The Short Report, June 5, 2019 – McMaster endowment, AI, timber research, green jet fuel

Debbie Lawes
June 5, 2019

BDC Capital has launched the $250-million Industrial Innovation Venture Fund to invest in early to late stage tech firms and entrepreneurs accelerating the transformation of core Canadian industries including ag-tech, advanced manufacturing, oil and gas and mining tech. Venture capital veteran Joe Regan joins as the fund’s managing partner. “Industrial sectors tend to be slow to digitalize, yet these sectors often represent areas where Canada has a global competitive edge,” said Jérôme Nycz, executive VP, BDC Capital. “The Fund’s goal is to meet the urgent demands of the next generation of forward-thinking business leaders who want to participate in the industries that drive the Canadian economy.” - BDC

Hamilton philanthropists Charles and Margaret Juravinski are donating more than $100 million to support researchers across Hamilton Health Sciences, McMaster University and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. The endowment will create the Juravinski Research Centre, which will provide about $5 million annually in perpetuity to supporting research in areas such as cancer, mental health, lung and respiratory care, and diseases of aging. - McMaster

The Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) of the Université de Montréal has been awarded a 10-million dollar grant from the government of Quebec’s Fonds d'accélération des collaborations en santé to develop new cancer-fighting drugs in collaboration with biopharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb and seven academic research centres from Quebec and abroad. The program includes developing drugs to reduce the side effects of treatments, using the immune system to vanquish cancer, and advancing precision therapy to improve treatments. - IRIC

IRICoR and the Oncopole are investing $2.4 million over two years to support four flagship cancer drug discovery projects in Canada. The funding will enable the selected projects to benefit from infrastructures, as well as from targeted and complementary expertise in the field of drug discovery. - Newswire

George Brown College received $4.1 million from Natural Resources Canada’s Green Construction through Wood Program (GCWood) to begin construction in 2021 on The Arbour - an advanced research hub focused on mass-timber construction. The Arbour will also be Ontario’s first mass-timber, low-carbon institutional building. George Brown professor Christopher Timusk will serve as the inaugural Mass Timber Research Chair. - GBC

Carpooling app Netlift and Prompt-InnovR are investing $3 million in a sustainable mobility research project, in collaboration with the Institute for Data Valorization (IVADO), Polytechnique Montréal and Université de Montréal. The project will use artificial intelligence (AI), optimization and data science to develop algorithms that would enable Netlift to come up with new, more ecological models of transportation. - Newswire

CIFAR and the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship have released a new report – Exploring the Future of AI Policy in Canada – stemming from five policy workshops held in 2018. Recommendations cover topics such as the future of work, inclusiveness in AI, anti-trust mechanisms, consumer protection and data governance. - CIFAR

CIFAR, the French National Centre for Scientific Research and UK Research and Innovation are investing $400,000 in a series of year-long research workshops beginning in June to examine the economic, ethical, policy and legal implications of AI on society. Each workshop will produce a non-technical publication with insights for policy-makers in the public and private sectors as well as the public. - CIFAR

The Green Aviation Research and Development Network (GARDN) has released a commercialization roadmap for a Pan-Canadian Sustainable Aviation Fuels Initiative (SAFI Canada). Recommendations relate to:  R&D and demonstration, financing and strategic partnerships, policy and regulations, technical and sustainability certifications, outreach and knowledge transfer, and consortia building and regional initiatives. - SAF Community

New not-for-profit H2GO Canada has published a report summarizing findings from a consultative study of more than 35 private sector companies on the potential for the sustainable development of a hydrogen economy in Canada. Funded by Natural Resources Canada, the 29-page report identified the barriers and opportunities to sustainable hydrogen use in Canada. - H2GOCanada

Atlas Biotechnologies Inc., Edmonton, has signed one of the largest global research efforts on medical cannabis and phytomedicines with Harvard Global Health Catalyst at Harvard University. The three-year, multi-million agreement will launch clinical trials as early as  next year to study the effects of the drug, including its role in chronic pain management and other neurological conditions. – Atlas Growers

A new C.D. Howe Institute report – Growth Surge: How Private Equity Can Scale Up Firms and the Economy – says governments in Canada need to open more Canadian infrastructure investments to private investors, restrict the Small Business Deduction to young and growing firms, and exempt from taxation the capital gains on selling shares for certain small firms. – C.D. Howe

Novel ingredients startup Noblegen Inc., Peterborough ON, has secured $25 million in Series B financing led by Richardson Ventures Inc., a subsidiary of Canadian holding company James Richardson & Sons, Limited (JRSL), and BDC's Cleantech Practice. Noblegen makes unique protein, carbohydrate, and oil ingredients from a single microorganism called Euglena gracilis. The company currently employs over 50 people and plans to double the size of its workforce when it enters the U.S. market this year. - Noblegen

Ten internships will be created for female students enrolled in science, technology, engineering or mathematics disciplines as part of the new Canadian Industrial Leadership Awards, a joint initiative from L3 Technologies, Thales Canada and CAE Inc. The program, created as a result of the Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy, aims to develop future leaders in the aerospace, maritime, defence and security industries. - Thales


Jess Joss takes over as the new CEO of The Angels Group, a new not-for-profit umbrella organization representing the Golden Triangle Network (Waterloo), Angel One Investor Network (Burlington) and Southwestern Ontario Angel Group (London). Joss is the former executive director of York Angel Investors Inc and current marketing chair of the National Angel Capital Organization board. - Newswire

Leslie Weir will serve as the new Librarian and Archivist of Canada for four-years starting August 30. The former librarian at the University of Ottawa, Weir was one of the founding architects of Scholars Portal, which brings together information resources and services in support of research and learning. She also served from 2007-09 as president of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries. - GoC

SpeakEasy Cannabis Club Ltd., Vancouver, has appointed Dr. Frey Garabagi as chief scientific officer. Garabagi was recently VP of Research and Quality Affairs at Victoria-based Emerald Health Therapeutics Inc. In 2012, he founded Herbaceous Inc., a company that organized preclinical research with non-psychoactive cannabinoids on epilepsy and obesity. - Newswire

Vancouver biotech company enGene Inc., which is developing the Gene Pill™, has hired Dr. José M. Lora as chief scientific officer. Lora was previously VP of Research at Synlogic Inc., Cambridge, MA. - Newswire

Electrical engineering professor Dr. Kodjo Agbossou will hold a new research chair at Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières focused on developing smart electricity networks. The university partnered with Hydro-Québec to contribute $929,000 towards the chair, matched by $920,000 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. - UQTR

The federal government has announced the members of a new expert panel on early learning and child care data and research, which over the next 18 months will provide advice on the development of an early learning and child care data and research strategy. The members are: Morna Ballantyne, executive director, Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada; Lucie Champagne, strategic advisor, Association Québécoise des Centres de la Petite Enfance; Dr. Gordon Cleveland, associate professor of economics emeritus, University of Toronto; Dr. Barry Forer, research methodologist and statistician, Human Early Learning Partnership; Martha Friendly, executive director, Childcare Resource and Research Unit; Margo Greenwood, academic lead, National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health, University of Northern British Columbia; Jeffrey Hawkins, executive director, Hands: The Family Help Network; André Lebon, psychoeducator, Centre de psychoéducation du Québec; Patsy McKinney, executive director, Under One Sky-Monoqonuwicik-Neoteetjg Mosigisg Inc.; Dr. Susan Prentice, professor of Sociology, University of Manitoba; Maya Roy, CEO, YMCA; Erin Schryer, CEO, Origins Natural Learning Childcare; Dr. Christopher Smith, Muttart Foundation; and Nora Spinks, CEO, Vanier Institute. – GoC

Mitacs has awarded five Canadian researchers-turned-entrepreneurs, and one company, with its 2019 Entrepreneur Awards: Outstanding Entrepreneur - Tanzina Huq, 34, co-founder and chief technology officer, Chinova Bioworks (Fredericton, NB); Global Impact Entrepreneur - Hamed Hanafi, founder and president, NovaResp Technologies (Halifax, NS); Environmental Entrepreneur - Beatriz Molero, chief technology officer and co-founder, SeeO2 Energy (Calgary, AB); Change Agent Entrepreneur - Ephraim Nowak, founder and CEO, Percept Systems (Kelowna, BC); and Social Entrepreneur - Hachem Agili, co-founder, president, and CEO, Geosapiens (Quebec City, QC). A special Mitacs 20th Anniversary Award was presented to Montreal-based Element AI. - Mitacs

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