The Short Report - June 1, 2022: IBM boosts research and innovation at Memorial U; formalizing a framework for AI and data science research, Ottawa supports a national energy modelling hub, and more.

Cindy Graham
May 31, 2022


IBM is investing $16 million in two initiatives that will strengthen research and innovation in Newfoundland: the Centre for Analytics, Informatics and Research and the Accelerated Analytics and Machine Learning projects at Memorial University will focus on innovation and research in data science and astrophysics, genetic analysis, artificial intelligence, machine learning, image analysis and scientific computing. The funding provides for in-kind investment of hardware, software and staffing from IBM over a four-year period. The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the Government of Newfoundland are also contributing $1.4 million and $1.35 million respectively towards the projects. IBM

CIFAR (previously the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research), the National Research Council, and Canada’s three national institutes for artificial intelligence (AI) have launched a partnership that will see experts from academia, industry and government labs collaborating to deploy AI in key sectors of the Canadian economy, including health, energy and finance. Canada’s three AI institutes are the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (AMII) in Edmonton, the Vector Institute in Toronto, and the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms. The partnership MOU was announced Tuesday at the AI Week event, May 24-27 in Edmonton. MILA

Dr. Normand Mousseau and Louis Beaumier (both of Institut de l’énergie Trottier at Polytechnique Montréal),  Dr. Blake Shaffer (School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary), and Dr. Madeleine McPherson (Institute for Integrated Energy Systems at the University of Victoria) are the leads on a nearly $5-million project funded by the federal government to create a network of energy and electricity modellers and policymakers to modernize Canada's grid infrastructure. The Energy Modeling Hub will be a four-year project based in Quebec and will link modellers and policymakers across Canada to bridge the gap between data and policy. UCalgary

The Government of Alberta is contributing more than $3 million through Alberta InnovatesSmart Agriculture and Food Digitalization and Automation Challenge to support 10 projects that will develop and advance smart technologies to enhance food production through digital solutions and automation. Funded projects include $500,000 to Mojow Autonomous Solutions (Edmonton) for an artificial intelligence data recording kit which enables autonomous farm machinery; $380,000 to Wyvern Incorporated (Edmonton) for development of an optics camera that enables continuous agricultural insights from space, and $497,000 to the University of Alberta for a project that uses machine learning to predict and assess the impact of agricultural practices on soil health across Alberta. Government of Alberta

The Canadian Space Agency and Impact Canada have selected 20 semi-finalists for their Deep Space Healthcare Challenge, which seeks to create new detection and diagnostic technologies that would benefit isolated front-line workers in remote Canadian communities as well as crews on deep-space missions. The teams selected receive $30,000 in prize money and advance to Stage 2 to build a proof-of-concept that can generate data in a lab environment. SpaceQ

The Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CABHI) is launching a virtual innovation community for older adults and caregivers to connect innovators with their intended end users. The goal is to understand lived experiences, needs, and preferences of users and to use these insights to inform the design and delivery of age-related products, services, and program solutions. The Ontario government announced $23.5 million last year to support research and programs at CABHI to help seniors with brain health-related issues live at home longer and reduce the cost of their care. CABHI


Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau has announced more than $15 million to support the adoption of clean technologies for dozens of projects under the Agricultural Clean Technology (ACT) Program. The majority of projects are being funded through the ACT Adoption Stream, which will prioritize agricultural technologies that meaningfully reduce GHG emissions. Meanwhile three of the projects will support pre-market innovation (research, development, demonstration and commercialization) of agricultural clean technologies through the ACT Research and Innovation Stream. GOC Backgrounder

A $19- million Protein Industries Canada project to reduce carbon emissions by upcycling pea, lentil and oat hulls into a sustainable micronutrient fertilizer has reached the commercialization stage. AGT Food and Ingredients (Regina), Lucent BioSciences (Coquitlam), NuWave Research (Burnaby) and Aberhart Ag Solutions are collaborating on scaling and distributing the fertilizer, which is to be processed in a new facility in Rosetown, Saskatchewan.

Cellular agriculture investment platform CULT Food Science has secured office space in southern Ontario to develop an incubation studio project development hub. The studio will contain equipment for work on alternative proteins including in cell culture, bioprocess engineering and product development, and will support a minimum of Biosafety Level 2. CULT Food Science fertilizer per year.  PIC


The Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) has formed an expert panel to examine the impacts, opportunities, and challenges that quantum technologies present for industry and government at the request of the National Research Council and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. Dr. Raymond Laflamme, the Canada Research Chair in quantum information and professor in the department of physics and astronomy at the University of Waterloo, will serve as chair. CCA

The CCA has also formed an expert panel to examine the scientific, bioethical, and regulatory challenges associated with the use of gene-edited organisms and technologies for pest control at the request of Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency. Dr. Robert Slater, adjunct professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University, will serve as chair. CCA

A group of 12 companies are joining to form Psychedelics Canada, the first national-level trade association representing the psychedelic medicine and therapy industry in Canada. The association launched in Toronto and includes Absolem Health (Vancouver), Bloom Psychedelics (Calgary) and Psyched Wellness (Toronto). Cision


Next Generation Manufacturing Canada is contributing $3.4 million to an $8-million project led by CarbiCrete (Lachine, QC), with partners Patio Drummond (Saint-Nicéphore, QC) and Innovotive (Montreal), to implement and optimize CarbiCrete’s carbon-negative concrete manufacturing process at industrial scale. Canadian Manufacturing

The governments of Canada and Saskatchewan are investing more than $3 million to fund research on carbon sequestration in perennial forage and pastures and improve understanding of the best practices for managing grazing systems. The funding was approved under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership's Strategic Research Initiative (SRI), which advances research to address challenges faced by the agriculture and agri-food sectors. Dr. Angela Bedard-Haughn of the University of Saskatchewan and Dr. Cameron Carlyle of the University of Alberta will be collaborating on the project over the next five years, Government of Saskatchewan


Dr. Michael Jemtrud will hold the chair of the newly created Chair in Architecture, Energy, and Environment in the Peter Guo-hua Fu School of Architecture at McGill University. As chair, Jemtrud will receive more than $6 million in funding and in-kind donations to lead a team from Carleton University and the University of Toronto on implementing emissions reduction measures, including developing a systematic approach to retrofitting buildings to decrease GHG emissions. Funding support is from NSERC Alliance funding, Hydro-Québec, and the Quebec Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources. McGill

Dr. Chris Sorensen has been appointed vice president R&D, physics at Vancouver-based clean energy products company HydroGraph Clean Power. Sorenson will lead HydroGraph-funded research in graphene and graphene applications; he discovered a process that uses explosions to produce high-quality, low-cost graphene, for which he was awarded the U.S. patent in 2016 as part of his research at Kansas State University. GlobeNewswire

Dr. Guy Rouleau has been approved for a three-year extension as director of the Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital), effective January 1, 2023. Rouleau was first appointed director in 2013 and reappointed in 2018. His extension was approved by McGill University’s board of governors and the board of directors of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). McGill

Dr. Fraser Hof has been appointed the new associate vice-president of research for a five-year term beginning July 1 at the University of Victoria. Fraser is currently the director of the Centre for Advanced Materials and Related Technology and has been a professor in the Department of Chemistry since 2005. UVic

Entrepreneur and financier Ron Schmeichel has donated $10 million to support entrepreneurship programs, incubators, accelerator programs, and networks at a new entrepreneur and innovation hub for students at Western University. Western will name the new entrepreneurship and innovation building the Ronald D Schmeichel Building for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in honour of the donation. Western

University of Calgary's Teaching, Research and Wellness Building will be renamed the Cal Wenzel Precision Health Building in honour of the contributions of the Cal Wenzel Family Foundation, which includes a new $16-million commitment towards expanding research capacity in precision health at the Cumming School of Medicine. UCalgary




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