The Short Report - Nov. 3, 2021: NREN bolsters internet security with MANRS, a new green tech hub, an open science partnership, and more

Cindy Graham
November 2, 2021


Toronto's Centennial College, the University of Toronto Scarborough, Ontario Tech University, Durham College and Trent University are using their assets in environmental sciences, advanced technology and related emerging sectors to create a sustainable technology innovation hub in the corridor between Toronto and Peterborough. The new consortium, called the Environmental and Related Technologies Hub (EaRTH District), seeks to work with the public and private sectors as well as Indigenous communities on initiatives currently under development. These include sustainable farming technology, new technologies to reverse groundwater pollution, transportation innovation, an electro-Earth initiative that uses bacteria (microbes) to convert biomass-derived waste into value-added products, training the clean energy workforce to meet the demand for net zero homes and electric vehicles maintenance, and supporting entrepreneurs and clean tech startups. – Centennial College

Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS), a global, community-driven initiative to bolster global internet routing, has been adopted by the CANARIE network and 11 National Research and Education Network (NREN) partner networks across Canada. NREN is joining a number of global partners in implementing MANRS, including Internet2 in the United States, GÉANT across Europe,  AARNet in Australia and SURFnet in the Netherlands. – CYBERA

The University of Calgary’s Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI) has joined The Neuro's Tanenbaum Open Science Institute (TOSI, Montreal) in promoting the adoption of Open Science approaches in brain research and innovation. TOSI was established in 2016 through a $20-million donation by the Larry & Judy Tanenbaum Family Foundation to lead the development of Open Science within The Neuro. HBI is the first collaborator to commit to joining them in adopting Open Science approaches across its research and innovation efforts. The HBI-TOSI partnership is supported by a $2-million commitment from TOSI and the Larry & Judy Tanenbaum Family Foundation. – McGill

RELATED: Open Science offers economic benefits, but not without structural changes and researcher buy-in

IBM Canada and the University of Ottawa have launched a multi-year partnership to build a fully immersive, experiential learning facility to further research and training in cybersecurity and cyber safety across government, industry and academia. The Cyber Range will be located within uOttawa's interdisciplinary Cyber Hub and will work collaboratively with IBM to deliver security training and expertise in both official languages with the aim of growing Canada’s skilled cybersecurity workforce. As part of the agreement, IBM is making a more than $21-million in-kind contribution to the university over five years to support business development and security training, while the University of Ottawa will invest nearly $7 million over the same period. – IBM Canada

The governments of Canada and Manitoba will spend $1 million under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to improve the productivity and sustainability of agricultural crown land forage leases. The new Agricultural Crown Lands Forage Productivity Pilot Program will provide financial assistance to enable forage lease holders to adopt best management practices to increase productivity on their  leases. These could include: grazing management plans, water source development and watering systems, cross-fencing for pasture management and forage rejuvenation. Applications open Nov. 8, 2021. – GoC

The Council of Canadian Innovators (CCI) has launched a program to train business people to be directors and board members. The Innovation Governance Program (iGP) will equip executive leaders with skills and resources to help companies scale-up globally as well as to further diversity and educate in key areas such as intellectual property, data commercialization and cybersecurity. The initial six-week fall term begins Nov. 4. The program was created in partnership with the Business Development Bank of Canada, CPA Ontario and Export Development Canada, The Innovation Asset Collective, Cycura, Deloitte, and Sustainable Development Technology Canada are also helping develop content for the sessions. – CCI


The annual Association of University Technology Managers North American Annual Licensing Survey has ranked the University Health Network as the No. 1 research commercialization institution in Canada for the second year running, based on gross licensing revenue from the research commercialized. With more than $37 million in gross licensing revenues, UHN leads the sector in Canada and ranks 8th among the top 10 research commercialization hospitals in North America. – UHN

A labour market report from BioTalent Canada underscores the need to build human capacity in the bio-economy through concentrated recruitment and retention strategies to avoid a severe labour shortage. Its industry census shows Canada has 12,000 bio-economy establishments employing about 200,000 workers with a projection to grow to 223,000 workers by the end of the decade, but unless current conditions change only about a quarter of the available positions will be filled. – BioTalent Canada

Meanwhile, BioTalent Canada has announced a $1.15-million research study funded by the Future Skills Centre to leverage lessons learned from the pandemic to secure Canada's bio-economy in the long-term. – BioTalent Canada

Startup Genome has released its Ecosystem Report, 2021 Life Sciences Edition. It found that North America and Europe dominate the top 25 life sciences ecosystems with 48 percent and 24 percent of the top 25 respectively, followed by Asia at 20 percent. Nearly half (49 percent) of life sciences unicorns between 2015–2020 were created in the top five ecosystems: Silicon Valley, Boston, New York City, London and San Diego. Vancouver was the only Canadian city to rank in the top 25 (No. 21) with Montreal, Quebec City, Edmonton and Toronto-Waterloo being named ecosystems to watch in the sector. – Startup Genome


Montreal's Brainbox AI has raised $24 million USD in the first close of its Series A funding round which it says will be used to develop its next innovation phase. The autonomous building technology company uses self-adaptive artificial intelligence to optimize buildings’ energy usage, carbon footprint and operational efficiency. The first close of its Series A round includes new lead investor ABB, and investments by Esplanade Ventures and Desjardins Capital. – Brainbox AI

Waterloo-based cybersecurity firm Magnet Forensics has followed its successful IPO with a plan to raise an additional $950 million and has filed a preliminary short-form base-shelf prospectus to sell subordinate voting shares, preferred shares, debt securities, warrants and subscription receipts over a 25-month period in each of Canada's provinces and territories. – Magnet Forensics

The University of Toronto has committed to divesting all fossil fuel investments in its $4 billion endowment fund by the end of 2030 to help fight climate change, including divesting from all direct investments in fossil fuels companies within the next year, divesting from indirect exposure to fossil fuels through pooled investments by 2030 and reaching a net-zero portfolio by 2050. – U of T

RELATED: Survey: Canadian universities are increasingly cutting fossil fuels from their investment portfolios


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced ministers to his new cabinet following the fall election. They include Jean-Yves Duclos (new Minister of Health), Carolyn Bennett (new Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health), Marie-Claude Bibeau (remains as Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food), François-Philippe Champagne (remains as Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry), Steven Guilbeault (replaces Jonathan Wilkinson, who is now Minister of Natural Resources, as Minister of Environment and Climate Change) and Joyce Murray (new Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard). – GoC

Dr. Vik Pant has concluded his posting as chief scientist and chief science advisor at Natural Resources Canada and has joined Price Waterhouse Cooper as a partner. Pant is the founder of the Synthetic Intelligence Forum (Toronto), a community of synthetic intelligence specialists and experts focusing on industrial applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and a collaborative learning hub for professional data scientists, AI researchers and machine learning engineers. – LinkedIn

CANARIE has announced changes to its board of directors following elections at its annual general meeting on September 21st. Sylvie LaPerrière and Dr. Larry Rosia were elected board chair and vice-chair, respectively, with LaPerrière replacing outgoing chair Dr. Eddy Campbell. New members elected to the board at the annual general meeting on September 21st include Dejan Mancic, Sherry Shannon-Vanstone, and Dhruva Suthar, while board members Nathalie LeProhon, Chris Lumb and Petri Lyytikainen are retiring. – CANARIE

Rohinton Medhora, president of The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI, Waterloo), contributed recommendations to a recent international report on digital health. The report, called Governing Health Futures 2030: Growing up in a digital world, was prepared by a joint Lancet and Financial Times Commission and argues digital transformations should be considered as a key determinant of health. The report stresses that without a precautionary, mission-oriented and value-based approach to governance, digital transformations will fail to bring about improvements in health for all. – CIGI

Nicole DeKort has been named Medtech Canada's new president and CEO, effective Nov. 1, 2021. DeKort succeeds Brian Lewis, who is retiring and will act as an advisor until early 2022. She served as Medtech Canada's vice president of Ontario and marketing and held leadership roles in the office of the Premier of Ontario and the Ontario Minister of Health, and served as the executive director of the Ontario Liberal Party. – Cision

Dr. Mohini Sain and Dr. Ning Yan have been appointed to the scientific advisory board of Vancouver's NEO Battery Materials. Sain is an expert in the field of bionanotechnology, low carbon functional materials and next-generation low carbon transportation; he has received the Endowed Ford Motor Canada PERDC Chair in Sustainable Materials. Yan specializes in biobased chemicals and products from renewable biomass. She is a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in sustainable bioproducts and the director of the Low Carbon Renewable Materials Center. Both are professors at the University of Toronto. – NEO Battery Materials


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