The Short Report - March 2, 2022: Ottawa commits $240M for semiconductor industry, $45M for post-secondary research infrastructure, a good month for the space sector, and more

Cindy Graham
March 2, 2022


The Government of Canada is contributing $150 million through the Strategic Innovation Fund for its Semiconductor Challenge Callout to invest in the development and supply of semiconductors. The federal government is also contributing $90 million to upgrade equipment and improve capacity and capability at the National Research Council of Canada’s Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre (CPFC). The government is making the announcements as an initial commitment to scaling up Canada's semiconductor ecosystem and enhancing its role in the integrated North American information and communications technology supply chain. GoC

The federal government is contributing nearly $45 million through the Canada Foundation for Innovation to support research infrastructure at Canada's post-secondary institutions. The investments include more than $36 million to 136 research infrastructure projects at 31 universities through CFI's John R. Evans Leaders Fund to attract and retain researchers, and more than $14 million to 14 projects at 12 colleges, cégeps and polytechnics through the CFI’s College-Industry Innovation Fund to help colleges support innovation. GoC

Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions is highlighting organizations that have received a combined total of nearly $25 million through the federal government's National Ecosystem Fund, which was created to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem for Black entrepreneurs and business owners. The recipients include Côte-des-Neiges Black Community Association, Audace au Féminin, the Centre d’encadrement pour jeunes femmes immigrantes (CEJFI), the Réseau des Entrepreneurs et Professionnels Africains, 0rijin Village, DESTA Black Youth Network, the Fondation Fabienne Colas, the Fonds Afro-Entrepreneurs, the Groupe 3737, and the Black Youth Socio‑Economic Development Summit. GoC Backgrounder & Project Summaries

The Government of Canada is investing $2 million in Alectra Utilities Corporation to install up to 340 electric vehicle chargers across Ontario. The funding is through Natural Resources Canada’s Zero-Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP). GoC

The Ocean Startup Project has opened applications for the third cohort of its Lab2Market Oceans program for postdoctoral fellows, grad students and faculty looking for ways to commercialize their ocean research ideas. The program, led by Ryerson University, University of Manitoba, Dalhousie University, and Memorial University, is supported by the Government of Canada through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), Prairies Economic Development Canada, the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), Mitacs as well as the Ocean Startup Project and Ocean Supercluster. Applications are open from Feb. 23 to April 4, 2022. Ocean Startup Project

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) has updated the cost-sharing ratio of its Alliance Option 2 grants. As of Feb. 18, these grants have been simplified to one single cost sharing ratio of 100 per cent from NSERC for proposals involving partners from any sector (private, public or not-for-profit). This means that the requirement for partner organizations to commit 10 per cent of the project’s cash budget, when partners from the private sector are involved, has been removed. NSERC


Brampton-based space technology company MDA has been selected as the prime contractor for Louisiana-based Globalstar's low earth orbit satellites. The contract is valued at approximately $415 million and includes the design, manufacture, assembly and test of 17 satellites with options to purchase up to nine more. MDA

Toronto-based Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) has won a NASA Rapid Spacecraft Acquisition IV indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract to provide small satellites to NASA and other U.S. government agencies. The contracts are effective Feb. 15, 2022 through until Aug. 31, 2025. SFL

The militaries of Canada, the U.S., the U.K., New Zealand, Australia, Germany and France, as members of the Combined Space Operations (CSpO) initiative created in 2014, have released a guiding document called Combined Space Operations Vision 2031. The document "confirms CSpO’s commitment to protect and defend against hostile activities in space, and to exhibit leadership in space through responsible behaviour and adherence to international law." GoC

Candu Energy, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, has won a mandate to deliver specialized engineering and design services to Eclipse Automation in support of the development of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ new Advanced Nuclear Materials Research Centre. Under the contract, valued at approximately $13 million, SNC-Lavalin will design the structures and foundations for 12 shielded hot cells at the new research complex in Chalk River, Ont. The work is expected to last two years. SNC Lavalin


The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario has released a multi-part research project exploring current and historical gender disparities among faculty in Ontario universities. The project uses current quantitative data about faculty earnings and appointments, as well as qualitative data from over 50 interviews with women graduate students and faculty in STEM disciplines to examine the representation, remuneration and experience of women faculty at Canadian universities. HEQCO

The Royal Society of Canada has formed an expert panel to prepare a policy briefing on the applications, limitations and potential of wastewater surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 in Canada. Dr. Steve Hrudey, professor emeritus at the University of Alberta, will serve as chair of the panel. RSC

Meanwhile, the RSC Task Force on Covid-19 has released a policy briefing on protecting expert advice. The briefing focuses on policies and actions that can be implemented in the near term to better frame public research communications and ensure mechanisms are available to support researchers who are threatened. RSC

The Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences (CASTL), in partnership with the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training, has launched a catalogue of online courses offering immersive and interactive biopharmaceutical manufacturing training to help Canadian companies and their employees develop and strengthen their skills. CASTL was developed as a partnership between academia, industry and government to address the future skills needs of the Canadian life sciences sector. CASTL

Natural Products Canada (NPC, Charlottetown) is contributing nearly $3 million to 10 companies who are developing products to meet the demand for sustainable solutions to food production and security, human and animal health, and eco-friendly manufacturing. The latest program recipients include CanBiocin (Edmonton; proof of concept program: supporting animal wellness with species-specific probiotics); Impactful Health R&D (Dartmouth, N.S.; proof of concept: tackling the global food waste challenge using sustainable active packaging solutions); Smallfood (Halifax; access to talent: unearthing the potential of microbial ingredients to develop sustainable proteins) and Zila Works Canada (Edmonton; proof of concept: a new industrial bio-plastic from hemp to help product manufacturers lower their carbon footprint). Natural Products Canada

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority has launched a call for applications to fund community-led internet projects in Canada. Over $1 million in grants will be awarded to not-for-profits, Indigenous communities, registered charities and researchers who seek funding for infrastructure, cybersecurity, digital literacy and community leadership projects. The grants are available in amounts of up to $100,000, including one grant of up to $250,000. CIRA

The Coalition for Responsible Energy Development in New Brunswick is one of 78 signatories of a letter sent to the six big Canadian banks and asking them to cease plans to provide financing for small modular nuclear reactors. The letter was sent to RBC, TD, BMO, CIBC, Scotiabank and Banque Nationale. It asks them to commit to excluding nuclear development from their responsible investment portfolios. CRED


Dr. Paul Corkum is the co-winner of the 2022 Wolf Prize in Physics, an internationally acclaimed prize awarded to "outstanding scientists and artists from around the world for achievements in the interest of mankind and friendly relations amongst peoples." Corkum is a pioneer in the development of attosecond science and is a University of Ottawa distinguished professor, a principal research officer at the National Research Council of Canada, a co-director of the NRC-uOttawa Joint Centre for Extreme Photonics and a winner of the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering. He shares this year's prize with fellow physicists Ferenc Krausz and Anne L’Huillier of Europe. UOttawa

Leah Nguyen has been appointed chief investment officer of InBC Investment Corp., a newly created Crown corporation responsible for a $500-million strategic investment fund to help B.C.-based businesses grow and diversify. Nguyen's role is effective April 4. She joins InBC following the inaugural appointment of Jill Earthy, who assumed the role of CEO in mid-December. InBC


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