The Short Report - August 17, 2022: Scientists urge Ottawa to boost grant funding, assessing decarbonization of rail via hydrogen fuel cells; a funding competition for Alzheimer's research in Alberta, and more.

Cindy Graham
August 17, 2022


The National Research Council is working with Transport Canada and the University of British Columbia to identify, assess, and mitigate the potential risks of using hydrogen in rail operations while supporting the development of best practices, codes, and standards to adopt it as a new technology for Canada's rail system. National Research Council

The Alzheimer Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories is partnering with Campus Alberta Neuroscience to launch a funding competition for Alzheimer's research at three Alberta universities. Starting this September researchers from the Universities of Lethbridge, Calgary, and Alberta will see contributions of up to $1 million annually towards high-priority Alzheimer’s and dementia research in the province. The funding competition launches September 21. Alzheimer Society

Olds College and Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) have signed a memorandum of understanding to drive agricultural innovation over the next five years with an AFSC contribution of up to $100,000 a year. The agreement will see the college working to advance and improve data collection and analysis, sensor testing and validation, automation technologies, field trials, and risk management. Projects and collaborations include Olds researchers taking high-definition imagery of fields after hailstorms for ASFC adjusters, conducting research on soil moisture measurements to support AFSC’s Moisture Deficiency Insurance program, and performing a historical data correlation analysis with AFSC. Real Agriculture Red Deere Advocate

Biolyse Pharma (St. Catherine's) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Montreal-based biopharmaceutical PnuVax to mass-manufacture a monkeypox vaccine using Biolyse's Industrial Biosafety Level 2 manufacturing facilities. Cision

Nuclear technology company Terrestrial Energy (Calgary) and Invest Alberta have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to support the commercialization of Terrestrial Energy’s small modular reactor plant capable of grid-based electric power generation and industrial cogeneration in energy-intensive industries. The terms of the MOU call for Terrestrial Energy and Invest Alberta to work together on federal and provincial policies and industrial incentives supporting transformative energy innovation. Terrestrial Energy


The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has released award results of its Spring 2022 competition. This year's competition saw CIHR approve 405 research grants and two bridge grants, for a total investment of approximately $325 million. Of the 405 grants, 113 were awarded to early career researchers and nine were awarded for Indigenous health research projects. Other key results of the competition: nearly $11 million in funding was awarded to 61 priority announcement grants while 16 supplemental prizes were awarded a total of $1,060,000. Approved grants were awarded to 391 individual nominated principal investigators and the average grant size/duration is approximately $803,095 over 4.43 years. CIHR

Firan Technology Group (FTG; Scarborough) received $7 million in funding from FedDevOntario via the Aerospace Regional Recovery Initiative program to acquire automation equipment that will reduce the environmental impact of production, including the amount of water and other energy needed to produce products and systems. FTG also plans to use the funding to create and maintain nearly 300 jobs in the southern Ontario region. FTG

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is making nearly $5 million available for partnership grants for projects that research key issues affecting outcomes of investments in affordable housing. The grants will provide $410,000 for the first year and up to $1.1 million for the following four years, and will be administered by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Cision

Canadore College is receiving nearly $3 million to support innovation and cyber security in North Bay. The funding from FedNor includes $1.1 million to establish a concept development lab to support businesses and startups throughout the commercialization process over the next three years; $750,000 to create a platform of technologies, services and educational programs to fit First Nations needs and values and address the challenges of delivering reliable and sustainable clean drinking water to remote Indigenous communities, and more than $1,000,000 to establish a Digital Public Safety Centre that will provide secure hosting of vendor neutral digital evidence content management and archiving evidence for public safety agencies and groups in Ontario and Canada. GOC

The Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra, has announced more than $3 million in funding for projects to reduce the impact of underwater vessel noise. They include workshops to identify safe approaches to reducing underwater noise; developing a tool to predict and implement quiet designs into new vessels; developing tools to track underwater noise released by marine vessels, and developing a tool to detect marine mammals and alert nearby vessels to their presence. Projects are funded through Transport Canada’s Quiet Vessel Initiative, which was one of the measures developed to address the concerns of Indigenous communities regarding the Trans Mountain Expansion Project. GOC Selected projects

Sustainable Development Technology Canada has announced $1.6 million in seed funding to support early-stage sustainable tech entrepreneurs advancing clean technology innovation. Grants range from $50,000 to $100,000 and will support 16 companies improving the built environment, finding better energy solutions, enhancing health, food and water, gathering data efficiently to inform decision-making, and reducing waste. Funding awardees include PLAEX (New Brunswick), nominated by Volta (Halifax), to transform unused or underused waste materials into sustainable building blocks and interlocking exterior panels; Edgecom Energy (Ontario), nominated by ventureLAB Innovation Centre (Markham), to track energy data of buildings and offer solutions to improve energy efficiency, reduce costs and lower emissions; Off The Grid (Quebec), nominated by the McGill Dobson Centre For Entrepreneurship, to reduce the ecological footprint of workouts with a spinning bike that converts users’ energy into electricity, and Neptune Nanotechnologies (Ontario), nominated by Waterloo Accelerator Centre, to use ocean waste to create a next generation nano-structured material to be used in packaging, biomedical and aerospace). SDTC

The federal government is investing more than $1 million through the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency over three years to support Qulliq Energy Corporation—the sole generator and distributor of electrical power in Nunavut—and its strategic plan to develop alternative sources of energy. The electrical needs of Nunavut’s 25 communities are met by imported diesel fuel; the study will determine the feasibility for electricity generation and waste heat storage through geothermal energy. GOC

Prairies Economic Development Canada has provided the University of Regina with $976,000 in funding to establish a self-sustaining electrical grid that has electricity generation, consumption, storage, and control all in one place, and that will also function as a living lab for research and teaching in the renewable energy field. The grid will allow students to explore digital applications for commercialization, provide industry partners with facilities to test models and further R&D, and position University of Regina graduate students to commercialize their research discoveries. U of R

Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino has announced federal support for Canada’s cyber defenses with a $675,000 grant to Quantum-Safe Canada (Waterloo) for their project, Laying the Foundations for a Quantum-Safe Canada, which raises awareness and preparedness of the quantum threat. The funding is being made available under the Cyber Security Cooperation Program. GOC The Record


Agri-tech investment firm SVG Ventures | THRIVE (Silicon Valley) has launched a technology pre-accelerator in collaboration with Alberta Innovates and Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan). The new THRIVE Academy will offer training and testing site access to facilitate applied research opportunities in early-stage ideas while the THRIVE Venture Studio will focus on forming new companies to deal with issues across the agri-food value chain. Alberta Innovates contributed $3 million to the project while Prairies Can contributed a further $700,000 to support THRIVE Academy in western Canada. Alberta Innovates

Toronto-based CanvassAI has completed its Series A financing with an extension of $9.4 million led by Yamaha Motors Ventures and a $5.7 million repayable loan from the Government of Canada, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. Canvass

Farm Credit Canada (Regina) has signed on to be the lead investor in The51's Food and AgTech Fund, a $50 million fund focused on investing in underrepresented founders in the business of food and agriculture. The next close for the fund is set for the fall. The51

Cleantech startup Genecis Bioindustries (Toronto), which makes compostable plastics from waste materials, has raised $9 million in Series A funding led by Khosla Ventures (California) and BDC Capital’s Cleantech Practice. Genecis has also secured a nearly $4-million credit facility from Silicon Valley Bank, subject to customary closing conditions. Genecis


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will sign a green energy agreement on August 23rd in Stephenville, Newfoundland. Stephenville will be the site for Newfoundland-based World Energy GH2's zero-emission plant that will use wind energy to produce hydrogen and ammonia for export. CBC

Support Our Science, a group of next generation researchers advocating for increased pay for grad students and postdoctoral students, protested on Parliament Hill recently to urge the federal government to boost grant funding to keep up with the pace of inflation. Protest organizers brought an open letter with more than 7,000 signatures and cited the House of Commons Standing Committee on Science and Research's recommendations saying that the value of scholarships and fellowships should be indexed to the consumer price index. Support Our Science Global News

Dawn Farrell has been appointed president and CEO of Trans Mountain Corporation, effective August 15. Farrell was president and CEO of TransAlta Corporation and was also its chief operating officer for three years. During her time with TransAlta she transitioned the company away from coal-fired electrical generation. Trans Mountain

Brigadier General Kevin Whale, the former director general for space at the Royal Canadian Air Force and recently deputy commanding general (transformation) at Space Operations Command, United States Space Force, has joined MDA, the Brampton, Ontario-based space industry firm, as a senior director, defence strategy. SpaceQ

Ned Goodman, mining company backer and president and founder of wealth management company Dundee Corporation, has passed away. Goodman built several successful mining companies, including International Corona and Kinross Gold and was recognized as helping to develop Canada’s standing as a world leader in the resource industry. Northern Miner



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