By Craig Bamford
Welcome to Notables for October 24, 2018!
First this week: Award-winning Canadian colleges.
On October 9th, the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics announced that Niagara College, Red River College, and Mohawk College were the gold, silver, and bronze winners (respectively) of their awards for Applied Research. The award, formally established in 2004, honours excellence in addressing real-world challenges through applied research. Niagara’s Research & Innovation division, Red River’s Research Partnerships & Innovation department, and Mohawk’s mHealth and eHealth Development and Innovation Centre(MEDIC) were named specifically for their accomplishments and advancements.
Some of the projects that were recognized by the WFCP award, along with the already-mentioned MEDIC, were Red River’s development of an all-electric transit bus that is already on the market in North America and Science of Early Child Development resources, and Niagara’s work in environmental and agricultural technologies. Niagara President Dan Patterson thanked “the efforts of our R&I faculty, staff and students who were instrumental to winning this award”, while Red River President Paul Vogt said that “it’s a wonderful celebration of the outstanding work our staff and students do every day”.
Next this week: Sidewalk Labs and data privacy
The fast-growing innovation community in Toronto is still buzzing about the upcoming partnership between Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs and Waterfront Toronto on Sidewalk Toronto, intent on redeveloping part of the eastern waterfront into “Quayside”, a new experiment in digital- and network-enabled urban planning and governance. One of the principal concerns about Quayside, however, is the data it generates. Data privacy is a large and growing concern, and the digital monitoring required for the Quayside project will create mountains of potentially compromising information. People are uncomfortable with handing that information over to Alphabet, even if it is de-identified.
Alyssa Harvey Dawson, Sidewalk Lab’s head of data governance agrees. In a post on Medium summarizing her recent presentation to Waterfront Toronto’s Digital Strategy Advisory Panel, she says that “no one has a right to own information collected from Quayside’s physical environment – ncluding Sidewalk Labs.” She proposes, instead, that the information should be under the control of an independent Civic Data Trust. All organizations that intend to collect or use urban data will have to file a public “Responsible Data Impact Assessment” with the Trust, and get their consent, with no special rules for anybody-including Alphabet and Sidewalk Labs.
Whether this will satisfy people who advocate “data residency” – that data collected in Canada should remain in Canada – is unclear, and the concerns about data privacy remain. But it shows how the conversation over privacy and data is evolving.
Finally this week: Northern Innovation!
Getting away from the hothouse environment of the Toronto tech scene, the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency announced a $900,000 investment in Yukon innovation. The money will be delivered through the Strategic Investments in Northern Economic Development program (SINED), and is intended to help support Yukonstruct as they complete the NorthLight Innovation building in Whitehorse. The new investment follows a previous CanNor contribution of $1,500,000 for the first phase of NorthLight Innovation.
The 24,000 sq ft NorthLight Innovation facility, opened on October 11th, brings together all of Yukonstruct’s collaboration centres under one roof: like Makespace, which provides access to manufacturing equipment and workshops for potential innovators, and Cospace, which provides a shared-workspace and collaborative environment for Yukon’s entrepreneurs and innovators. Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, said that “the passion, vision and entrepreneurial spirit shown by Northerners is an inspiration to all Canadians and is sure to inspire new entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial movements”; while YuKonstruct Society Executive Director Jaret Slipp said that “YuKonstruct is very excited to welcome its members, partners and the wider community to celebrate the official opening of the NorthLight Innovation facility”, and that he was “excited for a future of innovation in the north.”
Notables is a weekly collection of interesting science, technology, investment and innovation reports, press releases and other news bytes from around the web. Notables are curated and written by Craig Bamford.
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The views and opinions expressed in this piece are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of RE$EARCH MONEY.