The Short Report - April 28, 2021: COVID-19 data portal goes live, Protein Industries Canada launches new phase of plant-based food plan, Carleton funding bolsters ecosystem conservation, and more

Cindy Graham
April 28, 2021


Genome Canada has launched a live portal to track the COVID-19 pandemic across Canada. The portal is the most recent part of Canada's national data infrastructure. It will allow viral genome sequences to be shared with public health labs across the country and is a key deliverable of the federal government's $53 million Variants of Concern Strategy. – Genome Canada

Related: New COVID-19 portal aims to nationalize genomic data sharing

The Government of Canada is contributing more than $59 million to the University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) to spur vaccine and therapeutics development, expand clinical trials and upgrade its Saskatoon facility from biosafety level 3 to level 4, allowing researchers to handle all of the disease-causing pathogens in the world. – GoC

University of Toronto’s Centre for Vaccine Preventable Diseases at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DLSPH) is the recipient of a $3-million contribution from Merck Canada (Kirkland, QC) to advance research, education and knowledge translation around vaccine science and immunization. – U of T

Mannin GmbH, the German subsidiary of Toronto-based biotech company Mannin Research, has started a joint venture with Cyclica (Toronto) to develop treatments for infectious diseases including COVID-19 and influenza. Mannin received a $1.7-million grant from the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program to advance R&D of a therapeutic to treat acute respiratory distress syndrome in COVID-19 in March.  – Mannin


Protein Industries Canada (PIC, Regina) has started the second phase of plans to boost the marketing and traceability of plant-based foods, feed and ingredients in their partnership with Farmers Edge (Winnipeg), OPIsystems (Calgary) and TrustBIX (Edmonton), who are providing investments of $6 million, $2.2 million and $334,000 respectively. PIC is providing the remaining half of the $17-million co-investment. – PIC

Carleton University will receive funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (nearly $1 million), the Nature Conservancy of Canada (nearly $500,000) and Environment and Climate Change Canada (more than $850,000) to develop user-friendly tools over the next five years that will prioritize resources to conserve ecosystems across Canada. – Carleton U.

The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada has awarded a $1-million research grant to Dr. Douglas Arnold at The Neuro Lab at McGill University. The grant is supported by TD Bank and will support Arnold’s research study on using artificial intelligence to make better treatment decisions on disease course and therapies. – MS Canada

The Canadian subsidiary of Auxon Corporation (Portland, Oregon) and the University of Ottawa have formed a research partnership to establish greater assured autonomy for autonomous cyber-physical systems (CPS), which are increasingly used in safety-critical sectors such as energy, transportation, logistics, and healthcare.– Cision

Natural Resources Canada and the United States are partnering on a platform to explore how the oil and gas sector can support the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. – GoC

Financial technology company Moneris (Toronto) and technology innovator Elevate (Toronto) have chosen ten eCommerce startups for the first cohort of their new eCommerce North accelerator program. The startups represent Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec, all have women-identifying founders and 80 percent are from underrepresented groups. – Elevate

The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) is welcoming the R&D measures proposed in budget 2021, but stresses that more must be done to advance Rare Earth Elements (REEs) development domestically to equalize our partnership with the US and strengthen a domestic North American supply chain. – MAC


Milk Moovement (Halifax), a cloud-based dairy supply chain software company, closed a US $3.2-million funding round led by Dynamo Ventures (Tennessee) alongside Matchstick Ventures (Minneapolis), Bread & Butter Ventures (Minneapolis) and Better Food Ventures (California). – MM


The Royal Society of Canada has released a policy briefing calling on federal leadership to stabilize the postsecondary sector. It includes recommendations to increase core funding for postsecondary institutions, forgive student loans and continue COVID-19 funding. – RSC

A new Farm Management Canada report reveals the rate of adoption for the majority of business management practices has dropped significantly over the past five years, including practices that were found to have the greatest impact on farm financial performance in 2015. – Farm Management Canada


Kirsty Duncan, MP and a former Minister of Science, has tabled a motion to implement a House of Commons Standing Committee on science and research. The committee would have a mandate to “review and report on all matters relating to science and research, including any reports of the Chief Science Advisor." - House of Commons


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