The Short Report, June 19, 2019 – Research chairs, cybersecurity, Strategic Innovation Fund

Debbie Lawes
June 18, 2019

Science and Sports minister Kirsty Duncan has announced over $275 million for 346 new and renewed Canada Research Chairs at 52 institutions across Canada. It was the most gender diverse competition yet: 47% women, 22% visible minorities, 5% persons with disabilities, and 4% Indigenous peoples. The Canada Foundation for Innovation is contributing another $5.2 million for research infrastructure, supporting 30 chairs at 18 institutions. - GoC

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research is granting $31.6 million, and the Alzheimer Society of Canada and other partners are contributing $14.4 million more, to support Phase II of the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging, a national hub for collaborative research on dementia. The five-year funding will support an ambitious research program, including a large-scale study evaluating the effectiveness of new approaches to dementia prevention. - GoC

The federal government made two new awards under the Strategic Innovation Fund. Ottawa-based MindBridge Analytics Inc. will receive $14.5 million to support a $140.8-million, seven-year project to develop an AI-powered software tool to help companies better analyze their data. Energy utilities, for example, might use the platform to analyze power grid data to better observe patterns, improve efficiency and reduce energy use. - Newswire

The Aerospace Industries Association of Canada is the latest winner under the federal Strategic Innovation Fund’s Stream 5—National Ecosystems. The AIAC will receive up to $49 million “to establish a national aerospace innovation ecosystem that will take on the technological challenges of the industry, accelerate the commercialization of new and improved products, and create more highly skilled jobs for Canadians”. The government recently opened a new competition under Stream 5 related to large-scale, collaborative innovative initiatives. Applications are accepted on a continuing basis; there are no submission deadlines. - GoC, Newswire

In related news, the AIAC released its Vision 2025 report at the Paris Air Show June 17. The report recommends six key priorities for prosperity, and identifies several areas for collaboration to increase the sector’s competitiveness. - AIAC

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) awarded a $30-million contract to Honeywell for the design and implementation phases of its Quantum EncrYption and Science Satellite (QEYSSat) mission—the culmination of a series of research and technology development activities undertaken by the Institute for Quantum Computing. Honeywell will build, test, deliver, provide training for and commission the QEYSSat satellite, which will create a secure link between ground and space to transmit encryption keys. The work is expected to extend until the end of 2022. - GoC

FedDev Ontario is investing $10 million in Ryerson University’s Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst—a new national centre for innovation and collaboration in cybersecurity in Brampton. With an additional $20 million from Rogers Communications, Royal Bank of Canada and the City of Brampton, the Catalyst will offer specialized training programs in the cybersecurity sector, establish 40 partnerships, and provide commercialization support to 60 companies as part of a new small business accelerator. - GoC

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council has awarded 17 new Technology Access Centres (TAC) to colleges and cégeps, bringing to 47 the number of applied research and development centres across Canada. One of the recipients, Loyalist College in Belleville, ON, received $1.75 million to launch the country’s first TAC for natural products and cannabis. Six TACS were also renewed for another five years. - Newswire

Over $73 million will be dispersed to help 90 college researchers partner with local employers to translate research into new technologies to help businesses grow. Funding will also go towards specialized equipment to help companies develop local solutions to pressing issues in their regions. Funding was provided through the College and Community Innovation Program and College-Industry Innovation Fund. - Newswire

Intellijoint Surgical, a Waterloo-ON medical device company, is spearheading the launch of Canada’s first industry-led hub dedicated to scaling southern Ontario medtech start-ups. Opening in June, the Medical Innovation Xchange (MIX) will occupy 2,787 square metres of the Kitchener building with Intellijoint as its anchor tenant. The hub can house about 200 people. - Newswire

The pan-Canadian Consortium for Industrial Research and Innovation in Medical Technology, MEDTEQ, has announced the first recipients from its $14-million investment fund, which aims to mature technologies, accelerate innovation and de-risk companies. Co-investors include Anges-Québec, Anges-Québec Capital, Innovacorp, Real Ventures and others. The funding recipients are: Densitas (Halifax); MIMs (My Intelligent Machines) (Montreal); My01 (Montreal); Optina Diagnostics (Montreal); Saccade Analytics (Montreal); Spinologics (Montreal); Spring Loaded Technology (Halifax); and THORASYS (Montreal). - Newswire

A $5-million gift to Toronto’s Sinai Health System will fund the new Dovigi Family Sports Medicine Clinic and a research chair in sports medicine. The donation was made by entrepreneur and former NHL player Patrick Dovigi, founder and CEO of GFL Environmental Inc. - Newswire

The National Research Council and the University of Waterloo have launched the Collaboration on Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, and Cybersecurity. Housed on the University of Waterloo campus, the new hub brings together 20 researchers and students from the NRC and UWaterloo. - GoC

Access to talent is the main reason Canadian companies have been slow to adopt artificial intelligence, according to a new report from the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship at Ryerson University. The skills gap includes “technical, managerial, and translation talent required to support the effective development, implementation, and use of fundamental AI infrastructure, develop effective business strategies, calculate risk, manage business processes, and identify and address unintended consequences.” - Brookfield Institute

Canada has earned the dubious distinction, along with Bangladesh, China, India, Malaysia, and South Africa, for having a weak intellectual property regime that inhibits innovation, concludes a new report from the Global Trade & Innovation Policy Alliance, a global network of independent think tanks based in Washington DC. The report questions whether the federal government’s new IP strategy, launched in 2018, will actually strengthen IP rights, noting “that’s where the Canadian government’s IP strategy should have been focused first and foremost”. - GTIPA

Toronto-based fintech company Borrowell has raised $20 million in Series B funding, bringing its total raised in equity to $36.7 million. The company also reached more than a million users, which Borrowell claims now makes it Canada’s largest consumer fintech company. - Borrowell


The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has recruited an international team of scientists at the Krembil Centre for Neuroinformatics, which is moving into a new open-concept space at CAMH’s College Street location in Toronto. Team members are: Dr. Shreejoy Tripathy (USA), leading the Computational Genomics team; Dr. Etay Hay (Israel), leading the Brain Circuit Modelling team; Dr. John Griffiths (UK), leading the Whole Brain Modelling team; Dr. Andreea Diaconescu (Romania), leading the Cognitive Network Modelling team; Dr. Leon French (Canada), leading the Integrative Neuroanatomy team; Dr. Daniel Felsky (Canada), leading the Whole Person Modelling team; and Dr. Joanna Yu (Canada), Senior Project Manager of the BrainHealth Databank initiative. - CAMH

Dr. Nicholas Vukotic, principal scientist at Proto Mfg., is the University of Windsor’s new Industrial Research Chair in X-ray Diffraction and Crystalline Materials. The $3.7-million research partnership is jointly funded by UWindsor, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and Proto Mfg., a Windsor company that manufactures X-ray diffraction instrumentation and provides laboratory services to companies around the globe. - UWindsor

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