The Short Report - August 3, 2022: CAMH awarded the first federal psilocybin study grant; C6 Launch Systems prepares for suborbital test at a foreign spaceport; Ottawa launches calls for Women Entrepreneurship Strategy Ecosystem Fund projects, and more.

Cindy Graham
August 3, 2022


The Vector Institute (Toronto) has welcomed three new partners to its artificial intelligence ecosystem to further research and innovation: Kitchener-based robot floor cleaner Avidbots, natural language processing model co:here (Toronto), and data services startup Shakudo (Toronto). IT World

Toronto-based C6 Launch Systems is preparing for its first suborbital test at a foreign spaceport through its Brazilian subsidiary, C6 Sistemas, who signed a launch services agreement with GNC Brasil Sistemas Críticos from the Brazilian Alcantara Space Center. If the launch is successful, GNC's navigation system will be incorporated into the design of C6's suborbital space vehicle. C6 Launch SpaceQ

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) has entered into a collaboration agreement with ARC Clean Energy Canada (Saint John, N.B.) to develop and licence its advanced small modular reactor (SMR) technology. CNL is funding the project through its Canadian Nuclear Research Initiative. ARC Canada’s advanced SMR is scheduled for deployment at the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station in New Brunswick within the decade. CNL ARC


The Government of Canada has launched a new call for proposals for projects under the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy Ecosystem Fund, an initiative of the $6-billion Women Entrepreneurship Strategy. The government is making $40 million available for projects that deliver business supports for women entrepreneurs, contribute to their business development and growth, and are national or multi-regional in scope. GOC

Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne has launched the second phase of the Digital Literacy Exchange Program (DLEP) to support non-profit organizations teaching digital literacy skills to Canadians who face barriers to participating in the digital world. The $17.6-million investment will be distributed over the next three years. Interested NPOs should submit proposals through the DLEP website by September 7, 2022. GOC

Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson has launched a call for proposals for the Toward Net-Zero Homes and Communities program, which will invest $14.6 million over the next four years in projects that explore and implement technologies that will improve the energy efficiency of homes and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The program is open to for-profit and not-for-profit organizations  developing projects targeting one of the following three streams: addressing barriers to the adoption of energy-efficient technologies; capacity building in support of net-zero-energy-ready building codes, and facilitating home energy labeling and disclosure to encourage deep energy retrofits. Applications for this first call for proposals will be accepted until August 31. GOC

AGE-WELL Network of Centres of Excellence is teaming up with Challenge Works in the U.K. and the American Association of Retired Persons to encourage North American innovators to apply to win the Longitude Prize on Dementia, a $6.4-million prize program that will award nearly $5 million in seed funding and grants to innovators who develop assistive technologies that help people remain independent in their homes for as long as possible, with a further $1.6 million being awarded to the winner in early 2026. AGE-WELL

The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing $4 million in the second round of the Ontario Agri-Careers Support Initiative, which closes on September 8 and is funded in part through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, to support pilot projects that address employee needs in the food processing sector at a local level. Projects should aim to help the sector attract, support and retain workers to continue producing food made in Ontario, strengthen the local supply chain, and promote greater food security. Government of Ontario

The Innovative Solutions Canada Program (ISC) has launched two new challenges. The first, through the National Research Council, seeks to develop new therapeutic solutions to treat respiratory diseases such as cytokine-mediated inflammatory response, pneumonia, pulmonary edema, clotting, etc. in infected, hospitalized patients for the current as well as future pandemics. A maximum of $1,150,000 is available for solutions that demonstrate that the therapeutic is orally bio-available. The application deadline is August 29. ISC

The second ISC challenge, through The Public Health Agency of Canada, is seeking a technology, procedure or technique that detects concussions. A maximum of $1,150,000 is available to teams whose solutions support a diagnosis or prognosis for recovery, produces a result that can be issued during an individual's initial visit to a health practitioner, is usable by health practitioners and allied professionals with little specialized training, and is usable in medical settings. The application deadline is September 12. ISC

Idea and early-stage ocean technology startups can apply to be part of Ocean Startup Project's third cohort of challengers. Up to $750,000 in funds (up to $40,000 per winning team) will be distributed in total to seed idea and early stage ocean technology startups building solutions in fisheries and aquaculture, marine biosciences and resources, shipping and marine transportation, energy, and naval and defence. Written and video applications are due September 1. Ocean Startup Project


FedDev Ontario is contributing $3 million to Lambton College of Applied Arts and Technology (Sarnia), in partnership with Fanshawe College (London), Mohawk College (Hamilton) and Loyalist College (Belleville), to establish the Canadian Bio-Cleantech Applied Research Network to provide research, technical and commercialization support to 65 southern Ontario-based early-stage small and medium sized enterprises in the bio-cleantech sector. CBARN will focus on commercializing bio-based solutions in sub-sectors critical to the green transition, including biorefinery and bioenergy (i.e., converting biomass to energy); biomaterials; bioproducts; advanced agriculture technologies (e.g., bio-pesticides, agri-food waste processing technologies); and natural health products. GOC

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has been awarded Canada’s first federal grant to study psilocybin with regard to its effect on treatment-resistant depression. Researchers will explore whether experiencing psilocybin’s psychedelic effects are required for it to have antidepressant effects. Canadian Institutes of Health Research made $3 million available to fund three grants over two years when it made its pre-announcement launching the operating grants for the Psilocybin-assisted Psychotherapy for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders Funding Opportunity in the spring. CAMH


An assessment of China's 15-year science and technology plans for 2035 by the Global Advantage Consulting Group (Ottawa) for Global Affairs Canada has concluded that "only a few Chinese priorities relate to Canada’s national priorities, specifically AI, quantum information sciences and technologies and aspects of space science technologies." The report states that these are fraught with dual-use issues, and that consequently there are minimal opportunities for international collaboration due to China's dual-circulation approach. GACG

The Centre for Research in Air and Space Law at McGill University has published a manual on the International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space, which they describe as the world's first. The manual, a six-year effort of the MILAMOS (Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space) Project, aims to clarify the fundamental rules applicable to the military use of outer space in time of peace, and the limitations international law places on the threat or use of force in outer space. McGill

The National Angel Capital Organization's (Toronto) annual report on angel investing in Canada shows investments totalled more than $262 million in 2021, a record amount. Among key highlights from the report: Over the past 12 years, Canadian angel investors have invested a cumulative $1.38 billion, with $102.9 million invested in 2020 and $163.9 million invested in 2019. The report also shows that women now comprise 27 percent of the members of Canadian angel organizations, a 13-per-cent increase from 2020 and an approximate 60-per-cent increase from 2019 and 2018. Globe Newswire

Environment and Climate Change Canada and the United States Environmental Protection Agency have jointly published two reports, the State of the Great Lakes (SOGL) 2022 Report and the 2022 Progress Report of the Parties, required under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement established 50 years ago. The Great Lakes have been collectively assessed as “Fair” and “Unchanging" using SOGL indicators while the progress report states that reducing excess phosphorus inputs to Lake Erie remains a high priority for action. Among other key findings: The United States reduced agricultural and municipal sources of phosphorus to the Lake Erie watershed by over 3 million pounds (1,361 tonnes) between 2015 and 2020 while Canada has reduced phosphorus loading to the watershed by 44,093 pounds (20 tonnes) during that period. GOC

The Toronto-Waterloo tech corridor has been ranked 17th globally in Startup Genome’s 2022 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (CBRE). Toronto-Waterloo has the third-fastest growing startup ecosystem, behind Silicon Valley and New York City, and has the highest concentration of AI startups in the world. Meanwhile, the CBRE Scoring Tech Talent report, which lists the top 50 tech centres in the U.S. and Canada based on competitive advantage and appeal to employers and talent, put the Waterloo region in first place in the the top small market (under 50,000 tech workers), and ranked it No. 24 on the overall list of 50 tech-rich communities. Toronto was ranked No. 3 overall, behind only the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle. CBRE


Montreal-based autonomous building technology startup BrainBox AI has closed its Series A fundraising round at $38.5 million. The round, led by ABB Group in the first close last October, concluded with a $4.5-million investment from Export Development Canada. BrainBox AI

Aurora Hydrogen (Edmonton) has raised nearly $13 million in Series A funding in its bid to develop emission-free, low-cost hydrogen technology. The round was led by Energy Innovation Capital (San Francisco) with participating investors Williams (Oklahoma), Shell Ventures (The Hague), Chevron Technology Ventures (Houston) and the George Kaiser Family Foundation (Tulsa). This adds to funding received from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada earlier this year. Funding will be used to build and operate a demonstration plant for field trials in Edmonton. Cision


Dr. Donal Hanley has been appointed Acting Director of the Institute of Air and Space Law (IASL) at McGill University until December 31. Hanley takes the helm from Dr. Ram Jakhu, who managed the Institute through the extended medical leave of IASL Director Dr. Brian Havel and spearheaded the project to draft the McGill Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space, Volume I. Hanley was appointed by the European Commission to its panel of arbitrators for bilateral trade disputes and will be a member of the inaugural advisory board of The Hague Court of Arbitration for Aviation. McGill

Dr. Peter Nickerson has been appointed dean of the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences and dean of the Max Rady College of Medicine at the University of Manitoba; he will also serve as a member of the provost’s executive team in the role of vice-provost (health sciences). Nickerson's appointment to a five-year term, effective Sept. 1, was announced by Dr. Diane Hiebert-Murphy, U of M provost and vice-president (academic). U of M

Sarah Downey is the new president and CEO of The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, effective September 6. Downey served as president and CEO of Michael Garron Hospital in East York, Ontario for seven years, and previously served as executive vice president of clinical programs, where she was responsible for the operations and performance of clinical programs. She also held leadership positions in academic health science centres, including as vice-president responsible for clinical and support services at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto and as director of planning and performance management at the University Health Network. CAMH







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