The Short Report - Sept. 30, 2020: CARIC wraps up operations, U of T receives its largest donation yet, and more

Cindy Graham
September 30, 2020


The University of Toronto has received the single largest donation in its history—$250 million—to support advances in human health and health care. The gift from James and Louise Temerty will support U of T’s Faculty of Medicine and affiliated hospital network. The money will support advances in machine learning in medicine; biomedical research and collaboration across Toronto’s health-science network; innovation, commercialization and entrepreneurship; equity and accessibility in medical education, and the creation of a new state-of-the-art Faculty of Medicine building for education and research. The donation includes $10 million to the Dean’s COVID-19 Priority Fund to support front-line clinical faculty members and trainees, as well as U of T researchers and partner hospitals seeking to improve testing, accelerate vaccine research and create better treatments and prevention strategies for COVID-19. – U of T

Vancouver-based Vitacore Industries received Health Canada authorization to produce N95-equivalent respirators in Canada, the first Canadian company to do so. Vitacore partnered with McMaster University to develop the Canadian N95 equivalent respirator, with testing completed by the National Research Council of Canada. Vitacore will supply 1.2 million CAN95 respirators per month to the healthcare industry, with plans to scale up to 10 million units per month. – Cision


The Green Aviation Research and Development Network (GARDN), a Business-Led Network of Centres of Excellence (BL-NCE), will transform into the pan-Canadian Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) initiative when its NCE funding ends on March 31, 2021. GARDN members endorsed the plan, which will see the network work over the next six months to design a new administrative and governance structure and seek new private and public funding. Members and stakeholders can provide advice on the transition through the SAF Community platform. – GARDN

Canadian telemedicine provider Maple Corporation will receive $75 million in funding from Shoppers Drug Mart as part of the drug store’s efforts to expand Canadians’ access to virtual care. Last year Maple saw its revenue increase six-fold, prompting $14.5 million in Series A funding and investments. – Cision

The Government of Alberta plans to invest $52 million in programs to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, including funding to help companies pay for equipment to make them greener. The programs will be funded from the $750-million Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) fund which aims to cut methane emissions by 45% by 2025. Some $25 million of the $52 million will go towards the Methane Technology Implementation Program (MTIP), managed by Calgary-based Carbon Connect International, to help upstream oil and gas companies buy technology to reduce emissions. The remainder will be used to develop and identify opportunities to improve methane detection from the oil and gas sector. – The Edmonton Journal

The Next Generation Manufacturing Canada Innovation Supercluster will help fund the digitization of services for 200 suppliers who serve the industrial, mining, and energy sectors in Saskatchewan. Led by the Saskatchewan Industrial Mining Supplier Association, the project will see the creation of a new digital platform, SIMSA Digital, to link members and clients virtually to other mining industry associations across Canada. – Globe Newswire

ProMIS Neurosciences, a Toronto-based biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of antibody therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases, is initiating a program that will construct and test a multivalent peptide vaccine for Alzheimer’s disease. The first steps will be carried out by the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac) at the University of Saskatchewan. – ProMIS

Seventeen Simon Fraser University research projects, which range from building Canada’s first single-molecule force microscope suite to improving survival rates for acute myeloid leukemia, have received a total of $2.9 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF). This is the largest amount the university has received from this fund in any year and is the third consecutive year that the number of JELF-supported SFU research projects has doubled.—SFU

The University of Manitoba will receive up to $100,000 from the governments of Canada and Manitoba to develop a new Protein Research Strategy and establish a research chair to bridge the gap between Manitoba’s research and protein processing sectors. The new strategy aims to identify research opportunities to enhance a sustainable protein ecosystem, a critical step in positioning Manitoba as a global leader of sustainable protein. – GoC

Following the spring announcement of its pending closure, the Consortium for Aerospace Research and Innovation in Canada (CARIC) wraps up operations on Sept. 30. During its six years, the Montreal-based consortium has supported 49 collaborative aerospace projects, contributed to 357 scientific papers and trained over 250 students.  – CARIC


Natural Products Canada, a Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research, Export Development Canada, and San Francisco-based CircleUp Growth Partners are investing $4 million in Partake Brewing, a Calgary-based non-alcoholic beer company. Partake will use the funds to expand its market share. In 2018 Partake received a $25,000 grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to collaborate with Durham College’s Centre for Craft Brewing Innovation to refine the recipe. – NPC

Saskatoon’s International Minerals Innovation Institute (IMII) issued a call for proposals for its inaugural Alternative Energy Systems Innovation Challenge. The winner will receive up to $500,000 to build and test a prototype of their technology. If the pilot is successful, IMII will assist in its commercialization for potential use in Saskatchewan’s potash and/or uranium sectors. – IMII


Anis Ben Amor, PhD, is the new regional director for Quebec for Natural Products Canada. Anis previously worked for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada industrial research consortium FORAC on forest bioproducts value chain optimization, and the Province of Alberta, Lands Division. – NPC

The University of Ottawa’s Institute for Science, Society and Policy announced the appointment of three new senior fellows in a Sept. 28 email: Louise Earl (senior advisor at Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat), Mehrdad Hariri (founder and CEO, Canadian Science Policy Centre), and Robert Walker (former president and CEO, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories; former CEO, AECL; and former CEO, Defence Research and Development Canada). Earl will be working closely with the ISSP’s Inclusive Innovation Research and Engagement Cluster, Hariri will be working with the ISSP’s Science Advice Research and Engagement Cluster, and Walker will engage with the ISSP’s Energy Research and Engagement Cluster as well as its Science Advice Research and Engagement Cluster. – uOttawa

Roger Scott-Douglas is the new acting president of the National Research Council of Canada, taking on the role from outgoing president Iain Stewart, who was appointed to the Public Health Agency of Canada. Scott-Douglas will lead the NRC through a 90-day transitionary period while he continues his role as secretary to the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force. Stewart is scheduled to return to the National Research Council in 2022 to complete the three remaining years of his mandate.– GoC

Leslie Chan, associate professor at the Centre for Critical Development Studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough, has launched the Knowledge Equity Lab (KEL), a trans-disciplinary space that will challenge forms of exclusion within the structure of knowledge production and exchange. KEL hosts global collaborations to address the marginalization of systems of knowledge as well as the ways of understanding the world that are not central to the West and its prevailing system of capital and finance. – U of T

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