The Short Report, December 18, 2019: Atlantic "sea ice" computing; Quebec's digital wallet; post-Brexit Euro-futures for Canadian research

Mark Mann
December 17, 2019

ACENET at Memorial University launched a regional advanced computing system. in Atlantic Canada called Siku, a word that means "sea ice" in Inuktitut. The centre is 50% more powerful than all of ACENET's recently retired systems together and is interoperable with the national Compute Canada platform. Supported by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), Siku aims to generate economic benefits for the region through industry engagement. - ACENET

The Quebec government is working to create a digital identity for every citizen by 2021, enabling them to access all services with a single online login and to access digital versions of identification cards with a smartphone app, such as a driver's licence, medicare card or birth certificate. Éric Caire, the junior minister responsible for government digital transformation, also expects the project to cut down on fraud. - CBC

A SSHRC-funded Insight Grant study on "The Reconfiguration of Canada-Europe Relations After Brexit" found that Canadian researchers are more likely to pursue collaborations with EU-based researchers than U.K.-based researchers post-breakup, when "U.K. researchers will have much more limited opportunities to apply to the EU’s flagship research-funding schemes, Horizon 2020 and its successor, Horizon Europe." - University Affairs

The Transformative Quantum Technologies (TQT) initiative led by the University of Waterloo launched a Quantum Alliance (QA) program that will connect quantum experts with industry and other stakeholders to advance impactful quantum technologies. QA engages organizations as partners in a consortium, pooling resources and knowledge to develop applications of quantum technology. - U Waterloo

The University of British Columbia will divest $380M from fossil fuels, transferring the funds from its $2-billion endowment to a "sustainable" fund. But a group of students, faculty, staff and alumni, called UBCC350, want the university to divest the rest. - CBC

Canada's incoming Clean Fuel Standard (CFS) to replace volumetric-based requirements with a carbon intensity-based approach is driving innovation to develop new and better methods for increasing the amount of biofuels in the fuel supply. A new process makes use of existing infrastructure, like refineries, pipelines and storage facilities, to produce fuel that can be used in vehicles without modification.- JWN

The Marcelle and Jean Coutu Foundation donated $10 million to the partner institutions of the Transforming Autism Care Consortium (TACC) —CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation, the Douglas Mental Health University Institute Foundation, the Fondation les petits trésors and The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) — to establish a multidisciplinary initiative for leading-edge autism research called Quebec 1,000 (Q1K). The TACC's flagship project, Q1K aims to accelerate the pace of discovery and integrate research outcomes into healthcare practices for autism. - The Neuro

The next Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) location will be in Atlanta at Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business. This is the eighth expansion of the seed-stage accelerator and the third this year. CDL-Atlanta will accept 25 companies into its inaugural cohort, with applications opening in April 2020. - U of T


Blake Hutcheson will succeed Michael Latimer as CEO of OMERS. Hutcheson will start transitioning from his current role as president and chief pension officer in January. Latimer will retire after two decades with OMERS, the last six years as CEO, on May 31, 2020. Under his leadership, OMERS assets have grown more than 50%, from $65 billion to more than $100 billion, and the fund opened offices in Singapore, Sydney, Paris, Berlin, Boston and San Francisco. For most of his ten-year tenure at OMERS, Hutcheson led Oxford Properties (an OMERS company) to become a $50-billion global leader in the real estate industry. Recently, he and his team created a 2025 and 2030 Strategy for OMERS, to provide direction for the next five- and ten-year period. - Global Newswire

Byron Holland, the president and CEO of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) — the federally created agency that sells Canada's ".ca" internet domain — was the subject of an investigation by the Toronto Star after employees found pornographic material on his computer and were subsequently fired. - The Hamilton Spectator

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