The Short Report, November 6, 2019: Quantum lapse, Waterloo unicorn, social transformation

Mark Mann
November 6, 2019

The Ford government in Ontario has let funding lapse for the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing. Founded in 2002 with a record-setting philanthropic donation and support from both the federal and provincial governments, the institute has attracted top talent and is often cited for its leading research. While the federal government recently promised reinvestment of $15 million over three years, industry watchers worry that the lack of provincial support will undermine the institute's head start in the highly competitive quantum sector. - The Star

1QBit announced that it will open a new office in Sherbroooke with a focus on recruiting Master’s and Ph.D. researchers. Situated near the Institut quantique of Université de Sherbrooke, the new offices give 1QBit a presence in all three major Canadian quantum computing research hubs, including Greater Vancouver and Waterloo. -1QBit

Waterloo-founded and Silicon Valley-based Faire, which operates a wholesale marketplace for independent local retailers, has attained "unicorn" status after a new round of funding raised its valuation to $1 billion. The Series D round was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Founders Fund and brought in $150 million, bringing the company's total funding raised to date to $266 million. The company is growing fast: launched just two years ago, Faire averaged less than $1 million in sales per month at the beginning of 2018; now it says it has surpassed $1 million in sales per day. - Crunchbase

Concordia University received $10 million from the the Mirella & Lino Saputo Foundation and the Amelia & Lino Saputo Jr. Foundation to create the SHIFT Centre for Social Transformation, a multi-stakeholder collaboration centre focused on developing "sustainable and transformative solutions to complex societal challenges such as environmental degradation, political polarization, wealth inequality and a rapidly changing labour market." - Financial Post

Six Nations Polytechnic has partnered with IBM Canada to create a tuition-free path to a college diploma in a technology field. Called P-TECH, the program already runs in over 200 schools across 18 countries and aims to help communities that face economic or circumstantial disadvantages. - CBC

Ontario Tech University and Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores) have partnered to explore the potential of high-tech tools to help individuals with dementia remember events, people and places from their past. Research teams from both organizations will work together at a Clinical Demonstration Unit (CDU)  at Ontario Shores to implement technology-enabled solutions for dementia care, including conversational robots, virtual reality, and a multi-sensory wellness chair. - Ontario Tech U

The government of Quebec has awarded $10.7 million to create the Centre national intégré du manufacturier intelligent (CNIMI) at the Drummondville campus of l’Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR). The smart manufacturing centre will promote teaching, research and knowledge transfer between researchers and industry. - Université du Québec

Concordia University has partnered with Ericsson and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) to create the first Industrial Research Chair in Software-Defined Networking and Network Functions Virtualization Security. Valued at $1.8 million over five years, the new chair in the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science brings together industry and academia to develop novel processes, techniques and technologies for compliance-driven monitoring, attack prevention, detection and mitigation solutions. - Concordia

BlackBerry and the University of Waterloo have renewed their long standing partnership and announced plans to develop a joint innovation lab with a focus on fast-tracking research and development to get products into the market. The partnership will offer students opportunities to work with BlackBerry's R&D and business leadership teams, and will also facilitate interactions between senior representatives from BlackBerry’s sales, product, R&D and leadership teams and campus groups like the Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research. - IT World Canada


Janet E. Halliwell has been named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Halliwell currently sits on the board of the Canadian Research Data Centre Network (CRDCN). Halliwell served as executive vice president at the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) from 2000 to 2007, and has chaired the Science Council of Canada and the Nova Scotia Council on Higher Education. - Twitter

Universities Canada has welcomed Mount Saint Vincent University president Mary Bluechardt to its board of directors. Bluechardt will serve on the association’s International Committee. She has been an academic and administrative leader for more than 25 years in the postsecondary sector; she has served as vice-president (Grenfell Campus) at Memorial University of Newfoundland, dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Ontario Tech University, and dean of the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation at Memorial University. - Twitter

CANARIE announced that Dr. Catherine Middleton (who served as Past Chair, Chair and Vice-Chair) and Dr. Jonathan Schaeffer are departing its Board of Directors. Elected to the board in their stead were Dr. Charmaine Dean, Vice-President, Research and International at the University of Waterloo, and Dr. Deb Verhoeven, a Canada 150 Research Chair in Gender and Cultural Informatics at the University of Alberta. Dr. Eddy Campbell has been appointed board chair, and Ms. Sylvie LaPerrière has been appointed vice-chair. - CANARIE

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