The Short Report – Jan. 26, 2022: Public health research capacity expanded, massive free science database launched, funding for spinal cord injury research, and more

Guest Contributor
January 26, 2022


The Government of Canada is providing funding of $10 million, through a partnership between the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Public Health Agency of Canada, to increase public health research capacity. The investment includes $8 million for seven new applied public health chairs, who’ll carry out research programs in areas such as infectious diseases, urban and environmental health and disease prevention. Another $2 million will support projects linked to priorities outlined in the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada’s annual report for 2021. CIHR

The Canadian Space Agency announced $8 million in funding for 21 companies across the country for its smartEarth initiative, part of the CSA’s new Canadian Earth Observation strategy. The companies received non-repayable contributions of between $150,000 and $500,000 for projects focused on developing Earth observation applications using data from satellites to find solutions to key challenges on Earth and in our everyday lives. CSA

The Government of Canada is investing $3 million, through Prairies Economic Development Canada, to help expand Alberta’s clean technology sector. More than $2.1 million will go to support an Energy Transition Centre in downtown Calgary, a partnership between the University of Calgary and local technology firm Avatar Innovations. The centre is expected to contribute to creating at least 25 new businesses over the next three years. The remaining $900,000 federal investment is going to the Foresight Clean Technology Accelerator Centre to provide training and investment attraction initiatives. PrairiesCan

Overall revenues for Canadian colleges, institutes, polytechnics and CEGEPs (in Quebec) have remained relatively stable between 2008/2009 and 2019/2020, but the makeup of institutional income has shifted, according to a report by Statistics Canada. Revenues increased on average by 1.8 percent per year during that period, but public funding declined steadily from 67 percent to 54.7 percent. The share of revenues from student fees increased from 19.6 percent to 34.1 percent during the same time period — driven mainly by the increase in international students. StatsCan

The Government of Ontario launched the Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Competitiveness (AMIC) program to help Ontario manufacturers get the tools, technology and talent they need to grow, compete and innovate in an increasingly competitive global market. As part of the government’s 2021 Fall Economic Statement, AMIC is a new stream of the Regional Development Program. The two-year, $40 million program will support advanced manufacturing businesses to invest in the equipment, advanced technologies and skilled workforce needed to improve competitiveness and growth. IPPT


China state-owned Zijin Mining Group Ltd.’s pending takeover of Canadian lithium mining company Neo Lithium Corp. raises no national security concerns, according to federal government officials. Lithium is a critical mineral used for batteries in electric vehicles. Liberal MP Andy Fillmore, parliamentary secretary to François-Philippe Champagne, minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, told a House of Commons committee that the department reviewed the proposed takeover, and concluded that Neo Lithium is “really not a Canadian company” but an Argentine company. Champagne is scheduled to go before a federal committee to answer questions about the deal. CP

More than 400 Canadian climate scientists and other academics have sent a letter to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, asking her to scrap plans to create a tax credit for companies that build carbon capture and storage facilities. They argued that the credit amounts to a massive subsidy to the oil and gas industry, and it would “undermine efforts to reach net zero by 2050.” Freeland floated the idea in last year’s federal budget. CBC

Durham College’s School of Business, IT & Management (BITM) has announced a region-wide partnership with Durham Region Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade. The partnership will provide BITM diploma students with membership in all eight Chambers and Boards for the duration of their studies and a year following graduation. Students will be able to meet local professionals and potential future employers, develop key relationships in the industry, and engage in professional development opportunities. indurham

Vancouver-based OurResearch, a non-profit scholarly services firm, has launched OpenAlex, a free index of more than 200 million scientific documents that catalogues publication sources, author information and research topics. Named after the ancient Library of Alexandria in Egypt, OpenAlex also aims to chart connections between these data points to create a comprehensive, interlinked database of the global research system, according to OurResearch. The database is a replacement for Microsoft Academic Graph, a free alternative to subscription-based platforms such as Scopus, Dimensions, and Web of Science that was discontinued at the end of 2021. Nature


Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos announced an additional $14 million investment in the Immunization Partnership Fund (IPF), for projects that address misinformation about COVID-19 and the vaccines used to protect against it. This brings the Government of Canada’s total investment in the IPF to $78 million since 2020, of which $45.5 million is dedicated to supporting national, regional and local initiatives. TechBomb


1Password, the Canadian company known for its 1Password password manager, has raised US$620 million in its Series C funding round, boosting its valuation to US$6.8 billion. The funding round, led by investment firm ICONIQ Growth, attracted high-profile celebrity investors including Ryan Reynolds, Scarlett Johansson and Robert Downey Jr., among others. ITWorld Canada 

KPMG’s quarterly venture capital report, Venture Pulse Q4 2021, shows global investments reached US$671 billion across 38,644 deals in 2021, up from US$347 billion over 31,623 deals in 2020. The fourth quarter closed with US$171 billion raised for the period, just shy of beating the US$180-billion quarterly record set in the third quarter. KPMG

Emmertech, the ag-tech fund Conexus Venture Capital launched last year, has secured an additional CAD$15 million in its final closing, bringing its total fund size to $60 million. The final number surpasses Emmertech’s goal of $55 million, as the venture firm aims to fuel early-stage investment in the ag-tech sector and make Canada a “dominant” player on the global stage. Betakit

Wyvern, an Edmonton-based space company startup, has closed an oversubscribed seed round for US$2.25 million and been accepted into the Y Combinator technology accelerator. Wyvern plans to use the funds to launch its first three satellites, and pave the way for commercial access to its hyperspectral imaging technology that has applications in industries such as mining, agriculture, and oil and gas. Several of Wyvern’s founders got their start in the University of Alberta’s AlbertaSat program. Taproot Edmonton

The New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF) has launched a new artificial intelligence fund to foster more collaboration between industry and academic partners and bolster New Brunswick’s AI capacity. NBIF is investing $1.36 million in the project and leveraging an additional $850,000 from industry and research partners. The federal Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency is providing a non-repayable contribution of nearly $997,000 to the fund and other NBIF programs through its Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program. Betakit

Mend the Gap, a 32-member team of researchers, engineers and surgeons from Canada, U.S., Europe and Australia doing research for spinal cord injury — and led by Dr. John Madden from the University of British Columbia — has received $24 million from Canada’s New Frontiers in Research Fund 2020 Transformation competition. The team’s research focuses on using biomaterials — and soft gels in particular — to serve as a bridge for growing nerve fibres. UBC

Vancouver-based Ionomr Innovations has secured an $18.7 million Series A round led by Finindus and Shell Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Royal Dutch Shell. Spun out of Simon Fraser University, startup Ionomr advances the development and manufacture of ion-exchange membranes and polymers for the hydrogen economy. Betakit

Calgary-based startup Syantra Inc. has raised $6.8 million in a Series A financing round for a blood screening test to detect breast cancer. The company is also the first recipient of funds from Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Plug & Play Alberta, a business accelerator which recently set up shop in Alberta to offer programs and global connections to help startups grow their operations. Calgary Herald


Dr. Roman Szumski has been appointed Special Advisor to the Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation in Public and Life Science Policy and Business Development at McGill University for a two-year term. A founding CEO of Calgary Laboratory Services, Dr. Szumski joins McGill from the National Research Council of Canada, where he served as the Vice-President of Life Sciences for 16 years. McGill University

Lance Rishor, former RBC Capital Markets veteran mining banker, has a new role as managing director at Macquarie Capital, whose Canadian business had done more than $33 billion in deals since 2017, mostly in the energy, mining and infrastructure sectors. Macquarie Capital is the investment banking division of Macquarie Group Ltd., a financial services conglomerate headquartered in Australia. G&M

Richard Storrie has been appointed Regional President, Americas for Li-Cycle Holdings Corp., a lithium-ion battery resource recovery and recycling company in North America. Prior to joining Li-Cycle, Storrie served as President and Chief Operating Officer of the Diavik Diamond Mine owned by Rio Tinto. CleanTech Canada


Other News

Events For Leaders in
Science, Tech, Innovation, and Policy

Discuss and learn from those in the know at our virtual and in-person events.

See Upcoming Events

Don't miss out - start your free trial today.

Start your FREE trial    Already a member? Log in


By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies. We use cookies to provide you with a great experience and to help our website run effectively in accordance with our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.