The Short Report - June 30, 2021: Ontario invests $70M in R&D, Ottawa supports optics and photonics research, a Nova Scotia centre of forestry innovation, and more

Cindy Graham
June 30, 2021


The Government of Ontario is launching a surgical innovation fund to enable Ontario's hospitals to perform more surgeries and procedures. The $30-million fund is part of the government’s $300 million investment announced in the 2021 Budget to help the hospital sector recover, expand access to care and reduce the health service backlog caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. – Government of Ontario


The Government of Ontario is investing more than $70 million through the Ontario Research Fund and Early Researcher Awards programs to support 176 research projects at post-secondary institutions, research institutes and research hospitals across the province. Projects include a University of Toronto program to improve autonomous driving car technology in winter weather ($3.3 million), a Carleton University project to improve land-use management and conservation in Ontario ($100,000) and a University Health Network initiative to better understand how heart disease is affected by diabetes (approximately $250,000). – Government of Ontario

The Government of Canada is contributing more than $57 million to support optics and photonics-based research. Quebec's INO research centre will receive $50 million (non-repayable) over the next five years to implement a Programme d’innovations technologiques (PIT) to foster innovation among small and medium businesses and $5 million to acquire strategic equipment. A $2.25 million contribution has also been granted for a related project. Funds have been granted under Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions's Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program. – GoC 

The Government of Canada is investing $20 million in aluminum manufacturer ELYSIS Limited Partnership to support the R&D and commercialization of carbon-free smelting technology. This investment from the Strategic Innovation Fund supports a $644-million project from ELYSIS and builds on the federal government's $60-million contribution announced in 2018. – GoC

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster has launched a nationwide call for proposals under its new Ocean Leaders Impact Program. The program is designed for projects that can be completed in 12-18 months and focuses on developing mentorship opportunities and building the talent pool for Canada’s ocean economy. The application process closes on July 28, 2021. – OSC 

The Government of Nova Scotia is investing more than $6 million over the next four years through its Forestry Innovation Transition Trust to establish a centre of forestry innovation at the Nova Scotia Community College's Truro campus. The trust has so far funded seven projects totalling almost $10.5 million and is one of the responses to the Lahey review of forestry practices in Nova Scotia. – Government of Nova Scotia

Western University is investing $6 million in equity, diversion and inclusion initiatives (EDI) in response to recommendations by its Anti-Racism Working Group. Initial funding of $4 million will support the recruitment of Black and Indigenous faculty members this fall, with a one-time allocation of $1 million to support EDI curriculum development and $1 million to support indigenizing the university curriculum. – Western 

Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions is awarding a $5-million non-refundable contribution to microelectronics R&D and commercialization centre MiQro Innovation Collaborative Center (C2MI) in Bromont, QC to upgrade capacity and infrastructure and accelerate development of products. – GoC

The Government of Ontario has appointed a task force on women and the economy to address the economic barriers women face in rebuilding the post-Covid economy. Dr. Karin Schnarr is the chair of the task force which will focus on three areas related to women's participation in economic growth: entering and re-entering the work force, supporting entrepreneurship and removing barriers in skilled trades and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. – Government of Ontario

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council has awarded 11 McMaster engineering researchers through its Discovery research program, and three other researchers have been awarded funding through the Research Tools and Instruments grants program (RTI) and Joint Canada-Germany Projects in Hydrogen Technologies program. The funding is part of NSERC's $310-million investment in science and engineering research announced in June. – McMaster

Protein Industries Canada (PIC) is partnering with social enterprise organization Indigenous Works on a $500,000 project to develop a strategy to improve diversity and inclusion of Indigenous groups in Canada's agriculture and agri-food sector. The University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina are providing research support. Meanwhile, PIC will provide half the funding and fertilizer company Nutrien (Saskatoon), Farm Credit Canada (Regina) and other companies and funding programs will provide the remaining half. – PIC

The governments of Canada and Saskatchewan have awarded $2.5 million through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership and Saskatchewan's Strategic Research Initiative Program to University of Saskatchewan researcher Dr. Yongfeng Ai to develop applications for pulse starches and streamline the pulse conversion process to compostable, biodegradable high-value food, bioplastic and biomedical products. – USask

The Government of Canada has established an independent regulator of patent and trademark agents as part of its intellectual property strategy launched in 2018. The College of Patent Agents and Trademark Agents maintains a licensing system and an agent code of conduct and will undertake investigations and enforcement as necessary. The college came into force on June 28. – GoC

RELATED: Largest-ever federal investments in intellectual property a "significant step" toward improving Canada's global competitiveness, IP experts and innovation groups say

Meanwhile, the Government of Canada has opened the 2021 Indigenous Intellectual Property Program grants application process for Indigenous peoples, community organizations and Indigenous businesses, to build intellectual property (IP) awareness and capacity. The grants will support travel and projects related to IP and the protection of Indigenous knowledge and Indigenous cultural expressions. Applications close on September 8. – GoC 

The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) and the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) are asking provincial governments to suspend plans to introduce performance-based funding for universities following their June 16th panel discussion on the impacts of performance-based funding models in post-secondary education. – CAUT

RELATEDAlberta joins Ontario to implement performance-based funding for higher education and research

RELATED: Performance-based funding for universities is an unsound policy that sounds good.

Three Canadian companies have made the World Economic Forum's 2021 technology pioneer's list. Carbon-neutral technology innovator Ionomr Innovations (Vancouver); Xanadu Quantum Technologies (Toronto) and workforce management and reskilling software provider Skyhive (Vancouver) round out the 100 companies on the list. – WEF


Toronto-based biotechnology startup Adela raised $60 million USD in series A financing for its cancer-detecting blood test which was originally developed by Adela's chief science officer, Dr. Daniel De Carvalho, at University Health Network’s Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in collaboration with investigators at Sinai Health System. The funding will advance the technology for commercialization, early detection and disease monitoring. The round was led by F-Prime Capital (Cambridge, Mass) and joined by OrbiMed (New York), Deerfield Management (New York), Decheng Capital (San Francisco), and RA Capital Management (Boston). – Adela

Homecare software startup AlayaCare (Montreal) announced a $225-million series D funding round that will allow it to scale and invest in innovation. The round was led by Generation Investment Management (London, UK) with participation from Klass Capital (Toronto) and incumbent investors Inovia Capital (Montreal), CDPQ (Quebec City) and Investissement Québec (Montreal).  – AlayaCare


The Standards Council of Canada has published a roadmap to accelerate data governance standardization strategies. The roadmap describes the current and desired Canadian standardization landscape and makes 35 recommendations to address gaps and explore areas where standards and conformity assessment are needed. – GoC SCC


Dr. Christine Allen has been appointed scientific director and CEO of the NanoMedicines Innovation Network (NMIN), effective July 1. Allen is a principal investigator with NMIN and has been involved since its planning phase. She is an internationally recognized nanomedicine researcher and teaches in the school of pharmacy at the University of Toronto. – NMIN

Randy Lennox has been appointed executive chair of technology hub Elevate (Toronto), effective September 1. Razor Suleman, Elevate’ s co-founder and outgoing CEO, has accepted a new role as the president of Pacaso International. Suleman will keep his position as board co-chair at Elevate. – Elevate

Dr. Sheila Brown is the namesake for Mount Saint Vincent University's new human health research centre, which will be called the Sheila A. Brown Centre for Applied Research. Brown was president of MSVU from 1996 to 2006. – MSVU


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