Advancing Indigenous Gender Equality through Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship, Adventure Capital, Aging Gracefully across Environments using Technology to support Wellness, AI Labs Inc., Alberta's Industrial Heartland Hydrogen Task Force, Atlantic Provinces Economic Council, Atomic Energy Control Board, Atomic Energy of Canada, Bennett Jones, Biotherapeutics for Cancer Treatment, Boehringer Ingelheim, Canada Foundation for Innovation, Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, Canadian Glycomics Network, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Canadian Nuclear Society, Canadian Renewable Energy Association, Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Canadian Solar Industries Association, Canadian Wind Energy Association, Cardiac Arrhythmia Network of Canada, Carleton University, Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine, Centre for Drug Research and Development, Clean Energy Canada, Communications Security Establishment, Communitech, DMZ, Engagement and Long Life, Eurasia Group, Farm Credit Canada, Forage Capital Inc., General Dynamics Land Systems — Canada, General Electric, Government of Ontario, Healthy Futures, Humber College, Innovation Economy Council, Institute for Design-Driven Analytics, Insurance Board of Canada, International Institute for Sustainable Development, Internet of Things Inc., Invest Ottawa, Ivey Foundation, Kids Brain Health Network, Lawson Health Research Institute, LEAP | Pecaut Centre for Social Impact, London Health Sciences Centre, MaRS, McKinsey Global Institute, Medicago, Medical Innovation Xchange, Mohawk College, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Networks of Centres of Excellence, Niagara College, Northern Biologics, Ocean Networks Canada, Ontario Centres of Excellence, Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, Partner at Quark Venture, Partnership Group for Science and Engineering, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Public Health Agency of Canada, Simon Fraser University, Smart Prosperity Institute, Social Asset Management, Southern Ontario Networks for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation, Strategy Corp Institute of Public Policy and Economy, Sustainable Development Technology Canada, Technical University of Munich, The Houssain Foundation, The Transition Accelerator, Thistledown Foundation, University Health Network, University of Alberta, University of Manitoba, University of Toronto, University of Victoria, and World Resources Institute



The Short Report – May 20, 2020: Last network renewals for sunsetting NCE program; New accelerator targets healthy living; Canadian health research at “elevated risk” for hacking; and more

Debbie Lawes
May 20, 2020

The Networks of Centres of Excellence has awarded $80.7 million in funding to five networks – the last cohorts to be renewed as the NCE program begins winding down over the next few years. Three-year renewals were granted to: Aging Gracefully across Environments using Technology to support Wellness, Engagement and Long Life (AGE-WELL) ($22 million); Biotherapeutics for Cancer Treatment (BioCanRx) ($15 million); Cardiac Arrhythmia Network of Canada (CANet) ($15.7 million); Canadian Glycomics Network (GlycoNet) ($16.3 million); and Kids Brain Health Network (KBHN) ($11.7 million). The NCE program will be gradually transferred to the New Frontiers in Research Fund. – NCE

Following a successful pilot, Sustainable Development Technology Canada is expanding its SDTC Seed Fund, which partners with accelerators across the country to fund early stage startups in the environmental technology space. There will be four funding rounds per year, with up to 100 companies each receiving up to $100,000. Companies can later apply for additional funding from SDTC as they mature and scale. – SDTC

Innovative projects led by Indigenous women and gender-diverse individuals will be eligible to receive up to $250,000 as part of a new program launched by the Indigenous Innovative Initiative. The Advancing Indigenous Gender Equality through Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship will fund projects from all sectors and industries that promote gender equality in Indigenous communities. In addition to funding, recipients will also receive capacity building supports and access to key business networks. – Newswire

University Health Network spin-off Northern Biologics has been acquired by German-based Boehringer Ingelheim, the world’s largest private pharmaceutical company. Northern Biologics developed a portfolio of antibody-based therapeutics for oncology and fibrosis. The Toronto-based company was founded in 2014 based on intellectual property developed by scientists at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and the University of Toronto. – Northern Biologics

The Toronto-based LEAP | Pecaut Centre for Social Impact is launching a new accelerator to scale initiatives that will help Canadians move more, sit less, eat better and stop smoking. Called Healthy Futures, the centre will provide $10 million in funding and pro bono support to 11 social ventures. Funders include the Public Health Agency of Canada and the private sector. The deadline for applications is June 19, 2020. – Newswire

An Alberta-led project is seeking to detect powerful neutrinos off the coast of British Columbia. The project, a collaboration between Ocean Networks Canada, University of Victoria, University of Alberta, Simon Fraser University and the Technical University of Munich, has applied to the Canada Foundation for Innovation for funding to deploy a neutrino telescope off the coast of Vancouver Island in 2023. The Pacific Ocean Neutrino Explorer (P-ONE) would be the largest particle detector in North America and would search for light caused by the collision of neutrinos with other particles in the water. – Cybera

Alberta's Industrial Heartland Hydrogen Task Force, an independent working group created to develop a framework to implement a hydrogen economy in the region, was officially launched May 19. Organized by The Transition Accelerator in partnership with the region’s mayors, the Task Force will produce a public report in July detailing the approach and steps needed to advance a zero-emission fuel economy in Alberta's Industrial Heartland. The Task Force will complement work the Government of Canada is leading, with private sector stakeholders, and governments, to develop a hydrogen strategy for Canada. – The Transition Accelerator

Humber College has received $1.8 million from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council to support social innovation and design-driven analytics. The funding includes five grants from NSERC’s College and Community Social Innovation Fund intended to support college research projects in partnership with local community organizations. It also received an Innovation Enhancement grant to help Canadian colleges increase their capacity to work with local companies, particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises. Humber will use the IE grant to establish the Institute for Design-Driven Analytics. – NSERC

Edmonton-based artificial intelligence (AI) startup Social Asset Management (SAM) has raised $3.6 million to advance a technology that predicts patterns and crises before they become unmanageable. SAM uses AI to analyze open data sources from around the world to identify the earliest signals of emerging risks and potentially threatening situations. The funding round was led by Adventure Capital. – SAM



COVID-19 research underway in Canada is at an “elevated risk” for hacking, say Canada’s spy agencies. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) issued a rare joint statement warning state-backed actors have shifted focus during the pandemic and that Canadian intellectual property is “a valuable target”.  A similar alert was issued by the CSE’s Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (Cyber Centre) March 20: “Sophisticated threat actors may attempt to steal the intellectual property (IP) of organizations engaged in research and development related to COVID-19, or sensitive data related to Canada’s response to COVID-19.” The Cyber Centre also released its Top 10 IT Security Actions that organizations can take to minimize the risk of a cyber-attack. – Cyber Centre and CTV News

Canada’s agriculture sector will receive a $100-million boost with the launch of the Agriculture and Food Business Solutions Fund, launched by the federal government through Farm Credit Canada to help offset losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Established in partnership with Calgary-based venture capital firm Forage Capital Inc., the fund will provide up to $10 million to companies involved in primary production, agri-tech, manufacturing, packaging and distribution. – GoC

The Innovation Economy Council (IEC) has released its first white paper, examining how Canada's startups are best positioned to lead Canada's post-COVID-19 recovery and the consequences if they are not adequately supported. The report warns that the uncertainty caused by COVID-19 risks the flow of financing early-stage companies that are essential to developing products and services that will help established industries do things smarter, faster and cheaper. The IEC recommends the federal and provincial governments collaborate to implement stimulus measures that will build the physical and digital infrastructure for Canada’s future economy, and incentivize technology adoption across industries. Policies, it added, should also focus on enhancing the resilience of domestic supply chains and promote collaboration between Canadian firms. The IEC, formed by MaRS, Ontario Centres of Excellence, Communitech, DMZ, Invest Ottawa and Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine, is a coalition of industry leaders advocating on behalf of start-up ventures. – OCE

The Government of Ontario is working with Medical Innovation Xchange (MIX), Canada's first industry-led hub for med-tech start-ups, to provide non-medical manufacturing companies free support as they retool to provide essential supplies and equipment to health care facilities during COVID-19. Companies that have received funding through the $50-million Ontario Together Fund, or a purchase order with the province, can access MIX members' medical advisory services, including assistance navigating regulatory hurdles and increasing efficiencies. – Government of Ontario

Medicago, Quebec City, has moved closer to human clinical trials of a promising therapy against COVID-19 after its plant-based vaccine candidate induced a positive antibody response 10 days after a single dose in mice. “Once results from a second ‘boost’ dose are available, Medicago will submit a clinical trial application to Health Canada and an investigational new drug submission with the FDA in the United States to allow for the initiation of human clinical trials this summer,” Nathalie Landry, executive VP Scientific and Medical Affairs at Medicago, said in a release. Medicago estimates its current facilities in Quebec and North Carolina could produce up to 20 million and 100 million annual doses, respectively, increasing to more than one billion doses per year once its new factory opens in Quebec in 2023. – Medicago

A clinical trial has begun in London, ON of a modified firefighter's mask that could significantly reduce aerosolization – the production of airborne respiratory droplets that may contain viruses or bacteria – when treating patients with COVID-19. Led by Lawson Health Research Institute, London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), University Health Network and General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada, the trial will assess the efficacy of the new device which, unlike invasive ventilators, helps patients breath through a mask that is customized from a firefighter’s mask using 3D printing. – LHSC

A multi-country clinical trial led by Canadian researchers is testing whether the blood thinner heparin can help improve survival for COVID-19 patients. Clinician-scientists from the University of Manitoba and the University Health Network will recruit up to 3,000 people with COVID-19 who are in intensive care, as part of a randomized clinical trial to run at 30 sites in Canada, the US, Mexico and Brazil, with other countries expected to come onboard. The trial received funding from a COVID-19 Fast Grant from the Thistledown Foundation, and an Innovation Award from the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre Innovation Committee. – University of Manitoba

Fourteen new artificial intelligence (AI) research projects will be launched to address the COVID-19 outbreak through the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research’s (CIFAR) AI and COVID-19 Catalyst Grants initiative. Each project will last three months to one year and will focus on machine learning applications to identify potential treatments, to support public health measures such as social distancing and to better understand the viral transmission of COVID-19. – CIFAR

A new report commissioned by Canada’s Chief Science Advisor Mona Nemer warns that governments need to address the technical, social, legal and ethical issues that may arise from deploying novel technologies in response to COVID-19. The Expert Advisory Group (EAG) on Society, Technology and Ethics in a Pandemic (STEP), established by CIFAR, stressed that public trust must be a key consideration when deploying new technologies like contact-tracing apps and antibody tests that could result in “immunity certificates” being issued. The report offers policymakers a framework of guiding principles and implementation advice. – CIFAR

The Southern Ontario Networks for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI) has pivoted its operations to respond to the COVID-19 crisis by building a supply of essential equipment, products and therapeutics for Canadians. For example, SONAMI member Niagara College is producing 37,000 face shields, which were designed by the college’s Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre. – Niagara College

An independent group of finance, policy and sustainability leaders has struck a new task force that will spend the next eight weeks developing recommendations on how governments can help get Canadians back to work while also building a low-carbon and resilient economy. The Task Force for a Resilient Recovery will assess a variety of potential recovery investments, including The Resilient Recovery Framework developed by the Smart Prosperity Institute. The task force members include: Elizabeth Beale, former president/CEO, Atlantic Provinces Economic Council; Barbara Zvan, former chief risk and strategy officer, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan; Don Forgeron, president/CEO, Insurance Board of Canada; Bruce Lourie, president, Ivey Foundation; Gerald Butts, senior advisor, Eurasia Group; Helen Mountford, VP Climate & Economics, World Resources Institute; James Meadowcroft, Professor, School of Public Policy and Administration and Department of Political Science, Carleton University; JP Gladu, former president/CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business; Merran Smith, executive director, Clean Energy Canada; Michael Horgan, senior advisor, Bennett Jones; Mitchell Davidson, executive director, Strategy Corp Institute of Public Policy and Economy; Mira Oreck, executive director, The Houssain Foundation; Richard Florizone, president/CEO, International Institute for Sustainable Development; and Stewart Elgie, founder and chair, Smart Prosperity Institute. – Recovery Task Force

A new report from the McKinsey Global Institute explores the potential scope and scale of the Bio Revolution, a new wave of innovation that combines breakthroughs and declining costs in biological sciences with advances in computing, artificial intelligence, and automation. Some 400 use cases are cataloged and analyzed in a variety of sectors, including human health, agriculture and food, consumer products and services and materials and energy production. Many cases have been already deployed to aid in the response to COVID-19, allowing for faster identification of the virus, more effective diagnostics and health tech tools, and new bioengineered treatments. The report’s authors will present their findings at a May 21 webinar. – McKinsey



Karimah Es Sabar has been appointed board chair of the Canadian Glycomics Network (GlycoNet), a Network of Centres of Excellence. Es Sabar is currently CEO and Partner at Quark Venture LP. Previously, she held several leadership positions at the Centre for Drug Research and Development, including president and CEO. In 2018, she chaired Canada’s Health and Biosciences Economic Strategy Table. Frank Gleeson will remain on the board as past chair. – GlycoNet

Toronto artificial intelligence company, Internet of Things (ITT) Inc., has appointed a new management team. Darryl Smith, current chief technology officer of ITT, will take on the role of CTO of AI Labs Inc., the product development arm of ITT. Electronics engineer Malcolm Rook has been named chief innovation officer of AI Labs. Robert Klein, a 20-plus year operations and technology, telecom, and consumer packaged goods industry executive, has been named ITT Inc.’s chief operating officer and Thomas Park becomes VP, government relations and regulatory affairs at ITT. – ITT

The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) and the Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) have announced the head of the new multi-technology association that will provide a unified voice for solar energy, wind energy, and energy storage in Canada. Effective July 1, the members of CanSIA and CanWEA will unite within the Canadian Renewable Energy Association under the leadership of Robert Hornung, the long-standing president of CanWEA. From his base in Ottawa, Hornung will focus on stakeholder advocacy and public engagement. – Newswire 

Fred Deys, associate dean in Niagara College’s School of Technology, died May 9 at his home in Hamilton. Prior to joining Niagara College in 2017, he worked as a computer science professor at Mohawk College before becoming a director in human resources. – Niagara College

Dr. Fred Boyd, a former physicist and engineer at Atomic Energy of Canada, died May 10 at the age of 93. Boyd worked on the world’s first Cobalt 60 radiation therapy machines, before joining General Electric to help design Canada’s first Candu-type nuclear power plant. While at Atomic Energy Control Board (AECB), now the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, he co-authored the first Canadian reactor safety requirements. Following his retirement in 1989, he became a private consultant where he continued to contribute to the development of Canadian nuclear policies. He was also publisher of the Bulletin of the Canadian Nuclear Society and a member of the Partnership Group for Science and Engineering (PAGSE). – Ottawa Citizen


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