The Short Report – Jan 6, 2021: National Research Council has a new president, drones deliver PPE to remote communities, a hydrogen strategy for Canada, and more

Cindy Graham
January 6, 2021


The Institute for Research on Public Policy is calling for a roadmap to link skills acquired through training and education programs such as those provided by the federal government to labour skills sought in the job market in order to weather post-pandemic recovery. – IRPP

The Government of Canada has launched the Hydrogen Strategy for Canada, underpinned by a $1.5 billion investment in the Low-carbon and Zero-emissions Fuels Fund to advance to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The global demand for hydrogen is expected to reach almost $12 trillion by 2050. – GoC


The National Research Council has announced over $9 million in Industrial Research Assistance Program funding to support companies that are producing therapeutic treatments for COVID-19. The firms are Bold Therapeutics (Vancouver), JN Nova Pharma (Montreal), Laurent Pharmaceuticals (Montreal) and Qu Biologics (Vancouver). – NRC

Researchers at the University of Calgary, the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, Alberta Health Services and Alberta Precision Laboratories are partnering with the Stoney Nakoda First Nation on a pilot project that uses drones to deliver medical supplies and personal protective equipment to remote communities. The project concludes this summer and has potential for use in remote communities across Canada and in developing countries. – Castanet

The Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research are funding a program that will allow researchers at McGill University and Japan's RIKEN Institute to collaborate on advancing technologies in epigenomics. – McGill

Arctic researchers prevented from travelling due to COVID-19 restrictions are connecting with local community members in Nunavut to ensure research projects continue, with great success. – Kelowna Now


The Canadian government has earmarked $1 million to deliver high-speed Internet access to more than 7,000 households in rural Alberta through Netago Internet (Hanna, AB) by November 2021. It’s the first project approved under the government’s $1.75 billion- Universal Broadband Fund Rapid Response Stream, launched in November to supply all Canadians with high speed Internet access by 2030. – GoC

Titanium (Calgary) received $10 million from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) for the detailed engineering phase of its Creating Value from Waste Horizon project after a successful negotiation of a Project Funding Agreement. – Titanium

SDTC is also funding 18 Canadian startups advancing clean energy solutions in data-enabled technology, farming and food, carbon capture and storage, and reduction of CO2 emissions in the construction and transportation industries. The seed fund provides entrepreneurs with one-time grants of $50,000 to $100,000 with the next call for applications launching this month. – SDTC

The Government of Canada is investing approximately $195 million to support 259 new and renewed Canada Research Chairs at 47 institutions across Canada, complemented by close to $14 million in research infrastructure to support 57 chairs at 27 institutions through the Canada Foundation for Innovation. Including the chairs announced earlier this year, the total investment marks the program’s largest in a single calendar year. – GoC

Researchers at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology are counting and categorizing types of microplastic pollution as part of a study on the prevalence of microplastics in water and sediments in Western Canada. The study runs from April 2020 to 2023 and is supported by $10 million in funding from Calgary-based Inter Pipeline Ltd., dispersed as part of $49-million from the federal government’s Strategic Innovation Fund. – Globe and Mail

Thornhill, ON-based artificial intelligence (AI) company Adastra has joined Scale AI, a government-funded supercluster that has invested over $111 million in 20 projects to integrate AI into supply chains. – Businesswire

Simon Fraser University has launched a search for a vice-president, research and international. Professor Dugan O’Neil is currently serving in the position, with his term ending June 30, 2021. – SFU


Mitch Davies has been appointed the new president of the National Research Council, effective Dec. 28, 2020 to Sept. 2022. Davies replaces outgoing president Iain Stewart, who was appointed president of the Public Health Agency of Canada on Sept. 28, 2020 as part of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Sept. 21 announcement of changes in the senior ranks of the public service. Roger Scott Douglas, Secretary of the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, served as acting president in the interim – NRC

Dr. Ted Hewitt was reappointed president of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. His reappointment will be effective on March 1, 2021, for a period of three years. – GoC

Tim Hockey, former CEO of TD Ameritrade, will lead Ontario’s digital transformation strategy over the next three years. – Globe and Mail

Elizabeth Edwards has been named an officer of the Order of Canada. Edwards holds the Canada Research Chair in Anaerobic Biotechnology and is a pioneer in advancing the understanding of anaerobic microbial transformation processes and translating that knowledge into technologies for groundwater bioremediation. – UofT

Doug Chorney was appointed chief commissioner of the Canadian Grain Commission in December for a period of three years. He has been assistant chief commissioner since 2017 and acting chief commissioner since June. Patty Rosher is the new assistant chief grain commissioner for a four-year term starting February 15th. The Canadian Grain Commission regulates grain handling in Canada and establishes and maintains science-based standards of quality for Canadian grain. – GoC

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