The Short Report - August 26, 2020: Ottawa wants a data-driven approach to housing, federally backed Newfoundland startup launches prototype, and more

Mark Mann
August 26, 2020


The St. John's, Newfoundland-based tech startup Avalon Holographics launched its first-generation prototype display. The 29-inch 3D light field display serves as a proof of concept for the company, which has received $5 million in federal support through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and participated in three Canadian government Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) projects. Avalon aims to "fundamentally disrupt the $150B global display industry" and sees applications for its product in many industries, including healthcare and defense. - Saltwire Network

The University of Toronto received more than $9.5 million in federal funding to support research infrastructure needs and expenses that will benefit 33 research projects at the university. The individual grants are awarded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund and range in amount from more than $76,000 to $800,000. The largest award goes to an active learning research lab project being led by James Slotta, professor and President's Chair in Knowledge Technologies at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. - U of T

The Sudbury-based Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI) updated the status of its $40-million application for federal funding to support its new Mining Innovation Commercialization Accelerator (MICA) Network project. The proposed federal funding would be boosted by $100 million in private and public contributions. The project aims to build a national network of regional mining clusters and innovation centres and to fast-track technical projects. If approved, the project would launch in January 2021. - The Sudbury Star

IBM is taking the Area631 incubator program developed at its IBM Canada Lab in Markham and expanding it to eight global IBM software development labs in the United States, China, India, Germany, and Poland. The three-month program for IBM employees is designed to offer a startup-like experience to develop ideas and create prototypes. - BetaKit

Dr. Sachdev Sidhu at the University of Toronto has created seven spin-off companies based on his research, and all but one found investment outside Canada. His latest research on a protein that could treat COVID-19 by stopping the virus from replicating in an already infected person received $886,090 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The Italian government has offered him several million dollars to test and commercialize the antiviral there. Canada has a habit of funding world-class basic research and giving away the IP, writes Diane Peters. More needs to be done to help universities, researchers and the startup community protect their IP. - University Affairs


The National Research Council used Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Power Platform cloud solutions to create an online application portal to facilitate applications from SMEs to respond to COVID-19 challenges posted by the Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP), in collaboration with Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC). The NRC also turned to Microsoft during the pandemic to build the portal for its $250-million Innovation Assistance Program (IRAP IAP). - Microsoft

In October, the federal government will launch the first round of its $300-million Housing Supply Challenge, focused on the provision of reliable housing data. This first round, called Data Driven, aims  to create long-term partnerships between data experts, housing experts, researchers, and communities, and will disburse up to $25 million to fund new solutions. The five year Housing Supply Challenge program will be operated by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), in collaboration with the Impact and Innovation Unit in the Privy Council Office and Infrastructure Canada. - Newswire


Alberta Premier Jason Kenney moved Doug Schweitzer, MLA for Calgary-Elbow, from his role as Minister of Justice to the new ministry of Jobs, Economy and Innovation, which replaces the ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism. "Additional functions will be added to the ministry over the weeks and months to come," Kenney said, adding that Schweitzer would be responsible for implementing the economic recovery plan introduced earlier this summer. - CBC

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