The Short Report - Dec. 15, 2021: UBC launches diabetes centre of excellence, Standing Committees struck for 44th Parliament, exploring pandemic impacts, and more

Cindy Graham
December 15, 2021


The Government of Canada is investing nearly $14 million in dozens of COVID-19 research projects, including 70 projects focused on understanding the impact of the pandemic on children, youth and families and 19 projects focused on vaccine confidence. Examples of projects funded include the impact of the pandemic on care received by pregnant women in Ontario and the health outcomes for these women and their babies (Dr. Andrea Simpson, Unity Health Toronto); examining how pregnant Indigenous Peoples in Ontario conceptualize the health and risk of maternity care before and during the pandemic (Dr. Karen Lawford, Queen's University), and determining resources needed to optimize post-pandemic resilience among Inuit youth and families (Dr. Yvonne Bohr, York University). Funding is through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Michael Smith Health Research BC and the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation. – GoC

The University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine is launching Canada’s first JDRF Centre of Excellence in Type 1 diabetes research. The Centre is being established in partnership with JDRF Canada, the largest Canadian charitable funder of Type 1 diabetes research. The Centre will foster research and partnerships with industry, health care, government and academia to accelerate translation of discoveries into new treatments. Co-leads of the Centre include UBC professors Drs. Bruce Verchere, James Johnson, Megan Levings and Francis Lynn, as well as JDRF’s Dr. Sarah Linklater. – UBC


Aerospace company Lockheed Martin has become the newest member of the IBM Quantum Network at the Université de Sherbrooke's Institut Quantique (IQ), which was launched with the support of Quebec's Ministry of Economy and Innovation (MEI) in June 2020 to advance quantum computing. Lockheed Martin's partnership includes a $1.3 million investment and follows earlier collaborations with Université de Sherbrooke between 2012-2015. – Betakit IQ

The Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network is seeking proposals under its newly-launched electric vehicle and battery technologies stream to form a new Regional Technology Development Site in Northern Ontario. Applicants must be a not-for-profit or consortium of not-for-profits and the deadline for proposals is Jan. 25, 2022. – OVIN

Meanwhile, a strategic partnership has been formed to build an ecosystem that will bolster the commercialization of mobility innovations in Ontario. Key partners signing onto the Memorandum of Understanding are Ontario's EnerTech Capital, Linamar (manufacturing, Guelph), electricity distributor Alectra (Mississauga) and Western University. The objectives of the relationship are to create improved opportunities for student employment in the mobility area and to leverage the research capabilities at Western to accelerate development of new technologies for Canadian mobility startups, some of which  could include the development of enhanced batteries, autonomy, hydrogen as a fuel source, smart cities and renewable energy. – EnerTech


The Government of Canada is providing up to $8 million over three years through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) to launch awareness of sustainable and environmentally friendly practices and technologies adopted by the sector and to ensure that food businesses and partners have access to digital platforms to reach more consumers. Funding for projects will be through a cost-share ratio, with AAFC typically covering 70 percent and the recipients covering 30 percent. Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis until Sept. 30, 2023 or until otherwise announced by the program, or until funding has been fully committed. The program ends March 31, 2024. – GoC

The University of Manitoba was awarded its highest ever amount of research funding in the 2020/21 fiscal year with more than $230 million in grants and contracts to support research in every discipline. Funding came from the federal Tri-agencies (Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) as well as directly from federal and provincial departments. More than $114 million came from the federal government; nearly $16 million came from the provincial government, and $101 million came from industry, non-for-profit organizations, foundations and the City of Winnipeg. – University of Manitoba

The federal government has announced a new call for expressions of interest to support low-carbon fuels research, development and demonstration projects to address emissions in ‘hard-to-abate’ sectors including iron and steel, chemicals and fertilizers, smelting and refining. The program will focus on three technology areas: industrial fuel switching, clean fuels production and hydrogen codes and standards. Natural Resources Canada will be making available up to $50 million for focus areas 1 and 2 combined, and up to $3 million for focus area 3. – GoC

The Canadian Food Innovation Network and Ontario Genomics have launched a $700,000 food competition designed to support R&D of cellular food production techniques that offer a way to reduce environmental impact while providing for growing populations. Innovative technologies could include cell culture, precision fermentation, tissue engineering, scaffolding, and hybridizing production capabilities. Cellular agriculture food innovation can create a wide variety of foods produced through precision fermentation (i.e., dairy, eggs, chocolate, honey, vanilla) as well as cultivated food products (i.e., red meat, poultry, seafood, pet food and others). Applications are being accepted until February 28, 2022. – Ontario Genomics

Whitecap Venture Partners (Toronto) has secured $140 million for its fifth fund, which will invest in early-stage business-to-business (B2B), software as a service (SaaS) and medical technology startups. This brings Whitecap’s total assets under management to $365 million. Return investors this round included Kensington Capital Partners (Toronto), BMO Capital Partners (Montreal), and Inuvialuit Investment Corporation (Inuvik). Whitecap has also secured the support of The Ontario Capital Growth Corporation, one of several new limited partners to join alongside a group of other undisclosed individuals and family offices. Whitecap typically invests across Canada and the Northeastern United States, specializing in early-stage information and communication technologies (ICT) and medtech companies. – Betakit


The Standing Committees for Canada's 44th Parliament have been struck, including the new Science and Technology Committee created in May based on a motion put forward by former Deputy House Leader Kirsty Duncan. The new S&T Standing Committee on Science and Research will include members Tony Baldinelli, Maxime Blanchette-Joncas, Valerie Bradford, Richard Cannings, Chad Collins, Lena Metlege Diab, Kirsty Duncan, Mike Lake, Stéphane Lauzon, Ron McKinnon, Gerald Soroka and Corey Tochor.

Meanwhile, the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology will include members Han Dong,

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, Ed Fast, Andy Fillmore, Iqwinder Gaheer, Bernard Généreux, Tracy Gray, Michael Kram, Viviane Lapointe, Sébastien Lemire, Joël Lightbound and Brian Masse.

Members of standing committees for Agriculture and Agri-food, Fisheries and Oceans, Environment and Sustainable Development, Health, International Trade and Natural Resources have also been announced. – Full list of Standing Committees and Members

RELATED: Parliament votes to create a new committee to spotlight science and research issues

Dr. Katherine (Katie) Mack will be joining Waterloo non-profit research centre the Perimeter Institute (PI) in June, 2022 as the inaugural Hawking Chair in Cosmology and Science Communication. Mack will be researching dark matter and the early universe with PI's Cosmology group and the Centre for the Universe, as well as working on science outreach and public engagement. She spent nearly six months as a PI Simons Emmy Noether Fellow in 2020 and has held a Visiting Fellow position since March 2021. – Perimeter Institute

Dr. Marc-André Langlois, a molecular virologist at University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Medicine and Canada Research Chair in Molecular Virology and Intrinsic Immunity, is leading the Coronavirus Variants Rapid Response Network (CoVaRR-Net), a group of academic researchers in nine interdisciplinary teams working to assess the threat posed by the Omicron variant. – UOttawa

Guy Levesque has been appointed the first Associate Vice-President, Innovation, Partnerships and Entrepreneurship of the University of Ottawa effective December 13, after serving the past three years as Associate Vice-President, Research Support and Infrastructure, and previously Vice-President, Programs and Performance at the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

Meanwhile, the University of Ottawa’s Board of Governors has approved the renaming of the Office of the Vice-President, Research to the Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation. The change was made to reflect the office’s revitalization and its focus on innovation, partnerships, and entrepreneurship as pillars of the institutional research strategy.

Arati Sharma has been named Canada's Angel Investor of the Year for her contributions to the Canadian entrepreneurial ecosystem through leadership mentorship and investment. Sharma is a founding partner of Backbone Angels, a collective that invests in women and non-binary founders with a focus on investments in Black, Indigenous and Women of Colour-led companies. – National Angel Capital Organization


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