Finalta Capital , Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada , 2 Degrés, Advisory Panel on the Federal Research Support System, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Alexi , Alphabet, ARC Financial Corp., Aspenleaf Energy, B.C. Ministry of Energy Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, BDC Capital, BoxTop Technologies Limited , Brock University, Business Development Bank of Canada, Calgary Economic Development, Cambridge University , Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions, Canada Foundation for Innovation, Canada Foundation for Innovation, Canadian Barley Research Coalition, Canadian Civil Liberties Association , Canadian Food Innovation Network, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canadian Nuclear Partners , Canadian Space Agency, Capital Réseau, Centres d’aide aux entreprises, Cheffer Technologies Inc. , CIFAR, City of Edmonton, City of Vancouver, Clean Energy Canada, Copperleaf Technologies, Cycle Momentum, Department of National Defence, Descartes Systems Group, Destination Vancouver, Dispension Indutries Inc. , Electra Battery Materials Corporation, Enactus Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Eureka, Finance Canada, First Nations University of Canada, FLO, G7, Gibson Energy Inc., Government of British Columbia, Government of Canada, Government of Ontario, Government of Quebec, GreenCo Robots Inc., Health Canada, Hibar Systems , Hife Systems , Horizon3 Labs , HTEC , IBM, Imperial College London, Industrial and Financial Systems , International Astronautical Federation, IVÉO, JAKS Automation Inc. , Jolt Capital , Kardium Inc. , Kensington Capital Partners, Lafarge Canada, Mastercard Foundation, McConnell Foundation , McMaster University, Mining Innovation Rehabilitation and Applied Research Corp , Mission Control, Mitacs, NASA, National Research Council, Natural Resources Canada, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, NerView Surgical, Northleaf Capital Partners, Office of the United States Trade Representative , Ontario Power Generation, Pacific Economic Development Canada, Parity, Pinnguaq, Prairies Economic Development Canada, ProFillet , Propulsion Québec , PSE Health Energy , Queen’s University, Réseau des SADC et des CAE, Samsung, Saskatchewan Research Council, Shenghe Resources , Siemens, SNN, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Sociétés d’aide au développement des collectivités, Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, Stanford University, Startup Genome, Stellarex, Tesla, The Royal Society, Transport Genie Ltd., Treasury Board, U of T's Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society , U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Justice Department , U15 Canada, Unilever, United Conservative Party, Universities Canada, University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, University of Calgary, University of Ottawa, University of Oxford, University of Regina, University of Regina’s Aging, Residents, and Caregivers Living Lab , University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, University of Windsor, UWaterloo's Laboratory for Emerging Energy Research , Varme Energy Inc., Vital Metals Canada Limited , Vital Metals Limited , Waabi, Web Summit, and Zero Point Cryogenics


2024 Enactus Canada National Student Entrepreneur Competition, academic freedom and independence, Act respecting transparency and accountability in relation to certain commitments Canada has made under the Convention on Biological Diversity (the Nature Accountability Bill), addressing cybersecurity vulnerabilities, AI technology for autonomous trucks, AI-powered enterprise planning and management software, AI-powered platform for legal firms, AI's transformation of scientific research, AlphaFold AI system, Ambition EST 2030, Anatomy Video and Imagery Diversity project , autonomous operation of HVAC systems, B.C. large industry projects to reduce emissions with clean technology, benzene levels in natural gas delivered to homes, Bill C-70, an Act respecting countering foreign interference, British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund, Brock University's Exercise and Environmental Physiology Laboratory, building a talent pool in AI, Buyers for Climate Action, Canada Growth Fund, Canada Research Chair in Critical Surveillance and Security Studies , Canada Research Chairs program, Canada's Critical Minerals List, Canada's proposed digital services tax, Canada’s 2030 Nature Strategy, Canadian Food Innovation Network's Innovation Booster Program, Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, cancer research, carbon capture, storage and utilization, CFI’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund , CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars, CIFAR MacMillan Multiscale Human team, clean buildings, clean energy, clean industry, clean transportation, Clean Energy Canada's report card on provinces , Climate Change, critical minerals sector in northern Ontario, Darlington New Nuclear Project, DND's Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) program, EDI Action Plan for the Canada Research Chairs program, Electric vehicle charging infrastructure, electrifying federal government's vehicle fleet, enhancements to federal Greening Government Strategy, execution processor architectures in computing, federal restrictions on Chinese investment in Canada's critical minerals firms, federal support for regional economic diversification in Quebec, foodtech projects, FORWARD to Professorship, fourth Canada Growth Fund investment, greening federal procurement and materiel management, impact on universities from Bill C-70, Intelligent Menu-Planning Assistant , international research collaboration, intoxication detection system, investment in private equity , Kunming-Montréal Global Biodiversity Framework , logistics and supply chains software, micro-credentials programs in Ontario, modernizing Canada's federal research system, monitoring fruits and vegetables during transportation, National Indigenous Economic Strategy, nuclear reactor refurbishment, opportunities and challenges of AI, plant-based fish fillets, preventing dementia, projects by Nunavik organizations, proposed federal Foreign Influence Transparency Registry, proposed new federal capstone research funding organization, provinces' efforts in building more sustainable economies , quantum-enabled cryogenic technology, Quebec cleantech incubation and acceleration consortium, Quebec Research and Innovation Investment Strategy, recapitalization investment, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, research on barley crop, research on how women respond to high-heat conditions, robot waiters , robotic plck-and-place packaging system in paneer production , Rover Driving Academy for students , small modular reactors in Ontario, Startup Genome’s Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2024, stealing trade secrets , supporting STEAM in rural and Indigenous communities, Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, technology to prevent nerve injuries during surgery, tracking Indigenous economic prosperity, transforming the STEM landscape in Canada , treatment of arterial fibrillation, Tri-Council’s EDI Action Plan for 2018-2025, UBC's Smart Hydrogen Energy District, United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, University of Regina’s Aging, Residents, and Caregivers Living Lab , using lunar regolith to produce useable materials, venture capital investment, waste-to-energy technology, and Web Summit Vancouver

The Short Report: June 19, 2024

Research Money
June 19, 2024


The Government of British Columbia is providing a total of $32.6 million through the CleanBC Industry Fund for 12 large industry projects to help reduce emissions through clean technology. Lafarge Canada is receiving more than $7 million to add additional infrastructure to allow increased co-processing of alternative fuels, reducing the use of fossil fuels at the Richmond Cement Plant (photo at right). This builds on a $5-million contribution to Lafarge in 2023 to support the use of captured carbon dioxide. The City of Vancouver will receive more than $6 million to capture more methane and reduce fugitive methane emissions at its Vancouver landfill. This is estimated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 716,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2033. The CleanBC Industry Fund invests carbon taxes paid by large industries back into clean-technology projects that reduce emissions and create clean jobs. Since 2019, more than $244 million has been invested back into industry, reducing more than nine million tonnes of emissions over 10 years, equivalent to removing almost 240,000 cars from the road each year during that period. Govt. of B.C.

Finance Canada announced the Canada Growth Fund’s fourth investment will support Varme Energy Inc., an Edmonton-based developer of waste-to-energy facilities with integrated carbon capture and storage. Parent firm Varme Energy AS is headquartered in Oslo, Norway. In partnership with Calgary-based Gibson Energy Inc., Varme is seeking to develop Canada’s first waste-to-energy project with carbon capture and storage in the Heartland industrial region northeast of Edmonton. The Canada Growth Fund would purchase up to 200,000 tonnes per year of carbon credits for 15 years at an initial price of $85 per tonne plus “escalation,” Finance Canada said. [Editor’s note: Even without escalation, that price amounts to $17 million per year, or a total of $255 million over 15 years]. Carbon credit offtake agreements – a form of carbon contracts for difference – de-risk emissions-reducing investments by guaranteeing the purchase of carbon credits for abated emissions at a fixed price. In January, the City of Edmonton awarded Varme a 15-year contract to collect and process 200,000 tonnes per year of municipal solid waste beginning in 2027. The new project will integrate carbon capture technology to safely and cleanly incinerate waste and produce affordable clean electricity, while creating jobs, lowering home energy costs, diverting waste from landfills and reducing emissions. Waste-to-energy with carbon capture has significant potential to be scaled-up for use in cities across Canada. Beyond Varme’s inaugural Edmonton project, the Canada Growth Fund will also have the opportunity to participate in future Canadian projects using Varme’s integrated carbon capture technology and waste-to-energy approach. Finance Canada

The Government of Ontario announced it secured significant deals after completing trade missions to Romania and France. Ontario and Romania signed a $360-million agreement between Ontario Power Generation (OPG) subsidiary Canadian Nuclear Partners and Romanian energy company SNN, for support by Ontario’s nuclear workers on the refurbishment of Romania’s Cernavoda Nuclear Power Plant Unit 1. In France, OPG and Stellarex, a fusion technology company, signed a memorandum of understanding to explore opportunities for the development and deployment of fusion energy in Ontario. The Ontario government also announced that OPG has completed the early works, on time and on budget, for the first small modular nuclear reactor (SMR) to be built among G7 countries. The site has now been transitioned into the care of the Darlington New Nuclear Project’s construction partner, Aecon, to allow for main site preparation to begin. This work includes excavation, construction of shoring walls, as well as land clearance for three planned additional SMR units. Govt. of Ontario

The Government of Canada announced nearly $4 million through the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to support 18 Canada Research Chairs at 15 universities across the country. This contribution, made through the CFI’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF), will help universities compete to recruit and retain exceptional researchers by investing in the innovative research infrastructure they need to advance their work. Projects being funded through the JELF-CRC include:

  • Tolerating heat: Researchers at Brock University will launch the Exercise and Environmental Physiology Laboratory to look particularly at how women – an under-studied group – respond to high-heat conditions. They aim to understand the role estrogen and progesterone play in the regulation of body temperature, how heat affects those who are fasting, and ways to detect signs of heat strain earlier. The work will inform high-heat guidelines for people in fields like construction, agriculture and first-response, and for those who need to fast for cultural, surgical or health reasons.   
  • Addressing cyber vulnerabilities: Researchers at the University of Ottawa are looking to develop practical solutions to address cybersecurity vulnerabilities in industries like health care, which rely on cyber-physical systems. Since researchers can detect threats through binary code analysis, this project aims to build the first large-scale database specific to detecting vulnerabilities in binary code for the Internet of Things. The work will help manufacturers, security professionals and other researchers adapt to emerging technologies to keep critical infrastructure safe.  
  • Staying social to stave off dementia: Rates of dementia are rising rapidly, and research has found that older adults who are socially isolated or lonely are more likely to develop the condition. However, by targeting these types of modifiable risk factors, it is estimated that up to 40 per cent of dementia cases could be prevented. Researchers at the University of Regina’s Aging, Residents, and Caregivers Living Lab will use CFI funding to purchase automatic facial analysis software, a physiological data acquisition system and audio/visual equipment to help investigate how we can keep this population socially connected within their communities. CFI

The federal, British Columbia and Vancouver governments will together provide up to $14.8 million for Web Summit Vancouver, which will replace Web Summit’s Collision event in Toronto. The last edition of Collision is being held this week. Web Summit will be held in Vancouver starting in May 2025. Pacific Economic Development Canada is contributing $6.6 million over three years and the Government of British Columbia is providing $6.6 million, including $3 million in cash and $3.6 million for “in-kind contributions.” The City of Vancouver is providing $1.6 million in grants and waived fees for facilities and safety. Destination Vancouver, a tourism development non-profit organization, will work with Web Summit to stage the event. B.C. has more than 11,000 tech companies and technology is the fastest-growing sector in the province. Destination Vancouver anticipates that Web Summit Vancouver will generate $172 million in direct spending and $279 million in overall economic impact for B.C. in its first year. Vancouver Sun, Web Summit

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) is investing more than $5.2 million in the Canadian Barley Research Coalition through the AgriScience Program - Clusters Component, an initiative under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership. The goal of this cluster is to support research that will lead to a more resilient barley sector that is better equipped to respond to a changing climate and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Barley plays a key role in meeting diverse needs in the food and beverage industry, as well as livestock feed. Among other initiatives, the Barley Cluster research activities will explore:

  • improving barley sustainability through integrated genetic diversity, nitrogen and plant growth regulators.
  • developing Canadian barley varieties that are more resistant to climate change.
  • developing next-generation barley traits for economic profitability and environmental sustainability in Canada.
  • disease resistance to improve environmental, economic, and sector resiliency. AAFC

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) announced two investments of $5 million each to the Mining Innovation Rehabilitation and Applied Research Corp (MIRARCO) and Electra Battery Materials Corporation to support the critical minerals sector in northern Ontario. These projects join nearly 130 mining projects under construction or planned over the next 10 years in Canada, representing a combined value of $93.5 billion, according to NRCan's Major Projects Inventory. Funding to MIRARCO, a non-profit organization, aims to advance technological readiness of the recovery of battery metals like nickel, cobalt and copper from mine tailings from the Vale and Glencore mines in the Greater Sudbury area, while reducing the long-term social and environmental costs associated with mine waste. Through this project, MIRARCO will directly feed into the battery supply chain, potentially unlocking significant amounts of nickel and cobalt in Sudbury. Funding to Electra will be used to advance the next phase of its battery materials recycling project. Electra is constructing North America’s only battery-grade cobalt refinery, five hours north of Toronto, as part of a multiphase effort to build the North American supply chain for battery materials. Electra successfully ran a demonstration recycling program on a batch basis at this facility in 2023. This funding advances the project, demonstrating the process on a continuous basis and showing that Electra’s proprietary technology is scalable, profitable and can be implemented at other locations. Electra’s recycling program uses a new environmentally friendly process that will contribute to building a resilient Canadian electric vehicle battery supply chain. NRCan

The Government of Ontario is investing $5 million for eligible post-secondary institutions to work with industry to co-create or expand micro-credentials programs. The investment is through the Ontario Micro-credentials Challenge Fund. This year, Ontario is providing funding for 88 micro-credential projects at colleges, universities, Indigenous institutes and career colleges across the province. The projects include: teaching health care professionals to manage cybersecurity projects involving medical devices; skills for manufacturing driven by robotics, AI and digital advances; understanding Indigenous nation-to-nation relations; electric vehicle supply equipment upskilling for electricians; and business and marketing skills for French-language health care professionals. Govt. of Ontario

 The Government of Quebec awarded, through the Ministère de l’Économie, de l’Innovation et de l’Énergie, more than $3.5 million to 2 Degrés, Cycle Momentum and IVÉO to support the establishment of a cleantech incubation and acceleration consortium. This financial assistance is part of the Quebec Research and Innovation Investment Strategy. The total investment by all partners will amount to nearly $8 million. The consortium brings together the expertise of 2 Degrés, a cleantech incubator; Cycle Momentum, a cleantech accelerator; and IVÉO, a municipal innovation accelerator, to build a collaborative and structured startup creation model. It will offer a continuum of entrepreneurial support in clean technologies, from ideation to commercialization. The partners’ shared goal is to stimulate the creation of innovative startups, accelerate the commercialization of their solutions, and generate significant environmental and economic benefits for Quebec. Quebec’s environment ministry invested more than $22 million in Cycle Momentum last October as part of its “Plan for a green economy 2030” to support green-tech startups with high growth potential. Cycle Momentum


Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED) announced non-repayable financial contributions totalling nearly $1.75 million for five projects by Nunavik organizations recognized in their respective communities for their potential to contribute to the regional economy. The recipient organizations are: Makivvik Corporation; Qiniqtiq Landholding Corporation of Kangiqsualujjuaq;  Nursuti Inuit Business Development Hub; Fédération des Coopératives du Nouveau‑Québec; and Avataa-Rouillier Drilling Inc. in Kuujjuaq, Nunavik. CED

Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED) announced federal funding of $245 million for organizations in Quebec to support regional economic diversification. The funding will go to 57 Sociétés d’aide au développement des collectivités, the 10 Centres d’aide aux entreprises, the Réseau des SADC et des CAE, and Capital Réseau. Of the total funding, $177 million in support for the 2024‑2029 period will enable the organizations to pursue their mission in rural communities, which involves fostering the development of local economies, supporting startups, and helping SMEs with their growth strategies. In addition to this amount, access is being provided to a further $68 million to strengthen the organizations’ capacity for intervention and to make investments towards the green shift, digital technology, the transfer of businesses to rural areas, and youth. CED

The Department of National Defence’s (DND) IDEaS (innovation for Defence Excellence and Security) program invested $75.8 million between April 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023 (the federal government’s fiscal year) according to IDEaS’ annual report for 2022-2023. This investment included launching 10 challenges, with 92 projects being signed and 70 unique recipients of the funding. Overall, the program has invested more than $330.1 million since its inception, launched 75 challenges, has signed 665 projects and had 305 unique funding recipients. More than half of IDEaS’ funding has gone to small and medium-sized enterprises. Eight additional challenges were launched as IDEaS’ fifth call for proposals continued in 2022-2023. IDEaS’ Innovation Networks element launched a new challenge, “Preparing for a quantum world: Defence applications of quantum technologies.” Ultimately, six teams will be selected to share $18 million in funding. In May 2022, the program also signed eight contribution agreements (total value of $12 million) for the development of research clusters to advance 5G capabilities and concepts for defence and security. However, the annual report mentions only one IDEaS project funded that was commercialized. As part of the COVID-19 super sanitize challenge, GermStopSQ, a surface disinfectant, was approved by Health Canada for commercial uses. Critics say IDEaS lacks a mechanism for DND to procure the products and services that program participants develop. The IDEaS website provides no information on products and services funded by IDEas that were actually procured by DND or other government agencies. “In interviews with program managers, it was indicated that IDEaS had not yet reached the point where solutions, once developed, can be procured,”  according to a 2023 DND internal evaluation of the IDEaS program. For innovators asking “What happens Next?” the program “has no clear answer,” the evaluation said. Also, DND has never come close to meeting its spending commitment, under the federal Innovation Solutions Canada program, to fund innovation and buy from startups. DND


Proposed federal legislation countering foreign influence raises concerns about academic freedom, international research collaboration

The U15 Canada group of research universities warns that the federal government’s proposed Foreign Influence Transparency Registry could have “unintended consequences,” including infringing on academic freedom.

The registry may unintentionally capture legitimate academic activity, and place a high administrative burden on universities engaged in international research cooperation and science diplomacy, U15 said in a written brief to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.

The House of Commons committee is studying Bill C-70, an Act respecting countering foreign interference.

 The current criteria for determining an obligation to register activities on the Foreign Influence Transparency Registry “poses significant concerns for the research activities of our universities and for the Canadian academic community,” U15 said.

The proposed criteria risks unduly burdening universities and Canadian researchers with reporting requirements for legitimate and cooperative research partnerships which are conducted with high standards of transparency and integrity, as set out under the Tri-Agency Framework for the Responsible Conduct of Research, U15 said. This includes standards for accurate referencing, identifying authors, acknowledging sources of funding and managing conflicts of interest.

“It is simply impossible for large research-intensive universities to track individual research collaborations across their institutions and report this on the registry within 14 days; indeed, it would not be in character for academic institutions to undertake such tracking,” according to U15’s brief.

Under the Act, failing to register an arrangement or activity with a foreign principal – a power, state, entity or economic entity – could result in financial penalties or criminal sanctions.

Greater clarity is needed on how an arrangement will be defined under the Act and whether it would capture research partnerships, funding agreements or other international research activities conducted with publicly funded universities, research institutions or foreign research funding agencies which may be considered foreign principals under the Act, U15 said.

“The risk of a chilling effect on international research partnerships as an unintended consequence of the registry’s reporting requirements could significantly harm relationships with international peers and mean that Canada misses out on the opportunity to cooperate on cutting-edge research and access world-leading expertise with peer nations.”

Greater clarity also is needed on whether the publication, communication or disbursement of research findings, including through peer-reviewed academic journals, teaching, conferences or other public forums would be considered a communication activity for the purposes of the Act and thereby requiring registration, U15 said.

“The potential scope of this application could significantly infringe on the academic freedom of, and importance for, researchers to disclose their findings to the academic community and wider public; such infringement would limit the pursuit of open science and free exchange of ideas.”

U15 said it is particularly concerning that the three-step criteria for reporting obligations means that the limits on communication with the public would only relate to research regarding federal policy developments, legislation and decision making, thereby unduly targeting certain fields more closely related to political or governmental processes, such as political science, international relations and economics.

“The unintended and perverse end result of such an application would be less transparency since it would incentivize researchers not to communicate their findings with the wider public,” U15 said.

U15 noted that the federal government’s “What We Heard” report following public consultations on the proposed registry reported recommendations from stakeholders that “the [government] should establish an exemption for activities that are predominantly academic or scholastic in nature. They wish to see the exemption definition include teaching and research activities, including the communication of research findings by any means.”

U15 urged Ottawa to include this sort of exemption in the proposed legislation, and engage with the university and academic community to explore how subsequent regulations can mitigate concerns about academic freedom as the legislation moves forward.

Universities Canada, in its written brief to the House of Commons committee, said Bill C-70 raises significant practical questions relating to administrative requirements of managing the registry registration requirements in a decentralized institution such as a university.

“Should the approach of the registry be too broad in this respect, it would likely result in significant administrative costs on Canadian institutions to create an administrative framework around the registry while providing little specificity on the registered activity,” the organization said.

Universities Canada also pointed out that some Canadian research partnerships are supported by funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation. Should an American research partner not wish to register on a list of foreign influencers in Canada, it could limit the publication of the research, Universities Canada said.

“This dynamic may even limit the willingness of researchers to partner with Canadian institutions, creating an isolating effect that slows down the flow of ideas, expertise, talent and technologies into Canada.”

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), in its written brief to the House of Commons committee, said the part of Bill C-70 which purports to create a foreign influence registry “includes vague and broad language that raises accountability issues.”

This language also raises concerns about the potential use of the foreign influence transparency registry as a tool that could allow the government to monitor not only foreign influence specifically, but also, more generally, the international engagement of various actors, including foreign state-owned or funded broadcasters, academic institutions and charities, as well as international organizations such as the United Nations, the CCLA said.

Since Bill C-70 also relies on future regulations to delineate the scope of the registry, including the information that would have to be registered in it, “it is currently impossible to assess how this registry would be used by the State and what impact it could have on democracy, freedom of the press and privacy rights,” the CCLA said.

The House of Commons completed third reading of Bill C-70 on June 13, and the bill is now being studied by the Senate. Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security


Canada has been selected as a co-chair of Eureka for 2024-2025, with Germany. This is the first time in Eureka’s almost 40-year history that two countries will share the responsibility of leading the world’s largest public network for international cooperation in research and development. Canada’s co-chairing – led by the National Research Council (NRC) – of Eureka is an important milestone for Canada and an opportunity to highlight Canada’s leadership in research and innovation on the global stage, the federal government said. Canada, in collaboration with its German partner, will help set the strategic direction for Eureka and continue to support efforts to enhance cooperation across the network. This will bring together innovators from Eureka countries to work together on market-driven industrial R&D. Innovators and partners from across the Eureka network will also have the opportunity to visit Canada and experience the country’s innovation ecosystem. Eureka, with more than 45 countries from Europe and beyond, aims to facilitate market-oriented, industry-led R&D collaboration projects across borders, bringing together small and medium-sized businesses, large companies, research centres, universities and other innovators. NRC

Eleven U.S. business associations and organizations are calling for “prompt and decisive action” in response to Canada’s proposed legislation (Bill C-59) that will impose a three per cent digital services tax. In an open letter to Katherine Tai, U.S. trade representative in Washington, D.C., the groups said estimates show that this law will directly cost U.S. exporters and the U.S. tax base up to $2.3 billion annually and could directly result in the loss of thousands of full-time U.S. jobs. The broader job losses are likely to be much higher, particularly if the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) declines to challenge this legislation and other countries view U.S. inaction as justification to pursue their own discriminatory taxes aimed at U.S. entities, the groups said. “Canada’s proposal to make this digital services tax nearly three years retroactive is unprecedented. This undermines basic principles of tax certainty and will have a chilling effect on the investment climate in Canada among U.S. companies.” The groups urge USTR to initiate formal dispute settlement procedures with Canada, beginning with consultations under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement. The groups point out that the 2021 OECD/G20 political agreement stipulated that all parties would “remove all Digital Services Taxes and other relevant similar measures with all companies, and . . . commit not to introduce such measures in the future.” National Foreign Trade Council

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) announced that the federal government has added three minerals to the country’s Critical Minerals List: high-purity iron, phosphorous and silicon metal. Silicon metal is essential to the manufacture of chips and semiconductors, used in almost everything electronic. High-purity iron ore is essential to “green” steel and integral to decarbonization. Phosphorus combined with potash is essential for food security through the production of fertilizers. Phosphorus can also be used in lithium iron phosphate batteries, another strategic opportunity in the electric vehicle value chain for Canada. With the additions, there are now a total of 34 critical minerals on the list. Canada released its first Critical Minerals List in 2021, with a commitment to review the minerals identified as critical every three years. The list guides federal policy and programs and signals government areas of priority to stakeholders. NRCan

Australia-based Vital Metals Limited announced it has signed an agreement to sell its stockpiled rare earth material to the Saskatchewan Research Council for $3 million. The sale was facilitated by Natural Resources Canada and “supersedes” a prior transaction announced in December 2023 when China-based Shenghe Resources invested in the company. The federal government previously has forced divestments by other Chinese investors in Canadian critical mineral mining firms. Vital’s stockpiled rare earth material was derived from earlier mining at the company's  Tardiff deposit at Nechalacho in the Northwest Territories. Vital conducted a strategic review to investigate potential pathways for the long-term future and viability of its planned rare earth processing facility in Saskatoon. The review concluded that operating the Saskatoon facility wasn’t economically viable under the existing model, and Vital Metals assigned its Vital Metals Canada Limited (VMCL) subsidiary, which owns the Saskatoon facility, into bankruptcy with the sale of VMCL’s property and assets. Vital Metals said it will now focus on developing its Tardif deposit in the N.W.T. The Government of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Research Council are developing a rare earth processing facility in the province – the first of its kind in Canada. Vital Metals   

Queen’s University announced a $25-million gift from Murray and Cara Sinclair to combat cancer by building cancer research capacity, establishing cutting-edge facilities and launching new training opportunities. In recognition of the family’s gift, the Queen’s Cancer Research Institute will be renamed the Cara & Murray Sinclair Cancer Research Institute. The Sinclairs’ gift will support two innovations that enable both new discoveries and therapies:  

  • A world-class imaging facility will allow researchers to understand the ways in which cancer cells manage to get past our immune system and resist treatments, and uncover new therapies for different cancer types. The facility will provide a real-time view of the immune system interacting with cancer cells.
  • A specialized biomanufacturing facility with the ultimate goal of developing and manufacturing cell-based therapies – one of a handful of its kind in Canada and the first to have direct connection to comprehensive cancer trials expertise. The facility will make personalized cellular immunotherapy treatments available to Canadian patients faster.

The gift also will be used for a new funding competition to support collaboration and innovative team-based research. The Cara & Murray Sinclair Cancer Research Institute is the only research centre in Canada that brings together experts from three key cancer disciplines: cancer biology and genetics, clinical trials (Canadian Cancer Trials Group), and cancer care and epidemiology. These experts work on cross-disciplinary teams that share knowledge, advance treatments available to patients, and evaluate the impact on patients. Queen’s University

The First Nations University of Canada in Regina announced it will establish a new institute to track Indigenous economic prosperity, with the help of two foundations. The Mastercard Foundation is contributing $6 million over five years, while the McConnell Foundation is contributing $1.5 million over the same period. The initiative fulfills a call to action from the National Indigenous Economic Strategy for Canada that the new research body be established to track countrywide data on population, businesses, land and resources. The strategy, released in 2022, was developed by 20 Indigenous organizations as a means to guide governments and institutions in reconciliation through rebuilding Indigenous economies. The strategy focuses on four pillars: people, lands, infrastructure, and finance. It emphasizes entrepreneurship, the Indigenous labour force, jurisdiction over Indigenous communities, infrastructure and developing the financial capital communities need to achieve economic and social prosperity on their own terms. The Canadian Press

The University of British Columbia (UBC) launched the $23-million Smart Hydrogen Energy District (SHED). Equipped with a hydrogen fueling station, this facility is expected to pave the way for breakthroughs in critical energy research. SHED will produce hydrogen using solar and hydro power to operate a water electrolyzer, making the process completely green and renewable. It is one of the first initiatives in Canada to combine hydro, solar and hydrogen energy at a single site, connecting these renewable energy sources to a unified micro-grid. SHED will be the province’s first hydrogen station to serve light- and heavy-duty vehicles. SHED combines various technologies within a city block, serving as a model for compact urban planning. A rooftop solar array powers both the hydrogen fueling station and nearby electric vehicle charging stations. Two-way charging will enable parked EVs to both draw power from the grid and give excess stored electricity back to the grid during peak hours when there is extra energy demand. A secure 5G network connects SHED’s different systems, enabling researchers to create digital simulations for energy, transportation and urban planning research. SHED received funding from these partners: 

  • Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation – $8.3 million in low-carbon fuel standard credits  
  • Government of Canada – $5 million 
  • Canada Foundation for Innovation – $4.6 million  
  • British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund – $4.6 million   
  • $800,000 from industry partners, including HTECUBC

Unilever’s Toronto-based Horizon3 Labs and Mitacs are jointly investing up to $8 million aimed at building a talent pool in artificial intelligence. The program is designed to fund 100 researchers at various stages in their academic lives to deliver AI technology-driven business solutions. The researchers will work on four main projects:

  • inventory and demand forecasting
  • supply-chain solutions
  • graph machine-learning in business
  • generative AI applications.

Last year, Unilever opened its global Horizon3 AI Labs in Toronto. Unilever is investing up to $4 million in this program. Mitacs will match that investment at 100 per cent, over the next two years. Mitacs

 The Canadian Food Innovation Network awarded $464,518 to six foodtech projects  projects through the organization’s Innovation Booster Program. Industry will match these funds to create projects valued at nearly $930,000. The funding recipients are:

  • GreenCo Robots Inc. (Alberta), which received $97,922, has provided more than 300 robot waiters to Canadian restaurants since 2020 and is launching a Table Tracking Solution.
  • Cheffer Technologies Inc. (Ontario), $94,415, will leverage data science and AI to develop a proof-of-concept of its Intelligent Menu-Planning Assistant to help chefs choose optimal ingredients during menu planning.
  • ProFillet (Nova Scotia), $94,107, is developing a plant-based fish fillet analogue that mirrors the taste, texture and nutritional comparison of raw channel catfish.
  • Dispension Indutries Inc. (Nova Scotia), $89,562, is developing “intoxivision,” an intoxication-detection system that uses thermal imaging for real-time analysis of a person’s intoxication level – enabling Dispension’s beer kiosks to operate fully unattended in stadium and other venues.
  • Transport Genie Ltd. (Ontario), $60,107, is advancing its sensor system to monitor the condition of fruit and vegetables during transportation to reduce food waste.
  • JAKS Automation Inc. (British Columbia), $28,405, is implementing an advanced robotic pick-and-place packaging system in a paneer (an Indian cheese) production facility. Food in Canada

Ottawa-based Mission Control announced it was selected by the Canadian Space Agency to provide the Rover Driving Academy for students across Canada. Mission Control makes software for Earth, the Moon and Mars and is Canada’s leader in lunar rover missions. Mission Control's Spacefarer™ software streamlines mission development and operations and will be used on multiple upcoming rover missions by customers from around the world. Using the same Spacefarer™ technology, the Rover Driving Academy gives students in Grades 6 to 9 from coast to coast to coast the chance to conduct their own lunar rover mission right from their classroom. Using a specially created curriculum, students learn about space, science and robotics and remotely operate rovers located in Mission Control’s 4,000-square-foot Moonyard facility. To date, Mission Control, the Canadian Space Agency and Pinnguaq, a not-for-profit organization in Nunavut supporting STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) in rural and Indigenous communities, have provided a remote rover driving experience for more than 2,000 students across Canada. Mission Control

Natural gas delivered to homes in Vancouver, Calgary, Los Angeles and Denver have on average twice the levels of benzene – a carcinogen – compared with 13 other North American cities, according to a new study by U.S. researchers. Benzene levels in gas delivered to Vancouver homes have nearly 50 times greater levels of benzene than that of the lowest-concentration city, Boston, said the study by PSE Health Energy and Stanford University. The peer-reviewed study was published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. Researchers found benzene in 97 per cent of 587 samples of natural gas from 481 residences in 17 North American cities. “The findings confirm that benzene and other hazardous air pollutants are present in nearly all natural gas supplied to households, buildings and businesses throughout North America,” the researchers said. The findings also suggest that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates of benzene emissions from natural gas appliances inside buildings are “substantially underestimated” by at least 50 per cent, according to their study. Levels of odorant such as tert-butyl mercaptan – used to alert occupants to gas leaks – in Houston natural gas were approximately five times higher than Toronto, whereas the cities of New York City and Washington, D.C., appeared to use different odorant products altogether, “indicating a lack of standardization,” the researchers said. On average, measured natural gas odorant levels should alert most occupants to gas leaks that can lead to high benzene exposures. However, each household faces a different situation due to differences in personal smelling sensitivity, ventilation rates, gas composition and barriers to fixing leaks after detection. The researchers said regulators and consumers would benefit from greater transparency of natural gas composition, such as open access to natural gas composition data and regular sampling. Additionally, they said, improving leak detection through stricter odorization standards or increased usage of leak-detecting devices, or reducing gas use altogether can improve indoor air quality and public health. EurekAlert


Toronto-based Northleaf Capital Partners, a global private markets investment firm, announced closing its Northleaf Venture Catalyst Fund III at its $370-million hard cap. In addition to the Government of Canada, which invested in NVCF III through BDC Capital, a number of leading Canadian institutional investors committed capital to the fund, including the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, as well as high-net-worth individuals and family offices. NVCF III forms an integral part of the federal government’s Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative, aimed at increasing the availability of capital for Canada's high-potential VC funds and innovative startups. NVCF III’s mandate is to generate strong returns from a well-diversified portfolio, investing in Canada-based venture capital and growth funds across every stage and sector, and direct investments in later-stage high-growth, innovative companies. Across its Canada-focused investment program, Northleaf has invested in more than 50 Canadian VC funds and more than 30 technology and health care companies. Northleaf Capital Partners

Toronto-based Kensington Capital Partners, a global Canadian investor in private equity, venture capital and other alternative assets, announced closing its $290-million Kensington Venture Fund II. Kensington said KVF III has attracted capital from new and returning investors, including TD Bank, BMO Capital Partners, and BDC, as well as “several wealth management firms.” The fund, which was launched under the federal government’s Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative, will follow a hybrid strategy as both a fund-of-funds investing in venture capital funds and a direct investor into promising technology companies. To date, the Kensington Venture Fund II has completed commitments to two direct investments and seven new VC funds, including several that represent longstanding Kensington relationships. Kensington Capital Partners

Toronto-based Waabi, which uses generative AI in technology for autonomous trucks, announced it raised US$200 million in a Series B round, led by Uber and Khosla Ventures. The funding round included participation from NVIDIA, Volvo Group Venture Capital, Porsche Automobil Holding SE, Scania Invest and Ingka Investments. Additional financial investors included HarbourVest Partners, G2 Venture Partners, BDC Capital’s Thrive Venture Fund, Export Development Canada, Radical Ventures, Incharge Capital, and others. Waabi said the new funding will support the company’s deployment of fully driverless, generative AI-powered autonomous trucks in 2025. Waabi

Calgary-based ARC Financial Corp., an energy-focused private equity manager, announced the recapitalization of Aspenleaf Energy, a Calgary-based 25,000 barrel-per-day, high-netback, light oil producer. The transaction provides more than $400 million of liquidity for ARC Energy Fund 7’s investors and co-investors and raises over $100 million in new equity for the company. The new equity was heavily oversubscribed, which speaks to the appeal of Aspenleaf’s “high free-cash-flow yielding assets,” ARC Financial said. ARC Financial Corp.

Vancouver-based Kardium Inc. raised $143 million in a round led by existing investor Fidelity Management & Research Company, together with follow-on participation by funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. and T. Rowe Price Investment Management, Inc. as well as new investor Durable Capital Partners LP. Kardium is the developer of the Globe® Mapping Ablation System for the treatment of arterial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat). The financing will allow Kardium to complete its PULSAR clinical study in order to obtain regulatory approvals for the Globe System, to grow the manufacturing team and capacity, and to build a clinical support and commercial team in preparation for the commercial launch of the Globe System. Recent clinical data presented at the Heart Rhythm Society annual meeting demonstrated impressive results with the Globe System, showing freedom from atrial arrhythmia at one year of 84.2 per cent in paroxysmal (periodic episodes) AF patients and 80 per cent in persistent (episodes lasting more than seven days) AF patients. Kardium

Quebec City-based FLO, a North American electric vehicle (charging network operator and smart charging solutions provider, secured $136 million in long-term capital, principally from a Series E equity financing, led by Export Development Canada. The equity raise was also supported by the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Investissement Québec, Business Development Bank of Canada, Energy Impact Partners, and MacKinnon, Bennett & Company Inc. FLO said the financing will support the company’s continued growth in both the U.S. and Canada and accelerate and expand deployment of its reliable charging network. The investment will also help advance the rollout of FLO’s newest products, an “ultra-fast” charger and the next generation of home residential chargers. FLO

Montreal-based Finalta Capital raised $31 million in a funding round led by the Fonds de solidarité FTQ, an investor since 2017. FinAlta, a private debt fund, lends money to Canadian companies waiting on payouts from government grants or tax credits, providing fast-growing innovative companies with enhanced, non-dilutive liquidity. The funding will be used to support the fund’s rapid growth, Finalta said. Finalta Capital

Toronto-based Parity raised $26.1 million in a Series B funding round by Idealist Capital, joining existing investors ArcTern Ventures, Wyse Meter Solutions Inc., and RET Ventures. Partity’s technology limits energy waste and maximizes demand response performance by remotely and autonomously operating existing heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems in buildings in real-time. By integrating with a building’s existing control infrastructure, Parity also minimizes the need for new hardware. Parity said the funding enables it to focus on geographic expansion across the U.S., and target new verticals including senior and student housing. The company also plans to continue rolling out new products and services to further drive automated building efficiency and grid interactivity. GlobeNewswire

Toronto-based legal-tech startup Alexi raised $15 million in Series A funding led by Drive Capital, with participation from existing investors including Draper Associates. Chris Olsen, Partner at Drive Capital, will join the company’s board of directors. Founded by Mark Doble and Sam Bhasin, Alexi offers a proprietary AI-powered platform that equips litigators with core legal skills. Designed to streamline the legal research process and assist with routine litigation tasks, Alexi saves time and enhances productivity for law firms. Alexi said the funding will immediately support hiring across engineering, product development, brand and design, legal, and business development teams to help the company continue to innovate and scale its technology for law firms. Newswire

Edmonton-based Zero Point Cryogenics secured $2.67 million in non-dilutive funding to support its quantum-enabled cryogenic technology for cooling quantum computers. The funding includes $1.95 million from Prairies Economic Development Canada’s Regional Quantum Initiative, and $723,500 from the City of Edmonton’s Edge Fund. Zero Point Cryogenics said the financial support marks a pivotal milestone in the company’s mission to advance and scale its dilution refrigerator technology. The funding will be used to strengthen the company’s market presence in North America and emerging quantum markets, and to accelerate research and development efforts, expand its workforce, and drive global sales efforts. Zero Point Cryogenics was founded in 2017 by chief technology officer Dr. John P. Davis, PhD, a physics professor at the University of Alberta. Zero Point Cryogenics

Vancouver-based Copperleaf Technologies announced an agreement to be acquired and taken private by Sweden-based Industrial and Financial Systems (IFS), with IFS purchasing all of Copperleaf’s issued and outstanding shares for $12 per share – representing a total equity value of about $1 billion. Copperleaf is a global provider of AI-powered enterprise asset investment planning and management software to large firms. Copperleaf, which will be taken off the Toronto Stock Exchange, will continue to operate in Vancouver. The takeover of Copperleaf marks the latest Canadian tech company to go private after joining the public markets during the 2020 and 2021, including Montreal-based fintech Nuvei, Montreal-based telemedicine firm Dialogue Health and Vancouver health tech company CloudMD. Copperleaf Technologies

Waterloo-based logistics software company Descartes Systems Group, which offers software solutions for use in logistics and supply chains, announced it acquired Windsor, U.K.-based BoxTop Technologies Limited for about £10.25 million (Cdn$18 million) in cash. BoxTop Technologies provides shipment management solutions for small to mid-sized logistics services providers. Descartes said the acquisition will enable the company to expand its geographic footprint to more companies in Europe. Descartes Systems Group

Paris, France-based private equity firm Jolt Capital opened its North American headquarters in Montreal, its first headquarters outside of Europe. The company said the Montreal office’s mission will be to find investors for its Jolt Capital V fund and manage Jolt Capital’s presence in Silicon Valley and Boston. To run the Montreal office, Jolt Capital announced the appointment of Clement Bourgogne, as director of investor relations for Canada. Prior to joining Jolt Capital, Bourgogne served as the chief operating officer at Montreal-based Scale AI, one of five federally funded global innovation clusters. Also relocating to Montreal is Eoghan Hickey who will become Jolt’s managing director Canada, and who has been with Jolt Capital since 2015 and currently manages the deals department. Jolt invests in mid-sized companies that work to solve complex scientific or technical challenges, and have intellectual property and annual revenues between $20 million and $40 million. Jolt Capital


Government gives federal granting councils six weeks to get research community's input on new capstone research funding organization

The Government of Canada has asked the three federal granting councils to jointly undertake engagement with the research community – to be completed by July 2024 – on a proposed new capstone research funding organization to provide better coordination across the federally funded research ecosystem.

“This plan to modernize Canada’s federal research system (announced in Budget 2024) builds on extensive engagement carried out by the Advisory Panel on the Federal Research Support System and is informed by the panel’s observation that more coordination is needed to maximize the impact of federal research support,” said François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and Mark Holland, Minister of Health.

“This is especially important to advance internationally collaborative, multidisciplinary and mission-driven research,” they said in a statement.

“The federal granting councils – the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) – “will continue to exist within the new organization, including CIHR’s linkage with the Health Portfolio, and will continue to do what they do best: supporting excellence in disciplinary investigator-driven research,” Champagne and Holland said.

The three granting councils’ engagement with the research community will help inform the federal government’s ongoing work to create the new capstone research funding organization and structure, the ministers said. Further details on these efforts will be provided in the 2024 Fall Economic Statement.

In a letter to the presidents of the three granting councils, Champagne and Holland said: “It is essential that the full breadth of the research community be engaged as part of the efforts to achieve the Government’s vision for modernization and the creation of the new organization.”

To the extent that it is feasible, they encouraged the granting councils’ consultations to be done collectively, “with the goal of bringing together diverse, cross-disciplinary perspectives from researchers at all stages of their careers.”

As part of this effort, Champagne and Holland asked the three granting council presidents to invite the Canada Foundation for Innovation to join the community in discussing the ways infrastructure can best enable research.

They asked the granting councils to work with Dr. Mona Nemer, Canada’s Chief Science Advisor, in developing their engagement plan. They also requested that officials from Innovation, Science, and Economic Development and Health Canada be invited to observe all engagement activities.

The aim of the engagement with the research community is to:

  • Inform the details and design of the new capstone research funding organization (within the parameters set out by the Budget 2024 announcement and the expected outcomes of modernization), to be announced in the 2024 Fall Economic Statement.
  • Inform the longer-term implementation plan of the new organization to advance key objectives articulated in Budget 2024, including internationally collaborative, interdisciplinary, and mission-driven research.
  • Identify any significant risks to mitigate or avoid related to the implementation approach.

“Following this engagement, we ask that you work together to collectively report back to us on your findings by July 2024,” Champagne and Holland said.

As announced in Budget 2024, the new organization would be mandated to advance:

  • Research involving multiple disciplines: As a single organization with a mandate not defined by research disciplines, the new organization would have the flexibility to design and deliver programs that support research that transcends disciplinary boundaries across the granting councils, whether multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, or transdisciplinary. The granting councils would retain their ability to foster such research within their respective domains. Recognizing their key role in advancing interdisciplinary and integrative health research, it is expected that CIHR’s health research Institutes would continue to exist within CIHR.
  • Mission-driven research: The leadership of the new organization would have the authority and the accountability to leverage the capacity of the research enterprise to respond to missions, as well as to strengthen linkages between research and downstream innovation, supporting more strategic and impactful contributions to the economy and society.
  • International research: The new organization would serve as a key centre for international research funding partnerships, opening up new opportunities for international collaboration, enhancing knowledge mobilization, providing greater insight into global issues, and supporting a more strategic and coherent delivery and impact of Canadian research globally.

The federal government proposes that the new capstone research funding organization be led by a single CEO with a diverse board of directors that would be responsible for driving coordination across the organization and ensuring it is a strategic player within the broader science ecosystem.

There is the potential for some members of the granting councils to be cross-appointed to the board of the new organization to ensure a linkage between disciplinary communities and decision making, the government said.

An executive committee, comprised of the CEO and heads of the granting councils and other key executives, would be created to drive strategic coordination across the whole organization.

The new organization would include a dedicated unit – separate from the three discipline-based granting councils – to support research involving multiple disciplines, as well as international and mission-driven research.

This would include delivery of most tri-council programming, consolidating and building on the expertise and experience developed by the councils in delivering cross-cutting programs, including peer review, the government said. The new dedicated unit would also be mandated to create stronger policy and program linkages to industry and civil society to translate and apply research.  Innovation, Science and Economic Development


 Toronto-Waterloo makes Startup Genome’s global top 20 tech startup ecosystems

Toronto-Waterloo is the only Canadian tech startup ecosystem that made it into the global top 20, according to San Franciso-headquartered Startup Genome’s Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2024.

Toronto-Waterloo is ranked #18 – down from #17 in 2023 as it was overtaken by Chicago.

Vancouver’s tech startup ecosystem is ranked #34 (down from #30 the previous year), followed by Montreal (#39), Calgary (in the #41 to #50 group – moving up from last year’s #51 to #60 range), and Ottawa (#61 to #70 group – advancing from the #71 to #80 range in 2023.

Starup Genome’s annual report is based on extensive research and analysis of data from 4.5 million startups across 300 global ecosystems in over 55 countries. Five “success factors” were measured in each ecosystem: performance, funding, market reach, talent and experience, and knowledge..

The top three tech startup ecosystems globally maintained their same positions from 2020, with Silicon Valley remaining at the top, followed by New York City and London tied for #2. Tel Aviv moved up one rank and is now tied with Los Angeles at #4.

North America remains the globally leading region for tech startup ecosystems, having 18 in the global top 40.

Within just the North American startup ecosystems, Toronto-Waterloo is ranked #8, followed by Vancouver (#15), Montreal (#18), and Calgary (in the #26 to #30 group).

Cleantech has emerged as the only growing startup sector besides the Generative AI sector, according to the report.

Highlights of Canadian tech startup ecosystems profiled in the report include:

  • Montreal’s ecosystem value is $39 billion. Montreal benefits from the Quebec government’s 2022-2027 strategy to support research and investment in innovation with more than $7.5 billion of Quebec government investment over the next five years.
  • Alberta attracted nearly $1.17 billion in venture capital and private equity investment over 111 deals in 2023.
  • The $100-million Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund, administered by Calgary Economic Development, has to date committed $86.2 million to 28 projects across different sectors.
  • The report highlighted three of Calgary’s strengths: a relatively low cost of living, access to global talent, and a high quality of life.
  • In 2023, Edmonton’s tech sector soared with a 324-per-cent surge in venture capital, reaching $136.8 million.
  • Calgary’s startup ecosystem value is $8.1 billion. In comparison, Edmonton’s startup ecosystem value is $1.5 billion.

            To give the Canadian tech startup ecosystems’ numbers some perspective, the value of Silicon Valley’s ecosystem is $2.5 trillion and its ecosystem has 271 unicorns (companies valued at more than $1 billion). Startup Genome


Quebec gets an A among provinces for building a more sustainable economy, while Alberta and Saskatchewan receive D-grades

Quebec achieved an A grade among provinces for its efforts to build a more sustainable economy while Alberta and Saskatchewan both got a D, in a report by Clean Energy Canada.

Since 2016, 80 per cent of climate-related spending in Canada has been at the federal level, despite the fact that the federal government holds the purse strings on only about 20 per cent of all public spending, according to the report, “Making the Grade.”

Clean Energy Canada assessed the provinces in four areas: clean energy, clean buildings, clean transportation, and clean industry. Each of these categories encompasses a spectrum of actions, from macro-level policies like electricity planning to household-level measures like rebates for EVs and heat pumps that enable residents to save money as well as reduce emissions.

Quebec, with one of the cleanest electricity grids in Canada thanks to hydro power, got an A mainly due to its support of electrical vehicles and heat pumps and a growing EV battery supply chain. The province received straight As in all categories assessed, except for a B in buildings, in part due to its lack of action on low-carbon construction.

In 2022, Propulsion Québec – a hub for electric and smart transportation – with the support of the Government of Quebec, published Ambition EST 2030, an industrial policy aimed at building the electric and smart transportation industry. This strategy is built around eight major strategic themes, including talent, innovation, experimentation and batteries.

 The strategy was developed in collaboration with industry, bringing together an all-of-government approach to achieve the ambitious target of making Quebec a world leader in electric and smart transportation by 2030.

“The province sets a strong example for other provinces hoping to boost promising economic value chains,” the report says.

Ontario received good marks for its industrial strategy after making big moves to expand its EV supply chain, but ultimately received a C grade due to weaker efforts around clean transportation and buildings.

British Columbia scored well on clean buildings and transportation – it is a North American leader in EV adoption and offers rebates and incentives for EV fleets and charging infrastructure. However, poor electricity planning earned the province a B overall.

Manitoba’s new EV rebate improved its clean transportation score, helping it to become the only Prairie province to receive a C grade.

Prince Edward Island, with an “exceptional heat pump program,” is the leader in Atlantic Canada, being one of just two provinces nationwide to get a B grade.

The P.E.I. government has committed to setting up three tax-free cleantech development zones in the province, the report notes. 

This includes a $25-million, 60-acre tax-free zone and Clean Tech Park in Georgetown which will be a hub for business and education, and will include a Clean Tech Learning and Innovation Centre as well as a 25-hectare business park. The learning centre will house the Cleantech Academy, offering specific training including a certificate and master’s degree in Cleantech Leadership.

New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador each received a C.

Clean Energy Canada didn’t grate the Northern territories, given the unique challenges faced by remote and Northern communities.

However, the report highlighted the Yukon’s rebates on EVs and zero-emissions vehicles, steps to support EV charging, a rebate on heat pumps, rebates on new energy-efficient buildings, and a carbon rebate program where businesses receive carbon credits for investing in clean technologies.

Alberta and Saskatchewan’s Ds are because the two provinces “are failing to live up to their potential in a significant way,” according to the report. “Alberta and Saskatchewan could have the fastest growing clean energy sectors in the country in terms of jobs, with gains in clean energy far outpacing fossil fuel losses.”

A recent Clean Energy Canada report found that jobs in Alberta’s clean energy sector would grow 10 per cent per year out to a net-zero 2050, the fastest of any province or territory and significantly more than the job decline expected in fossil fuels.

But despite being the wind and solar capital of Canada, Alberta received the lowest possible score for its clean energy efforts after the United Conservative Party government imposed a temporary moratorium and then permanent restrictions on renewable energy development.

While Alberta has previously supported energy efficiency and other measures to cut carbon from buildings, there are currently no provincial efforts to help Albertans waste less energy and money, the report says. The province similarly has no measures to support passenger EV adoption and offers limited help for commercial fleets.

Alberta has the world’s largest carbon capture, storage and utilization system with carbon dioxide gathering and transportation infrastructure – the Carbon Trunk Line, which can sequester up to 14.6 million tonnes of CO2 per year – although currently only 11 per cent of its capacity is utilized.

The captured carbon is used to produce “blue” hydrogen for industrial uses and for enhanced oil recovery.

“Unfortunately, Alberta does not distinguish between permanent long-term storage and enhanced oil recovery, meaning that in practice, much of this investment [in carbon capture and storage] is not supporting a sustainable net-zero aligned economy,” the report says. “Going forward, Alberta could leverage its expertise to focus on permanent carbon capture and carbon removal.”

Saskatchewan received poor scores on transportation and industrial strategy, with the province failing to put its abundant renewable power potential to use. There is also no provincial support for residents in the province to go electric, with no rebates for EVs or heat pumps.       

            The report recommends all provinces should take these key actions across four pillars:

  • Clean buildings: Transform existing and new housing stock by moving it off fossil fuels, and improve energy efficiency to reduce waste and save residents money. Canada needs to catch up with international jurisdictions that are far ahead of our thinking – and whose residents are saving money as a result.

  • Clean energy: Plan and build clean electricity to reduce energy bills and support clean industries through best practices including energy strategies, pathway assessments, and energy sector reforms.

  • Clean industry:  Modernize industrial strategies by identifying competitive advantages and setting targets collaboratively with industry, labour, and others. This should be accompanied by strategies to prepare the workforce for energy transition.

  • Clean transportation: Free Canadians from dependence on volatile gas prices and unlock fuel and maintenance cost savings by supporting transit and helping Canadian drivers and businesses switch to zero-emission vehicles through purchase incentives, charging infrastructure support, and proactive planning. Clean Energy Canada


Federal government’s new Nature Strategy and proposed legislation is “unconstitutional,” says Alberta’s environment minister

The Government of Canada announced the release of Canada’s 2030 Nature Strategy.

Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) also introduced in Parliament an Act respecting transparency and accountability in relation to certain commitments Canada has made under the Convention on Biological Diversity (the Nature Accountability Bill).

The 2030 Nature Strategy sets out how Canada will implement the ambitious nature protection goals under the Kunming-Montréal Global Biodiversity Framework agreed upon at the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity in Montréal, in December 2022.

This strategy defines clear areas of action and identifies what more is needed to build on the range of existing initiatives underway across Canada, Ottawa said.

The strategy follows extensive engagement with provinces and territories, Indigenous partners, businesses, citizen groups and more in recognition that nature conservation requires a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to succeed, the government said.

The Nature Accountability Bill establishes a requirement for the federal to develop a national nature strategy, like Canada’s 2030 Nature Strategy, and report on its implementation, ensuring accountability and transparency which will help drive the country collectively to reverse nature loss.

However, the day after the Liberal government’s bill was introduced, Rebecca Schulz, Alberta’s Minister of Environment and Protected Areas, branded it as “unconstitutional.”

“The federal Liberal government will not decide what happens with Alberta’s land or resources,” she said in a statement. “Any plan for our province must reflect the social, economic and environmental values of Albertans, not Ottawa; especially when Ottawa’s ultimate goal is to sterilize our land and resources, which hinders economic opportunity and resource development projects before they can even be proposed.”

While the federal government has a role to play in helping with the work to conserve lands, air, water and wildlife for the future, they do not run Alberta, Schulz said.

“This report is yet another example of Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault blatantly ignoring the Canadian constitution and pretending to engage with provinces to carry out his radical, ideological agenda.”

Federal lands account for only six per cent of Canada’s landmass, while 76 per cent are provincial and territorial, Schulz noted.

“Despite this, the federal government is setting targets and making grand plans that they cannot execute, as it is once again outside their area of jurisdiction,” she said. The government’s nature strategy overlooks provincial perspectives and raises further concerns about federal intrusion into provincial jurisdiction, she added.

“Ottawa needs to stay in its own lane,” Schulz said. “Albertans – including communities, Indigenous people, farmers, ranchers, hunters, resource workers and stewards of our beautiful province – will decide how to best manage provincial lands.”

Alberta’s United Conservative Party government doesn’t hide its animosity toward Guilbeault. Premier Danielle Smith, in a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in March, urged him to fire Guilbeault. Govt. of Canada


Ottawa announces “enhancements” to Greening Government Strategy to lower federal carbon footprint

The Government of Canada announced “enhancements” to the Greening Government Strategy (GGS) to help lower the carbon footprint of government operations and support Canada’s ongoing transition to a low-carbon economy.

The government said it is committed to reaching net-zero operations that are resilient, green, and consistent with global efforts like the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. 

These efforts are already delivering results, with a nearly 40-per-cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for government’s real property and conventional fleet operations,  achieved through more efficient buildings and fleets, the purchase of electric vehicles and clean electricity, Ottawa said.

The GGS is a blueprint for coordinating and advancing emissions reduction, resiliency and greening government initiatives of its own operations. The GGS has been updated to enhance specific targets and better capture the federal GHG footprint, including by:

  • broadening the scope of the strategy to include Crown corporations
  • strengthening commitments for greening the government’s real property, fleet and procurement
  • establishing new interim targets for the National Safety and Security Fleet
  • accelerating climate resilience commitments to address the increasing impacts of climate change on critical federal assets, operations and activities by 2035.

Actions under key focus areas include:

Real property:

  • Real property portfolio plans will now be reviewed every five years, and updated if necessary, towards net-zero emissions and climate resilience.
  • Critical assets are assessed for climate risk as soon as possible (and no later than 2030), and measures to reduce these risks are implemented no later than 2035.
  • All new builds will require the incorporation of adaptation measures to reduce significant risks identified in their climate change risk assessments.
  • All new buildings will have net-zero emissions unless a GHG life cycle cost analysis indicates net-zero-emissions-ready construction (these buildings could operate as net-zero-emissions buildings in the future).
  • Major building retrofits will require the submission of a life-cycle cost analysis, including using a shadow price of carbon of $300 per tonne.
  • All new buildings and major retrofits incorporating parking facilities for federal fleet vehicles must include provisions for electric vehicle readiness.
  • The government will enhance climate resilience of its land holdings through nature-based solutions and natural infrastructure that, for example, reduce storm surge, improve flood water management, recharge groundwater and reduce heat islands, and do not negatively impact surrounding areas.

Mobility and fleets:

  • Starting in 2025, 100 per cent of new light-duty fleet vehicle purchases will be zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) where suitable options are available; until then, at least 75 per cent must be ZEVs or hybrids.
    • The government’s light-duty fleet will be comprised of 100 per cent ZEVs by 2030.

  • By 2030, at least 40 per cent of new commercial medium- and heavy-duty vehicle purchases will be ZEVs.
  • The GHG emissions associated with National Safety and Security Fleet (NSSF) operations will continue to be tracked and disclosed, and will meet the following interim targets on the path to net-zero emissions by 2050:   
    • By 2030, at least 20 per cent of the total volume of annual domestic fuel purchases for NSSF air and marine operations will be low-carbon fuels.
    • By 2030, the RCMP’s light-duty NSSF will comprise 50 per cent ZEVs, increasing to 100 per cent ZEVs by 2035.
    • By 2040, the average net-emission intensity of all NSSF operations will be reduced by at least 50 per cent on the path to net-zero emissions by 2050, through measures such as low-carbon fuels, low- and zero-emission platforms, and permanent carbon dioxide removal.
    • These measures will allow NSSF to decarbonize operations without impacting operational levels, requirements or mission parameters.

Procurement of goods and services:

Federal departments will green their procurement and materiel management by:

  • identifying and starting the implementation of criteria by 2026 for departmental categories of procurement with the highest environmental impact (with a focus on carbon).
  • requiring that suppliers provide GHG life-cycle assessment reports for high-value procurements, starting in 2025.
  • incentivizing major suppliers to adopt a science-based emissions reduction target and disclose GHG emissions for procurements greater than $25 million.
  • including criteria that address climate resilience in high-value procurements and critical services or activities by 2027.
  • engaging with key internal and external stakeholders, including other green buyers, both domestically through Buyers for Climate Action, and internationally through the Greening Government Initiative.

Climate-resilient services and activities:

Federal departments will enhance the climate resilience of their critical operations and activities by 2035 and are required to conduct climate risk assessments of their services and activities. These assessments will now need to be reviewed every five years and updated if necessary. Risk assessments are also required to:

  • align or be integrated with existing departmental risk assessment or business continuity management activities.
  • include an implementation plan to reduce identified risks.
  • support the Minister of Finance’s reporting requirements in accordance with section 23 of the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act.

“By enhancing the Greening Government Strategy, we are making our government operations cleaner and leading by example to drive change across all sectors of activity in Canada, stimulate activity in the clean tech sector, and contribute to Canada’s domestic and international commitments,” Anita Anand, president of the Treasury Board, said in a statement.

“We have set data-driven targets to reduce emissions and protect our environment, and our actions demonstrate our determination to meet them,” she said. Govt. of Canada


AI’s transformation of scientific research offers huge opportunities but also challenges: The Royal Society

The increased investment, interest and adoption of artificial intelligence within academic and industry-led research has led to a “deep learning revolution” that’s transforming the landscape of scientific discovery, according to a report by The Royal Society based in London, U.K.

Enabled by the advent of big data (for instance, large and heterogenous forms of data gathered from telescopes, satellites and other advanced sensors), AI-based techniques are helping to identify new patterns and relationships in large datasets which would otherwise be too difficult to recognize, the report says.

“This offers substantial potential for scientific research and is encouraging scientists to adopt more complex techniques that outperform existing methods in their fields,” says the report, “Science in the age of AI: How artificial intelligence is changing the nature and method of scientific research.”

 The capability of AI tools to identify patterns from existing content, and generate predictions of new content, also allows scientists to run more accurate simulations and create synthetic data.

These simulations, which draw data from lots of different sources (potentially in real time), can help decision-makers assess more accurately the efficacy of potential interventions and address pressing societal or environmental challenges.

Alongside these opportunities, there are various challenges arising from the increased adoption of AI, the report notes. These challenges include:

  • reproducibility (in which other researchers cannot replicate experiments conducted using AI tools).
  • interdisciplinarity (where limited collaboration between AI and non-AI disciplines can lead to a less rigorous uptake of AI across domains).
  • environmental costs (due to high energy consumption being required to operate large compute infrastructure).

There are also growing barriers to the effective adoption of open science principles due to the black-box nature of AI systems and the limited transparency of commercial models that power AI-based research, according to the report.

Also, the changing incentives across the scientific ecosystem may be increasing pressure on researchers to incorporate advanced AI techniques at the neglect of more conventional methodologies, or to be “good at AI” rather than “good at science.”

Key findings of the report include:

  • Beyond landmark cases like AlphaFold [a breakthrough AI system that accurately predicts the 3D models of protein structures], AI applications can be found across all STEM fields, with a concentration in fields such as medicine, materials science, robotics, agriculture, genetics, and computer science. The most prominent AI techniques across STEM fields include artificial neural networks, deep learning, natural language processing and image recognition.
  • High-quality data is foundational for AI applications, but researchers face barriers related to the volume, heterogeneity, sensitivity and bias of available data. The large volume of some scientific data (e.g. collected from telescopes and satellites) can total petabytes, making objectives such as data sharing and interoperability difficult to achieve. The heterogeneity of data collected from sensor data also presents difficulties for human annotation and standardization, while the training of AI models on biased inputs can likely lead to biased outputs. Given these challenges, data curators and information managers are essential to maintain quality and address risks linked to artificial data generation, such as data fabrication, poisoning or contamination.
  • Industry and academic institutions are advancing AI innovation for scientific research. The past decade has seen a surge in patent applications related to AI for science, with China, the U.S., Japan, and South Korea dominating the number of patents filed in these territories. A review commissioned for the report suggests the valuation of the global AI market (as of 2022) is approximately £106.99 billion (about Cdn$186 billion).
  • China contributes approximately 62 per cent of the AI patent landscape. Within Europe, the U.K. has the second-largest share of AI patents related to life sciences after Germany, with academic institutions such as the University of Oxford, Imperial College, and Cambridge University featuring prominently among the top patent filers in the U.K. Companies such as Alphabet, Siemens, IBM, and Samsung appear to exhibit considerable influence across scientific and engineering fields.
  • The black-box, and potentially proprietary, nature of AI tools is limiting the reproducibility of AI-based research. Barriers such as insufficient documentation, limited access to essential infrastructures (e.g. code, data, and computing power) and a lack of understanding of how AI tools reach their conclusions make it difficult for independent researchers to scrutinize, verify and replicate experiments. The significant potential to advance discoveries using complex deep learning models may also encourage scientists or funders to prioritize AI use over rigour. The adoption of open science principles and practices could help address these challenges and enhance scientific integrity.
  • Interdisciplinary collaboration is essential to bridge skill gaps and optimize the benefits of AI in scientific research. By sharing knowledge and skills from each other’s fields, collaboration between AI and domain subject experts (including researchers from the arts, humanities, and social sciences) can help produce more effective and accurate AI models. This is being prevented, however, by siloed research environments and an incentive structure that does not reward interdisciplinary collaboration in terms of contribution towards career progression.
  • Generative AI tools can assist the advancement of scientific research. They hold promise for expediting routine scientific tasks, such as processing unstructured data, solving complex coding challenges, or supporting the multilingual translation of academic articles. In addition, there may be a place for text-generation models to be used for academic and non-academic written tasks, with potential implications for scholarly communications and research assessment. In response, funders and academic institutions are setting norms to prevent non-desirable uses.

The report makes four recommendations:

  • Governments, researcher funders and AI developers should improve access to essential AI infrastructures. Compute power and data infrastructures for AI research are not equally accessible or distributed across research communities. Scientists from diverse disciplines require access to infrastructure to adopt more complex AI techniques, process higher volume and types of data, and ensure quality in AI-based research.
  • Funders and AI developers should prioritize accessibility and usability of AI tools developed for scientific research. Taking steps to improve the usability of AI-based tools (e.g. software applications, libraries, APIs, or general AI systems) should involve a combination of mechanisms that make AI understandable for non-AI experts and build their capacity to use AI responsibly.
  • Research funders and scientific communities should ensure that AI-based research meets open science principles and practices to facilitate AI’s benefits in science. A growing body of irreproducible AI and machine learning (ML)-based studies are raising concerns regarding the soundness of AI-based discoveries. However, scientists are facing challenges to improve the reproducibility of their AI-based work. These include: insufficient documentation released around methods, code, data, or computational environments; limited access to computing to validate complex ML models; and limited rewards for the implementation of open science practices. “This poses risks not only to science, but also to society, if the deployment of unreliable or untrustworthy AI-based outputs leads to harmful outcomes.”
  • Scientific communities should build the capacity to oversee AI systems used in science and ensure their ethical use for the public good. As AI is further integrated into science, AI assurance mechanisms are needed to maintain public trust in AI and ensure responsible scientific advancement that benefits humanity. Collaboration between AI experts, domain experts and researchers from humanities and science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics (STEAM) disciplines can improve scientists’ ability to oversee AI systems and anticipate harms. The Royal Society

THE GRAPEVINE – News about people, institutions and communities

Dr. Ann Gregory, PhD, an assistant professor in biological sciences at the University of Calgary (UCalgary) was named as one of 10 emerging research leaders by CIFAR. Gregory joined the 2024-226 cohort of CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars. She will receive two years of funding to tackle “important and pressing questions facing science and humanity.” Gregory, who studies the human virome (the collection of viruses in human bodies), will join the CIFAR MacMillan Multiscale Human team. She aims to create a map of where viruses are in the body, where they go and what cells they are interacting with, to help develop and guide use of therapeutics. UCalgary

University of Ottawa (uOttawa) researcher Catherine Mavriplis has won the university's Office of Vice-present of Research and Innovation EDI in Research Award for transforming the STEM landscape in Canada. Her dual-research career encompasses studying aerospace engineering as well as the systematic gaps that impede gender diversity in STEM and developing ways to address these gaps. From 2011 to 2020, she was the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s (NSERC) Chair for Women in Science and Engineering. During this time, female enrolment in software engineering doubled in Canada, and the percentage of women professors in engineering rose from 14 per cent to 17 per cent. Also during her tenure, Mavriplis launched a program that trained a generation of girls in coding, who are now entering post-secondary education and the workforce. She also developed an annual research experience, offered through STEM programs across Ontario, that provides Indigenous Grade 11 students with the opportunity to spend a week in a university STEM laboratory. Within universities, Mavriplis co-developed FORWARD to Professorship, a highly successful workshop supporting women pursuing tenure-track positions. Mavriplis’ research has also informed policy and federally led EDI (equity, diversity, inclusion) initiatives, including the Tri-Council’s EDI Action Plan for 2018-2025, the EDI Action Plan for the Canada Research Chairs program, and NSERC’s evaluation processes regarding EDI. uOttawa

David Lie, known for his seminal work that led to modern trusted execution processor architectures, was named the new director of the University of Toronto’s (U of T) Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society (SRI), which aims to explore and address the ethical and societal implications of AI and other emerging technologies. Lie, who holds cross-appointments in U of T’s department of computer science and the Faculty of Law, succeeds inaugural director and chair Gillian Hadfield. Lie’s four-year appointment, effective July 1, coincides with two renowned experts in AI safety – Roger Grosse and David Duvenaud – being named Schwartz Reisman Chairs in Technology and Society for five-year terms. Both are associate professors of computer science in the Faculty of Arts & Science, faculty affiliates at SRI, founding members of the Vector Institute and Canada CIFAR AI chairs. U of T

Dr. David Murakami Wood, PhD, was awarded a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Critical Surveillance and Security Studies at the University of Ottawa (uOttawa). He will lead a research team that explores how smart-city technologies and state-corporate ideologies intertwine. The team’s project, called “Platform Cities in an Age of Planetary Surveillance,” will include an examination of the role of surveillance in the Anthropocene, an environment in which planetary urbanism, AI and global crises shape our world. The team will also explore the future of security, the role of national security agencies in planetary politics, and the impact of the climate crisis on surveillance. Wood is a full professor in the Department of Criminology, Faculty of Social Sciences, and a faculty member of the Centre for Law, Technology and Society. He is an interdisciplinary specialist in surveillance, security and technology from a global urban perspective, working mainly in Canada, Japan, the U.K. and Brazil. uOttawa

Jérôme Nycz announced his retirement from BDC Capital, after leading Canada’s largest and most active venture capital investor for more than a decade. Nycz made the announcement in a brief statement to the BDC Capital team during a conference call, sources told BetaKit. A BDC spokesperson confirmed Nycz’s departure, and noted he will remain in his role until July 19. Nycz first joined the Business Development Bank of Canada in 2002 as director of corporate planning. He assumed the executive vice president role at BDC Capital in 2013, serving just under 12 years. BetaKit

The Business Development Bank of Canada appointed Paula Cruickshank to serve as senior vice-president of fund investments at BDC Capital. Cruickshank succeeds Alison Nankivell, who left her role as senior vice-president of fund investments and global scaling at the Crown corporation in March to head up MaRS Discovery District as CEO. Cruickshank will officially transition to the new position on July 1. According to a BDC spokesperson, Jérôme Nycz, executive vice president of BDC Capital, is acting in this role in the interim. Cruickshank has worked for BDC for over 15 years and has nearly three decades of banking experience. Her present role at the organization is senior vice-president for Ontario, a role she has held since 2020. BDC Capital is Canada’s most active limited partner, with investments in more than 160 venture funds and over $1 billion in commitments. BetaKit

Canadian Klaus Pflugbeil, 58, a German national and resident of the People’s Republic of China, pleaded guilty to conspiring to sell technology for precision pumps and battery assembly lines developed by Ontario-based Hibar Systems, owned by Tesla, where Pflugbeil used to work. Pflugbeil and his co-defendant, Yilong Shao, who remains at large, are owners of a China-based business named Hife Systems that sold technology used to make batteries, including batteries used in electric vehicles. Pflugbeil stole trade secrets and later used them to build Hife Systems, openly advertising “Hibar-style” equipment and identical parts. The U.S. Justice Department said it had intercepted communications showing Pflugbeil and Shao concealing the fact that Hife’s goods weren’t just similar, but made with stolen plans. Pflugbeil faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment when he is sentenced. He was arrested in March after undercover agents lured him to the U.S. from his home in China. U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York

The University of Calgary (UCalgary) and University of Windsor launched an online repository of 64 original illustrations and 23 videos that represent the spectrum of human diversity. The illustrations and videos were created by student artists from across Canada – some of them trained medical illustrators and digital content creators. The initiative is part of the Anatomy Video and Imagery Diversity (AVID) project, which aims to address the lack of diversity represented in anatomy teaching materials. These visuals show complex networks of arteries in the face and body and detailed drawings of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems with variations in age, skin tone, ethnicity and body size. The artwork is now a live repository housed within UCalgary’s library digital collections and available for download at no cost. Historically, anatomy textbooks typically show images that depict males who are young, fit and white. The purpose of AVID is for students and the public to see themselves in the images used to teach about their bodies, said project’s leaders, UCalgary professor Heather Jamniczky and UWindsor professor Dave Andrews. UCalgary

McMaster University undergraduate student Mann Parikh, founder of NerView Surgical, secured second place in a national student entrepreneur competition for his technology that prevents nerve injuries during surgery. Parikh was among more than 100 student entrepreneurs at the 2024 Enactus Canada National Student Entrepreneur Competition. He was awarded $4,000 by Enactus Canada, a non-profit organization that supports post-secondary students through experiential education and entrepreneurial programming. Parikh, an undergraduate student in McMaster’s Biomedical Discovery and Commercialization program, developed the idea for his startup during a health ventures course where students learn to define problems and design solutions. Parikh is developing a groundbreaking tool to help surgeons more accurately identify nerves when they are operating on patients. Surgeons sometimes inadvertently damage nerves that are extremely small, exist in intricate networks and are unique to each patient. NerView uses computer vision, artificial intelligence and optical imaging to help doctors avoid nerve injuries that can result in pain and disability for the patient. “Faster procedures, done more accurately, all while keeping the patients in mind – so no more dye injections or electrodes to identify nerves, no post-operative care because of an injury. It’s really about helping patients,” Parikh said. NerView Surgical was selected out of 1,400 applicants to pitch at the MedTech Innovator 2024 Road Tour in Washington, D.C., and was in the top seven out of 300 applicants and 40 international teams at a TCU Values and Ventures Pitch Competition in Fort Worth, Texas. The company also garnered first place at the University of Waterloo’s recent BioTEC 2023 Pitch Competition and was a finalist in the 2024 Synapse Life Science Competition. McMaster University

A research team at the University of Waterloo's (UWaterloo) Laboratory for Emerging Energy Research (LEER) is looking into processing lunar regolith – the Moon's top layer of soil and dust – into usable materials for life support, energy generation and construction. This includes investigating the use of material from defunct satellites as a fuel source when mixed with lunar regolith. Lunar regolith contains a lot of metallic dust embedded with oxygen. "Because it already contains oxygen, we can utilize it, without the need for atmospheric oxygen, to produce thermal energy," PhD candidate Connor MacRobbie said. "This is called a thermite reaction, which is useful in space because there is no readily available oxygen." The LEER team conducted experiments using simulated “lunar” regolith synthesized and supplied by NASA. Tests were performed at different fuel and oxidizer compositions and with varying particle sizes to control the energy release rate of a space-based thermite for either heating or manufacturing. "The results demonstrate the viability of the Moon's topsoil to power lunar development, enabling humans to explore and inhabit the Moon's surface," said Dr. John Wen, LEER’s director. Using the thermite reaction to repurpose salvaged space debris also provides materials for maintaining and developing solar satellite systems in space, ensuring power for further space exploration. The team’s recent research papers, both published by the International Astronautical Federation, are available here and here. UWaterloo


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