The Short Report - July 21, 2021: Canada's fast-growing tech talent, UBC joins global autism initiative, and more

Cindy Graham
July 21, 2021


The Government of Canada is investing $2.6 million to support Canadian Forage and Grassland Association projects that will use artificial intelligence to improve alfalfa growth and survival rates. The Canadian Agricultural Strategic Priorities Program is contributing nearly $2 million to develop tools to improve yield, nutritive value and winter survival rates while the AgriAssurance Program will contribute more than $600,000 to develop an assurance system to produce and sell carbon offsets. – GoC

The Government of Canada is investing $1.65 million over the next three years to launch a regional climate hub in Sackville, New Brunswick that will integrate climate information, data, tools and training to help businesses, community organizations and governments in the Atlantic provinces adapt to climate change. – GoC

Manitoba's Enterprise Machine Intelligence and Learning Initiative, the Alberta Data Institute and the Protein Industries Canada supercluster are collaborating with other partners to improve data use and drive innovation in Canada’s agriculture and agrifood sector. A total of $903,000 is being invested in the project, with Protein Industries Canada investing $438,000 and the project participants together investing $465,000. – PIC


Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED) is contributing $1 million (repayable) through its Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program to aeronautics manufacturer Atlas Aéronautik to digitize and expand. – GoC

CED is contributing $1 million (repayable) through the REGI program to Quebec City-based diaMentis to advance its study and certification process in mental health diagnostics. – GoC 

CED will also contribute more than $1 million (non-repayable) through REGI to Réseau des Femmes d’affaires du Québec through the to boost the performance of women‑owned businesses across all Quebec regions, by helping them access potential clients and diversify their markets. – GoC 


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Meanwhile, the Government of Canada is also launching a public consultation on modernizing Canada's copyright framework to address developments in artificial intelligence and the growth of IoT (Internet of Things) and software-enabled devices. Participants have until September 17, 2021 to share input. – GoC

RELATED: Federal government launches consultation to study AI copyright rules

The Green Aviation Research & Development Network (GARDN), part of the former Business-Led Network of Centres of Excellence, ended operations on June 18th. Started in 2009, GARDN collaborated on 34 R&D green aviation projects worth $70 million, published 420 papers and trained 90 students for industry. – GARDN


The Government of Canada, through its COVID-19 Immunity Task Force and Vaccine Surveillance Reference Group, is investing more than $8 million on studies at The Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa. Two studies, led by Dr. Glenwood Goss and Dr. Arianne Buchan, will look at vaccine efficacy in cancer patients; another study, led by Dr. Juthaporn Cowan, will examine COVID-19 vaccine efficacy in people with inherited and medication-related immune deficiencies. Meanwhile, a study led by Dr. Angela Crawley that examines the duration of immunity will expand into 2022. – COVID-19 Immunity Task Force

XCO Tech (Penticton) will receive funding of up to $1 million from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program over the next three years to advance R&D of artificial intelligence-based technologies for chronic disease assessment and monitoring. XCO is the Canadian lead in the 37-member, $21-million INNO4HEALTH multinational consortium, which advances the adoption of remote monitoring technologies worldwide. The project is led by Philips (Netherlands) and coordinated by ITEA3 (Netherlands), the Eureka R&D cluster for software innovation. – Cision

British Columbia biotech company Symvivo Corporation (Burnaby) is receiving advisory services and R&D funding of up to $4.6 million from the National Research Council's Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) to support clinical advancement of an oral COVID-19 vaccine following previous NRC IRAP-funding that enabled the development and initial clinical assessment of this candidate. – Symvivo

The University of British Columbia is joining the Autism Sharing Initiative, a federated, global network of researchers using anonymized datasets to gain insights on genetics and autism. Dr. Suzanne Lewis is leading efforts at UBC and BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute for the initiative, which is supported by Canada's Digital Technology Supercluster.UBC


Wound care management startup Swift Medical (Toronto) has raised nearly $44 million in an all-equity round led by California-based Virgo Investment Group. DCVC (Data Collective), which led Swift’s Series A round, also participated in the latest round alongside BDC Capital’s Women in Technology Venture Fund. Other participating investors include Claritas Capital, Chrysalis Ventures, Pender Ventures and Export Development Canada. – Swift Medical

Montréal-based computer vision startup Algolux has raised C$23 million (US$18.4 million) in a Series B funding round co-led by Forte Ventures and Drive Capital. – Algolux


Neil Berkley has been appointed chief business officer of antibody therapeutics company AbCellera (Vancouver). Mr. Berkley’s role will include leading the strategy and continued growth of AbCellera’ s partnership business, which currently includes a diverse portfolio of more than 100 programs with drug developers of all sizes. – AbCellera

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