The Short Report – Sept. 1, 2021: Liberals release their campaign platform, feedback sought on new CFI fund, industrial R&D on par with 2019, and more

Debbie Lawes
September 1, 2021


The Liberal Party of Canada released its full platform on Wednesday, including a number of promises on research and innovation. The party's proposals include a permanent Council of Economic Advisors, reforms to the Scientific Research and Experimental Development Program to "reduce red tape," an additional 1,000 Canada Research Chairs, a $75-million fund to help colleges and universities commercialize research and a new Canada Advanced Research Projects Agency (CARPA) with an initial endowment of $2 billion. The Liberals also proposed a $100-million fund "to pursue moonshot research into high-impact illnesses where a vaccine may be possible."  – LPC

Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters unveiled its platform for the 2021 federal election, which outlines a national strategy to restore Canada's manufacturing sector's leading position in a post-pandemic economy. Read Research Money's story here.

Colleges and Institutes Canada (CiCan) has released its recommendations for whichever political party forms the next federal government this fall. They include: a national micro-credential framework; a national collaboration platform for colleges and institutes to share online resources; expanded streams to permanent residence for international students; Indigenous-language revitalization programs; funding to upgrade digital infrastructure, simulation technologies and cybersecurity systems; and, a new network of 50 College Sustainability Centres that leverage assets like campus infrastructure, research centres and community partnerships. – CICan


CMC Microsystems has formally applied to the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) for funding to establish a $700-million program for domestic semiconductor manufacturing. The Fabrication of Integrated Components for the Internet’s Edge (FABrIC) has brought together 14 project founders from industry, academia and non-profit technology research organizations to support the five-year program, which expects to attract $480 million in industrial R&D, $100 million from revenues or provincial governments and $120 million from the federally-managed SIF. With a focus on photonics, microelectromechanical systems, and quantum devices, FABrIC aims to shore up Canada’s domestic supply of semiconductor chips at a time when global supply chains have seen major delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic and skyrocketing demand for smartphones and PCs. – CMC

CMC Microsystems pitches Ottawa on $120-million chip manufacturing plan amid global shortage, May 12, 2021

The U.S. National Institutes of Health has awarded a USD$26.5-million grant to an international team that is developing a new strategy for curing HIV. Led by researchers at Gladstone Institutes, Scripps Research Florida and Weill Cornell Medicine, with participation from Dr. Pauline Sameshima, Lakehead University’s Canada Research Chair in Arts Integrated Studies, the multidisciplinary team is known as the HIV Obstruction by Programmed Epigenetics (HOPE) Collaboratory. Their goal is to “both silence and permanently remove” HIV from the body. Sameshima will be responsible for developing the Community Arts Integrated Research plan. – Lakehead University

Research Manitoba has awarded just over $2 million in funding to support 17 Innovation Proof-of-Concept Grants led by researchers at the University of Manitoba. The funds will advance projects closer to commercialization (Technology Readiness Levels 3-7) and specialize in the areas of biosciences, ICT, advanced manufacturing and infrastructure and transportation industries and technologies. – Research Manitoba

The Canada Foundation for Innovation is soliciting feedback on its new Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund (BRIF) before posting an official call for proposals. The $150-million program will support postsecondary institutions and research hospitals in establishing new containment levels 3 and 4 facilities capable of working with human pathogens. The deadline for commenting on the draft call for proposals is Sept. 13, 2021. – CFI


More angel investments were made in 2020, but the total amount invested dropped 37 percent compared to the previous year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Angel Capital Organization (NACO) reports that while the total number of angel investments increased in 2020 to 416 from 299 in 2019, the amount invested ($102.9 million) was lower than it was in 2019 ($163.9 million) and 2018 ($142.8 million). On a positive note, the number of women angel investors is growing, with the survey finding that 24 percent of NACO members were women, compared to 17 percent in 2019 and 14 percent in 2018. - NACO

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic’s toll on Canada’s economy, its impact on industrial R&D has been minimal, according to a new report from Statistics Canada. The agency reported that almost 9 in 10 of eligible businesses did not alter their spending on R&D in 2020 from their pre-pandemic intentions. Overall, expenditures on in-house R&D decreased by $280 million and expenditures on outsourced R&D were down $62 million – compared to a record high of $21.7 billion in 2019. Preliminary estimates show that in-house R&D expenditures dropped 3.2 percent in 2020 to $21 billion, and are projected to stay at $21 billion in 2021; while outsourced R&D shows a 7.5 percent decrease in 2020 to $4.5 billion in 2020, with 2021 investments expected to hold steady at $4.5 billion. – Statistics Canada

Total in-house and outsourced research and development expenditures, 2014 to 2021, millions of dollars
2014 18,207 3,186
2015 17,954 4,032
2016 18,723 4,207
2017 19,032 5,042
2018 20,855 5,076
2019 21,653 4,813
2020 20,957 4,452
2021 20,972 4,522

Source: Statistics Canada, tables 27-10-0333-01 and 27-10-0346-01.


The Centre for Ocean Ventures & Entrepreneurship (COVE) (Dartmouth, NS), GCE Ocean Technology (Norway) Subsea Monitoring Network (Germany) and Ocean Innovation Norwegian Catapult Centre (Norway) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen capabilities in commercializing new technologies and create opportunities for collaboration focused on innovation and growth. COVE will now be able to access worldwide supply chains, research and development, complementary infrastructure and technological advancements to propel Nova Scotia and Canada’s ocean technology sector on a global stage. – COVE

Palais des congrès de Montréal has partnered with Entertain-AI (E-AI) — a new Montreal-based international B2B community — to launch new programming in early 2022 that marries live entertainment and artificial intelligence. Entertain-AI recently launched following a meeting in June that brought together nearly 150 stakeholders from a dozen countries. Its mission is to collaborate to co-create events and an intelligent platform for the arts, culture, sports and entertainment, as well as applications in education, environment, public administration, human resources and operations. – Cision


Toronto-based digital services and consulting company Infosys is establishing a new digital development centre at its Mississauga operations which could see 500 new high quality jobs created over the next three years. Spanning nearly 50,000 square feet, the centre is modelled on six similar digital centres in the U.S. It will focus on training, upskilling and retraining employees in artificial and intelligence, data science automation and machine learning to help Canadian businesses accelerate their digital transformation. – Infosys


London, Ont., startup Neurolytixs has discovered an easy and fast way to diagnose concussions in amateur sports: with a prick of a finger. The first test of its kind to yield up to 96 percent accuracy, the blood test leverages artificial intelligence to help diagnose concussions. Plans are underway to secure regulatory approval for the patented technology in the US and Europe, as the product moves into large-scale clinical trials and then commercial launch in 2022. – Cision

Braxia Scientific Corp., Toronto, is launching a clinical trial to conduct Canada’s first multiple-dose psilocybin clinical trial for treating treatment-resistant depression. The trial, which will be conducted at Braxia’s Canadian Rapid Treatment Centers in Ontario and Quebec, will enlist adults with treatment-resistant depression, including bipolar depression, as well as adults who have tried other unsuccessful medical trials such as those using ketamine and electroconvulsive therapy. – Braxia Scientific


The New Frontiers in Research Fund Transformation competition is now open for large-scale, Canadian-led interdisciplinary research projects that address a major challenge with the potential to create significant and real change or impact. Grants of between $2 million and $4 million per year will be awarded over six years. Letters of Intent are due Nov. 2, 2021. – Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

Quebec’s three research granting agencies have launched an expanded version of the Visage Municipal program, which offers teams of researchers and municipal stakeholders in Quebec the opportunity to work together on intersectoral projects based on the research and innovation needs of municipalities. Projects can receive up to $100,000 over two years. An information webinar will be held in September and the deadline for Letters of Intent is Oct. 4, 2021. – Fonds de recherche du Québec

The Ontario Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network and the Michigan Department of Transportation have teamed up to explore the implementation of a cross-border testing environment to support the commercialization and adoption of auto and transportation technologies, including cross-border pilot projects. A joint Request for Proposals (RFP) is now underway to study and analyze the economic potential of expanded border capacity and other benefits. The deadline for submissions is Sept. 13, 2021. – Ontario government

A new innovation program has launched in Guelph, Ont. The COIL (Circular Opportunity Innovation Launchpad) Circulate CoLab will help organizations collaborate to design and test transformative circular supply chain approaches that reduce waste and increase material reuse and recycling in the food and environment sectors. A total of $800,000 is available to companies over the next year for prototyping and scaling up. The program is offered through Guelph-Wellington’s Smart Cities Office, the 10C hub and Innovation Guelph. – City of Guelph


Convergence Medical Sciences, Calgary, has been awarded the International Design Excellence Award (IDEA) for creating the Valence InVent Xtend, a new medical device which allows ventilators to be safely extended to up to four patients. This device was invented by Calgary ICU doctor, Steven Roy, a physician fellow in the department of Critical Care Medicine at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine. The device, which will be on permanent display at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation near Detroit, recently received Health Canada licensing under the COVID-19 Interim Order. Celebrated IDEA winners over the past four decades include the original Apple iPod and iPhone and the Tesla Model S.

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