The Short Report - October 12, 2022: An advisory panel for Canada's research support system; a national diabetes framework, renewed funding for marine technology, and more.

Cindy Graham
October 12, 2022


The Government of Canada has launched an advisory panel to review and recommend improvements to the federal system supporting academic research. The panel will focus on the three federal granting agencies — the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research — and the Canada Foundation for Innovation. The panel includes seven members comprised of active researchers, senior administrators at post-secondary institutions and non-governmental organization members who will review and recommend improvements to the structure and management of the federal research support system. The panel will be chaired by Frédéric Bouchard, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences at the Université de Montréal. GOC release   Terms of Reference

Three tech sector companies in Kitchener-Waterloo have received $7.5 million in repayable contributions from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) to help accelerate growth. Digital information management company Shinydocs and property insurance industry tool provider Encircle have received $4 million and $2.1 million respectively through the Jobs and Growth Fund in southern Ontario, while software-as-a-Service company Proto Research will receive a $1.4-million repayable contribution through the Business Scale-up and Productivity stream. GOC Backgrounder

The federal government is contributing $2.5 million through PrairiesCan’s Regional Innovation Ecosystems (RIE) program to the University of Saskatchewan's Global Institute for Food Security to help build a biomanufacturing facility and launch an agri-food hub that will increase the pace of research into sustainable agriculture and strengthen Canada's food production leadership. The USask facility is the latest addition to a Canadian network of biomanufacturing centres in Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia. USask

The Government of Ontario is investing $7.25 million in 50 Ontario-led research projects through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance, a collaboration between the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs and the University of Guelph to advance agri-food innovations. The projects will focus on environmental stewardship and food safety, economic and rural development, animal health and welfare, and plant health and protection. Among the projects funded are digital soil mapping for site-specific analysis of plant growth regulation in wheat (lead applicant: William Lubitz) and building a surveillance and monitoring tool for avian influenza outbreaks in Ontario (lead applicant: Rozita Dara). UGuelph Government of Ontario

Protein Industries Canada has launched a new stream of programming that will co-invest in projects that use artificial intelligence (AI) to help grow Canada’s plant-based food, feed and ingredients ecosystem. The programming was made possible through a $30-million commitment under the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research's Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy (PCAIS). PIC

Seven Quebec-based businesses in a variety of sectors including photonics, 3D food processing, biotechnology and radiation therapy technology will receive more than $1.5 million in repayable contributions. BioTwin, Devoray, Femtum, LumIR Lasers, SIMCO Technologies, Medscint and Hector are receiving funding from Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED) to innovate, increase production, or implement marketing strategies. CED


Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos recently tabled a national diabetes framework, which was informed by people living with diabetes, academics and researchers, not-for-profit organizations, provinces and territories, and Indigenous communities to provide improved access to the prevention and treatment of all types of diabetes. The Act to Establish a National Framework for Diabetes was unanimously passed by Parliament in June, 2021 after it was introduced by MP Sonia Sidhu in February, 2020 as Bill C-237. GOC

The St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre in Winnipeg is working with the Prairie Oat Growers Association to conduct animal feeding trials with oats to determine how oat protein is digested and what effect it has on reducing cholesterol and blood glucose levels. The investment of $106,000 is through the AgriScience Program, which provides funding and support for pre-commercial science agricultural activities and research. Newswire

The Max Rady College of Medicine (Manitoba) has received $3.5 million in contributions from the University of Manitoba and Manitoba Public Insurance, who are contributing $1.5 million and $2 million, respectively, to support research looking at ways to provide more individualized care for patients with traumatic brain injuries. The funding allows Dr. Frederick Zeiler's MPI Professorship in Neuroscience to be elevated to an MPI Chair in Neuroscience. UManitoba

Irving Shipbuilding has renewed its funding for the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE) over the next five years with $4.4-million in funding. Irving was a founding investor of COVE, the Dartmouth, N.S.-based global innovation centre for marine technology and the sustainable use of the ocean, in 2017. Globe Newswire

Laurentian University's restructuring plan has been approved by the Superior Court of Ontario. Laurentian says it is weeks away from being able to implement its plan to financially restructure. Globe and Mail


A Q3 review of Canada’s tech ecosystem by tech investment tracker shows Canada’s tech ecosystem had 72 investments totalling nearly $734 millionCanada saw a 62% decrease in total investment and a 33% decrease in the number of deals compared to last quarter, with seed deals down the most, dropping 64 percent since Q2 and at the lowest number since 2019.

E-commerce business Carbon6 (Toronto) has raised $88 million CAD in a Series A round that will support its plans to expand to ecommerce platforms beyond Amazon. The financing round was led by global multi-stage technology VC firm White Star Capital (New York), with participation from Kale Investment Fund (Stockholm), Benevolent Capital (Charlottesville, VA), and MidCap Financial (Bethesda, MD), who also provided debt financing. Carbon6


The House of Commons Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics presented a report on facial recognition technology and artificial intelligence to Parliament last week, calling for a federal moratorium on the use of facial recognition technology by federal police and businesses unless there is court authorization or input from the privacy commissioner. The report makes 19 recommendations, including one for the creation of a legal framework for facial recognition and artificial intelligence. ITWorld

InBC Investment Corporation, the Crown corporation responsible for a $500-million strategic investment fund to help B.C.-based businesses grow and diversify, has launched an impact policy statement clarifying the parameters for its investing approach. The accountability document contains InBC’s impact investment objectives, risk tolerance, constraints and reporting requirements. InBC

The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)'s fiscal 2022 report shows the bank provided support to 95,000 clients, including 16,500 via programs delivered in partnership with the private sector, as of March 31, 2022. Among other highlights, the report shows BDC authorized $14.4 billion in financing and investments in fiscal 2022, including $3.4 billion in indirect lending through private financial institutions; it authorized $636 million for investments for tech innovators, and it launched its second $250-million Growth Equity Partners Fund. BDC

A new paper from the University of Waterloo's Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation calls for recognition of the financial value provided by natural assets and argues for a revision of accounting rules to safeguard natural resilience features. The report includes steps to recognise the services nature provides as governments look for ways to slow climate change, reduce climate risk and reverse biodiversity loss. ICCA


Dr. Douglas Muzyka has been reappointed chair of the National Research Council of Canada by Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne. Muzyka is former senior vice president and chief science and technology officer at E.I DuPont de Nemours. New members appointed for 3-year terms include David Berthiaume (executive director at Kemitek); Digvir S. Jayas (distinguished professor at the University of Manitoba), and Ali Tehrani (venture partner at Amplitude VC). Re-appointees include Karen Bakker (professor at the University of British Columbia), Norma Beauchamp (former president and chief executive officer of Cystic Fibrosis Canada), Susan Blum (associate vice-president of applied research and innovation at Saskatchewan Polytechnic), Ray Hoemsen (president and managing director of Nexus Manitoba), Steven Murphy (president of Ontario Tech University), and Pierre Rivard (executive chairman of TUGLIQ Energy). NRC

Dr. Pieter Cullis has received the 2022 Bloom Burton Award, which honours a scientist, inventor, executive, entrepreneur, industry leader, or policy maker who made the greatest contribution to innovation in Canada's healthcare industry in the previous year. Cullis led the development of lipid nanoparticle delivery systems, the foundational technologies for the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines for molecular therapeutics, at Acuitas Therapeutics (Vancouver). He was named a  2022 Canada Gairdner International Award laureate and also received the Life Sciences BC 2022 Global Impact Award. Newsfile

Mick Carew has been appointed CEO of mineral exploration company Gama Explorations (Vancouver). Carew has worked in the mining sector for over 25 years and has worked at BHP and Ivanhoe Mines. At the same time, Gama president and director Allan Larmour has stepped down from his executive role while remaining on the company’s board of directors. The Newswire


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