The Short Report - June 9, 2021: Ontario boosts high tech innovation with $100M VC fund, grants for Dalhousie's battery pioneers, a major donation to U of Guelph's groundwater research, and more

Cindy Graham
June 9, 2021


Eight Alberta and Ontario companies will receive $8 million under the Innovative Solutions Canada program for projects to address challenges related to COVID-19. Projects funded will include patient monitoring sensor systems, diagnostic kits and a digital exchange platform that connects researchers and healthcare providers with materials, devices and information to respond to COVID-19. – GoC

The Government of Canada is contributing $1.5 million through the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force and Vaccine Surveillance Reference Group to explore immune response to the COVID-19 vaccine within the South Asian community, which has been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. – COVID-19 Immunity Task Force


The Government of Canada is launching a $165-million clean technology program to help farmers and agri-tech businesses adopt technology to reduce GHG emissions. The program builds on the original Agricultural Clean Technology Program and will incorporate an adoption stream over five years for farmers to purchase more efficient grain dryers and to move off of diesel, while its research and innovation stream will extend to 2028 and will give researchers access to contributions of up to $2 million in R&D and commercialization funding. Both streams are open to for-profit, not-for-profit and Indigenous groups. – GoC

The Government of Canada is contributing nearly $12 million from the Environmental Studies Research Fund to study Atlantic Salmon migration over the next five years, the results of which will inform regulatory decision making in the offshore Atlantic fisheries. Dr. Martha Robertson and a team from Newfoundland and Labrador will collaborate with over 50 partners from federal and provincial governments, Indigenous organizations and governments as well as industry, academic and non- governmental organizations. – GoC

University of Guelph's G360 Institute has been renamed the Morwick G360 Groundwater Research Institute following a $10 million donation from benefactor Edward (Ted) Morwick to boost infrastructure, innovation, research and training to protect global groundwater supplies. – UGuelph

Dalhousie University researchers Dr. Jeff Dahn, Dr. Chongyin Yang and Dr. Michael Metzger are recipients of nearly $6 million in funding to develop advanced batteries for electric vehicles and grid energy storage. A nearly $3-million contribution from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and more than $3 million from Tesla are the basis of the largest Alliance Grant in Dalhousie's history for the project. – Dalhousie University

Meanwhile, a Clean Energy Canada report concludes that Canada has a chance to establish itself as a major player in the global battery industry and must act quickly to seize the opportunity before other countries fill the gap. – Clean Energy Canada

The National Research Council and Mitacs are investing $2.5 million over the next five years to accelerate research, innovation and collaboration between industry and academia and to support graduate and post-graduate internships in priority areas. Mitacs is offering the funding through its Accelerate program and the Globalink Research Award – Cision

The Government of Canada has launched a request for proposals to develop a toolkit to support its 50-30 challenge, which asks Canadian organizations to commit to achieving gender parity (50 percent) and significant representation (30 percent) of under-represented groups on corporate boards and in senior management positions. Organizations can respond via Canada's Buy and Sell website or apply for funding through Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. The request for proposals closes on July 12, 2021 while the call for applications closes on July 19, 2021.– GoC

Canada's Ocean Supercluster and MIT Technology Review Insights are developing a global index of more than 60 countries with significant coastlines to quantify the most effective activities and assets being used to clean up oceans, reduce marine-related carbon emissions and make marine economic activities economically and environmentally viable. The findings are due to be released in Fall 2021. – Canada's Ocean Supercluster

Commercial biotech startup space HelaPlex (Philadelphia) has chosen Kitchener-based life science digitization and automation business Scispot to support its mission as a digital life science accelerator for startups in Philadelphia. Meanwhile, Scispot has also partnered with San-Francisco-based biotech accelerator IndieBio for digitization and automation support. – Scispot


The Government of Ontario is supporting technology companies with the potential to boost long-term economic development in sectors including life sciences, clean technology, information technology and artificial intelligence with a $100-million contribution in venture capital funding with oversight from Ontario's venture capital agency, the Ontario Capital Growth Corporation. - Government of Ontario

The Government of Saskatchewan has selected Conexus Venture Capital as the fund manager for the government's $15 million agricultural technology (AgTech) venture capital investment, which will be deployed exclusively in Saskatchewan-based AgTech startups. The fund is currently in its final stage of raising capital and is anticipated to go live very soon. – Govt. of Saskatchewan

Black Innovation Capital (Toronto) and the Business Development Bank of Canada have launched the $10 million Black Innovation Fund with an initial close of $6.4 million. The fund will invest in Canadian pre-seed and seed stage technology companies founded by Black entrepreneurs. Other investors in the first close include RBC Ventures (Toronto), Globalive Capital (Toronto) and TELUS Ventures (Vancouver). – BDC


A new report from Association francophone pour le savoir concludes the state of research in French is more fragile in francophone minority communities than in majority communities. The study highlights problems commonly experienced by Canadian French-speaking researchers and includes nine recommendations to ensure the vitality of research in French in Canada. – Acfas

An impact report published by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis for the Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION) shows total bandwidth use in Ontario has trended upward over the past decade faster than the increasing number of connections. Other findings in the report: in 2020, ORION contributed over $10 billion in economic activity, largely from the use of its network by constituents. Most of it — $9.5 billion — was in Ontario. – ORION


Dr. Tarik Möröy has been appointed the new vice-chair of the board of directors of Research Canada after five years serving as a board director at the national health research advocacy alliance. Dr. Robert McMaster was honoured for his advocacy for Canadian health research and innovation and completion of his time as a board director, including his time as chair of the board and his term as past chair. Sue Mack-Klinger, Dr. Stéphanie Michaud, Taylor Morriseau and Dr. Ingrid Waldron are new board directors while Tara Bingham, Dr. Denis Roy and Andrée Dumulon have stepped down from the board after years of service. – Research Canada

Dr. Aubie Angel and The Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences are Research Canada's 2021 Individual and Organization Leadership in Advocacy Awardees, which recognize champions of health research and health innovation. Angel co-founded the Canadian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism and was a driving force in the establishment of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and the Friends of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences is a volunteer-run organization of researchers in biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology and genetics that fosters communication and collaboration amongst discovery scientists. – Research Canada

Mark Thorpe, CEO of clean technology company EnviroGold Global (Toronto), was elected chair of the board of the Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC) at CMIC's annual general meeting. Gordon Bogden is the outgoing board chair. - CMIC


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