilton. They will be funded through Laboratories Canada, the government’s 25-year strategy to strengthen federal science in Canada.– GoC

RELATED: Council of Canadian Academies launches federally-supported projects to assess urgent scientific challenges

Alberta’s agriculture, agri-food and forestry sectors are getting a $33-million boost through Emissions Reduction Alberta’s Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) fund. Funding will support 17 projects with a combined value of $107 million in public and private investment that could lead to substantial cumulative GHG reductions by 2030. – ERA

McMaster University is embarking on a Future of Canada Project thanks to a $5 million donation from former chancellor emeritus L. R. “Red” Wilson and a $1-million McMaster contribution to support novel research and collaboration in various fields of study and “explore the possibilities for Canada in the next decade.” The project has a three-year mandate to amplify research and is led by McMaster President David Farrar and a governance committee in cooperation with a project council. – McMaster

BIOTECanada and Cognit.ca are launching a platform to help the biotechnology industry accelerate university and hospital research. The new Biotechnology R&D Portal will give access to research grants, experts, intellectual property and research facilities from the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s Research Facilities Navigator. Cognit.ca was created by the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities but is now developed in partnership with Universities Canada in collaboration with the Canada Foundation for Innovation and with the support of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and Mitacs. – BIOTECanada

Carleton University (Ottawa) and IBM Canada are partnering on a five-year, multi-million collaboration to give Carleton grad students and researchers access to industry, technological tools and apprenticeship training for careers in artificial intelligence and data science. – Carleton U

Meanwhile, Carleton University is preparing to open an innovation space at Kanata North’s Hub350, Canada's largest technology park, which facilitates collaboration among industry, finance, academic partners and their resources. Construction begins in June with the opening scheduled for after Labour Day. – Carleton

ENCQOR 5G (Montreal) and Ericsson have deployed a standalone end-to-end 5G network. It will serve edge-based applications with one-way latency tolerances of less than five milliseconds, which has applicability for future autonomous driving, robotics and public safety innovations. – Cision

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories has fabricated an advanced small modular reactor fuel designed by Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (Seattle) and funded through the Canadian Nuclear Research Initiative (CNRI). It represents the first time a Tristructural-Isotropic (TRISO) fuel has been manufactured in Canada. – CNL

FINANCE, VC AND INVESTMENT

OKR Financial (Calgary) has raised $150 million to support businesses looking to access the Scientific Research & Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax credit program, asset-based loans, government grants, or equity deals and is partnering with Ayming Canada (Montreal) to deploy the funding. – Businesswire

Montreal-based artificial intelligence (AI) startup Deeplite has closed a $6 million seed funding round led by Boston-based VC firm PJC. Participation from leading AI technology venture firms and industry leaders included Innospark Ventures (Boston), Differential Ventures (New York), Smart Global Holdings (California), and included follow on investment from Somel Investments, BDC Capital and Desjardins Capital. – Deeplite

THE GRAPEVINE

Dr. Christopher McCabe, chief executive of the Institute of Health Economics and professor of health economics at the University of Alberta, is part of a cross-disciplinary team that received $1.25 million in federal funds to focus on how policy during future pandemics will affect all areas of society. McCabe was the principal investigator on the Genome Canada-funded PACEOMICS project as well as the recently established Precision Medicine Policy Network. – Edmonton Journal and UAlberta

Dr. Gina Strati has joined the office of the Chief Science Advisor of Canada and will serve as a senior advisor as part of an executive interchange for a one-year term. Strati is head of the advanced reactors directorate at Canadian Nuclear Laboratories. – CNL

The Council of Canadian Innovators is adding government relations experts in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario, supplementing CCI's Quebec focus. Bronté Valk in Alberta, Tessa Seager in B.C., and Alanna Sokic in Ontario join Pierre-Philippe Lortie, CCI’s practice lead in Quebec. The three provinces will work under Dana O’Born, the director of strategic initiatives and leader of national advocacy efforts. – IT World Canada

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