The Short Report - June 16, 2021: Major science bill passes US Senate, Canada's tri-agencies launch research data management policy, and more

Cindy Graham
June 16, 2021


The United States Senate has passed a science bill that would see the National Science Foundation (NSF) receive US$81 billion in funding over the next five years if it passes the House of Representatives. The legislation would double the NSF's budget, with 36 percent of the funding designated for a technology directorate and 10 percent for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and workforce development. The remaining research funding would go to NASA, the Department of Energy and the Department of Commerce. – Nature

The Government of Canada and Invest Alberta have each signed a memorandum of understanding with Air Products Canada (Mississauga) that would see an investment of $1.3 billion to pursue a net-zero hydrogen production facility in Edmonton, with plans to be operational by 2024. – GoC

The Government of Canada is investing more than $635 million in pandemic-related projects and research in Indigenous reconciliation, precision medicine, women’s health, particle physics, climate change, citizenship and social justice, and chronic pain, as well as gender, race and inclusive policies. The funding includes more than 3,400 new grants and grant extensions through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council's Discovery Grants program; 1,315 research projects across Canada through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s Partnership GrantsPartnership Development GrantsInsight Grants and Insight Development Grants, and 156 new or renewed Canada Research Chairs (CRC) at 36 institutions across Canada. – GoC

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada announced that the $165.7-million Agricultural Clean Technology Program is now open to applicants starting June 16. The program will provide farmers and agri-businesses with funding to develop and adopt clean technologies. The program is divided into two funding streams, the Adoption Stream and the Research and Innovation Stream, with applications accepted on a rolling basis until the funding is fully committed. – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

The Ontario Capital Growth Corporation is overseeing $100 million in new venture capital funding to help companies innovate and grow in high-growth sectors including life sciences, medical devices, clean technology, information technology and artificial intelligence. – Government of Ontario

FedDev Ontario is investing $10 million to establish an automotive, aerospace and advanced manufacturing hub at McMaster University. The hub will allow industry experts to test and develop electronic and autonomous vehicles and intelligent aircraft. – Government of Ontario

Carleton University researchers have received almost $13 million in funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. The funding will facilitate research in areas including investigating media concentration, the conservation of biodiversity, jury decision-making and misinformation in the pharmaceutical and agricultural chemical sectors. – Carleton U.

Protein Industries Canada (PIC, Regina), New School Foods (Toronto) and Liven Proteins (Mississauga) are co-investing nearly $2 million to expand R&D to create a plant-based seafood product that emulates the taste, texture and cooking experience of fish. PIC is co-investing half the funds while New School Foods and Liven will invest the remaining half. – PIC

The Canada-Inuit Nunangat-United Kingdom Arctic Research Program is launching a joint call for proposals to investigate changes to the terrestrial, coastal and near-shore marine environments in the Canadian Arctic as well as their impacts on Inuit and community health and well-being. Fonds de Recherche du Quebec is hosting the program, which is being co-developed by Canada-Inuit Nunangat and the United Kingdom through United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI). UKRI, FRQ, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Polar Knowledge Canada, the National Research Council and Parks Canada are research partners for the project, which will take place over three years. – FRQ

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council have launched the Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy (RDM policy) to prioritize research data management in Canadian research and support research integrity and cybersecurity. Phase 1 of the policy requires postsecondary institutions and research hospitals to prepare an institutional RDM strategy by March 1, 2023. – GoC

The Standards Council of Canada and Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada have commissioned the CIO Strategy Council to develop a national technical specification to ensure the safety and interoperability of digital credentials and trust services used in digital wallets. – CIO Strategy Council


Vancouver-based identity verification company Trulioo completed a $475-million Series-D financing round at a valuation of $2.1 billion. The round was led by equity firm TCV (California) with participation from Amex Ventures, Citi Ventures, Blumberg Capital (all of California) and Mouro Capital (London, UK). – Betakit

Autonomous driving startup Waabi has secured $100 million in its initial round of funding. The round was led by Khosla Ventures (California) with participation from Uber, Aurora, 8VC, Radical Ventures, Omers Ventures and the Business Development Bank of Canada's Women in Technology Venture Fund. Artificial intelligence experts Geoffrey Hinton, Fei-Fei Li, Pieter Abbeel and Sanja Fidler also invested in the round. – Betakit

British Columbia hydrogen-as-a-service provider Hydra Energy has secured $15 million in funding from venture incubator Just Business (San Francisco) to accelerate the replacement of diesel with hydrogen in heavy duty transport trucks. The funding brings Hydra's funding round total to date to $22 million. – Hydra Energy

Private equity investment firm HarbourVest Partners has opened a new office in Singapore and has appointed Lydia Hao to its Hong Kong office. The Singapore office is the eleventh location for HarbourVest and will be overseen by regional head and managing director Hemal Mirani. – HarbourVest


Ryerson University's Diversity Institute has released a report arguing that Canada's skills strategy must address skills for innovation across sectors to overcome the pandemic and prepare for the future. Key takeaways from the report suggest Canada’s innovation ecosystem suffers from competition for scarce resources and that a lack of co-ordination among organizations creates fragmentation and duplication of effort, which limits opportunities for sharing across institutions, jurisdictions and sectors. – Diversity Institute


Dr. Geoffrey Hinton has received a doctor of science, honoris causa, from the University of Toronto for his excellence as a global pioneer in the field of deep learning. Hinton is university professor emeritus at U of T and chief scientific adviser at the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence (Toronto). In 2010, he was awarded the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering and in 2012 won the Killam Prize for Engineering from the Canada Council for the Arts. – U of T

Dr. Richard Chandra is the new associate provost of research for Trinity Western University (TWU). He has held the position of director of research studies since 2019. Prior to his appointment to TWU, he worked as a research scientist for InnoTech Alberta on renewable nano-materials; the majority of his research has focused on developing environmentally friendly ways to produce renewable and sustainable fuels and materials. – TWU

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