The Short Report – May 8, 2019: Cannabis R&D, fuel cell demo, accelerator funding

Debbie Lawes
May 8, 2019

With the goal becoming a mainstream healthcare company, Smiths Falls, ON-based Canopy Growth Corp. has spun off a new division – Spectrum Therapeutics – to oversee the company’s commercial medical and clinical research operations including Spectrum Cannabis, Canopy Health Innovations, and recently acquired Germany-based C3Cannabinoid Compound Company, which develops cannabinoid-based medical therapies. – Canopy Growth

Toronto-based FSD Pharma and Solarvest of Vancouver are investing an initial $1 million over two years in a collaborative R&D project to develop a proof of concept that algae can express pharmaceutical-grade cannabinoids – a process that could significantly reduce production times. The two companies have also created a joint scientific review committee. - Newswire

Ballard Power Systems, Vancouver, is supplying its next-generation fuel cell modules for a $15-million project that will test hydrogen’s ability to fuel Alberta’s heavy duty trucking industry. The three-year Alberta Zero-Emissions Truck Electrification Collaboration project builds on more than a year's worth of research, data analysis and scenario modelling done by the Canadian Energy Systems Analysis Research Initiative. - Ballard

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council has announced $44 million for 75 projects at 24 universities under the outgoing Strategic Partnership Grants program (to be consolidated under the new Alliance Grants program. See article). A full list of projects can be found here. - NSERC

The first call for proposals has been launched for the Incubators and Accelerators Driven by Excellence, a new federal initiative that will award $12 million over four years to Quebec business incubators and accelerators. - Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions 

Ericsson says it will create more than 30 new jobs for data scientists, engineers, artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning architects, and software developers this year at its new Global AI Accelerator innovation hub in Montreal. The company also has GAIA hubs in the U.S., Sweden and India. - Ericsson

Concordia University’s District 3 innovation hub has partnered with Fonds de recherché du Québec to launch the province-wide Quebec Scientific Entrepreneurship (QcSE) program. The goal is to see 10% of Quebec PhD and postdoctoral researchers involved in translating their research into start-ups. - Concordia

The BC Institute of Technology officially opened its Summit Centre May 1 to support students in starting, growing and scaling their own ventures. - BCIT

Canadian companies are continuing to rely heavily on foreign capital, particularly from the U.S. According to the Canadian Venture Capital Report, released by CPE Media Analytics, the majority of $1.28 billion in venture capital raised in Canada in Q1 2019 came from U.S. investors (53%), with Canadian investors contributing 19%. – Newswire

The Government of Canada is investing $2.6 million to design, create and implement a gender equity research hub to support applied research in sport. A two-day forum will be held at the end of May to determine the parameters of the new research hub. - GoC, Minister Duncan’s remarks

The University of Ottawa is establishing a satellite office in the region’s tech hub – Kanata North – focusing on areas such as telecom, data analytics, machine learning and autonomous vehicle systems. U of O is also partnering with Kanata North firms and the National Research Council in a consortium looking into optical satellite communications challenges of the future. – Kanata North

A University of Guelph research project to turn co-products from ethanol production into new products has been awarded $1 million over five years from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and three industry partners, IGPC Ethanol, Competitive Green Technologies and Greenfield Global. – U of G

Other federal funding announcements:  96 recipients will share $9 million in grants under the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s PromoScience program (NSERC); $2.4 million to the Huntsman Marine Science Centre in St. Andrews, NB to study how spill response measures (e.g., dispersant chemicals) affect fish and other aquatic species (GoC);

The Canadian Institute for Advanced Research has launched the AICan Bulletin, a new bi-monthly newsletter about artificial intelligence in Canada, produced in collaboration with Amii, Mila and the Vector Institute. - CIFAR


2019 NSERC Prize Winners: $1 million Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering - Dr. Barbara Sherwood Lollar, a University of Toronto geologist who discovered the oldest water on earth; $250,000 John C. Polanyi Award - Dr. Douglas Stephan (University of Toronto); Brockhouse Canada team award - Drs. Pascale Champagne, Michael Cunningham, Philip Jessop and Warren Mabee (Queen’s); Synergy Awards – Dr. Paul Charette (Sherbrooke), Luc Landry (Cégep de La Pocatière), Dr. Amar Mohanty (Guelph) and Dr. Roberto Morandotti (INRS); E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowships: Drs. Lin Cai (Victoria), Maud Ferrari (Saskatchewan), Erin Johnson (Dalhousie), Paul McNicholas (McMaster), Dwight Seferos (Toronto) and Hongbo Zeng (Alberta); and the NSERC Gilles Brassard Doctoral Prize – Dr. Anna Golubeva (Waterloo). - NSERC

Université Laval professor of animal sciences Dr. Janice Bailey began a new job in May as the scientific director of Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies. - FRQNT

McGill University academic-clinician Dr. Sarah Prichard has been named acting VP (Research) at Western University for a one-year term, effective July 1. A search for a permanent research leader will take place shortly after Western President-elect Alan Shepard begins his term in July. - WesternU

Dr. Gina Conte has been appointed director of genetics at Toronto-based TruTrace Technologies Inc., previously named BLOCKStrain Technology, which has developed the first integrated blockchain platform to register and track intellectual property in the cannabis industry. - Newswire

Dr. Charles Pollack, who recently left the Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp, which he founded at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, takes over as chair of the scientific advisory board at Toronto-based FSD Pharma Inc., where he will provide advice on cannabinoid therapeutic programs. – Newswire

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