The Short Report - September 2, 2020: Expanding innovation networks in Canada, 5G grows in Ontario, and more

Mark Mann
September 2, 2020


Verto Health, a Toronto-based provider of digital communication tools for the healthcare industry, raised $2M in seed funding. The round was led by MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund in conjunction with Verstra Ventures, Amplify Capital and angel investors. Verto uses digital twin technology to connect hospital information systems (HIS), electronic medical records (EMR), laboratory information systems (LIS) and mobile app data. - FinSMEs

Rogers added 18 cities and towns to its 5G network, the first and largest in Canada. The company says it will reach a total of more than 60 markets by the end of 2020. Rogers also supports the University of Waterloo’s 5G Smart Campus to give university researchers the ability to test 5G applications. - DailyHive

The quantum race is heating up as the U.S. Department of Energy announced it will provide $625 million over the next five years for five newly formed quantum information research hubs. The funding is part of $1.2 billion earmarked in the National Quantum Initiative Act in 2018. The hubs are comprised of top research universities, other national labs and big tech companies in the quantum computing space. Paul Dabbar, under secretary for science at the Energy Department, said the private sector contributed another $340 million worth of labor, equipment, lab space and other assets to the project. The announcement also included $100 million for the National Science Foundation’s AI Research Institutes. -

Two health-tech programs opened applications: Toronto-based accelerator Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation (CABHI) and Atlantic Canadian innovation hub Volta. Called the Mentorship, Capital, and Continuation (MC2) Market Readiness program, CABHI aims to give Canadian companies direct access to the Silicon Valley ecosystem by way of its partner, California-based accelerator Berkeley SkyDeck, in order to help close “the current funding gap” for Canadian healthtech startups looking to grow and scale competitively. Volta’s second Health Challenge Pitch Event will focus on mental health and wellness. Companies will compete for $100,000 and have their tech be considered for adoption by the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA). - BetaKit


Ottawa is investing $1.25 million to support the development of the transdisciplinary CanCOVID network, established in March with the support of Canada's Chief Science Advisor Mona Nemer to facilitate rapid scientific coordination by linking the nation's research network through digital networking. The network's activities include a weekly seminar series, researcher-vetted briefing

notes, state the science reports and more. The new federal funding will support CanCOVID to establish thematic research networks and develop partnerships with other networks such as the COVID19Resources platform and the Rapid Evidence Access Link (REAL) network. - CanCOVID

Nunavut has joined Canada’s National Research and Education Network (NREN), enabling the Northern territory to connect to the CANARIE network through its host organization, Nunavut Arctic College. The addition of Nunavut completes Canada’s NREN, which now comprises all thirteen provincial and territorial partners, and fulfills the federal mandate to have a pan-Canadian research and education network. - CANARIE

Yamana Gold is joining Artemis Project, an organization established to accelerate business outcomes for female entrepreneurs in the mining and metals industry, as its founding industry sponsor. Yamana will collaborate with companies in the Artemis Project network in order to gain access to high-value female entrepreneurs and cutting-edge ideas to advance innovation and sustainability, and increase the diversity of its supply chain. - Newswire

The Government of Canada is partnering with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) employers across Canada to create 900 internship opportunities for students through the Science Horizons Youth Internship Program. The program includes specific opportunities for Indigenous graduates, graduates from rural and remote areas, and women in STEM fields. Up to $15,000 in Science Horizons funding is available to employers for each intern they hire, and interns will receive experience working on environmental projects lasting six to twelve months. - Newswire


Ron Bodkin is joining the Vector Institute to lead a new AI engineering team focused on transforming research into applications, tools, frameworks, and model templates, as well as to help industry and health care partners to adapt and operationalize these models within their organizations. Previously the Technical Director for Applied Artificial Intelligence in Google’s Cloud CTO office in Silicon Valley, Bodkin will hold the roles of VP of AI Engineering and CIO at Vector, as well as Engineering Lead at the Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society. Bodkin is the founding CEO of Think Big Analytics, a provider of integrated machine learning and data engineering services that was acquired by Teradata in 2014, where Bodkin became Vice President & General Manager of Artificial Intelligence. - Vector Institute

Vivek Goel will lead the federally-funded CanCOVID science-to-policy network in the role of Network Science Advisor. Goel is a professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health’s Institute for Health Policy Management and Evaluation (IHPME), where the network's secretariat will be based. Julia Zarb, an assistant professor at IHPME, will be CanCOVID'S academic and managing director. - University of Toronto

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