The Conservative Party of Canada unveiled its plan to strengthen the country’s innovation performance as part of its 2021 election platform. Highlights include: creating a new Canadian Advanced Research Agency, headquartered in Calgary, that will invest $5 billion over five years in targeted sectors (hydrogen, small modular reactors, space, electric vehicles, pharma research and production); introducing a “patent box” regime to halve the tax rate on income earned on home-grown patents and covering up to $10,000 for administration and legal costs of patents to offset patent filing costs for small and mid-sized companies; creating a tax credit for buying from a Canadian start-up; using government procurement to support Canadian start-ups; transferring administration of the SR&ED program from Canada Revenue Agency to the Industrial Research Assistance Program; reviewing all government innovation programs to ensure all innovation spending benefits Canada; introducing the use of flow-through shares for tech companies; not taxing Canadian start-ups on stock options; ensuring western provinces get a fair share of federal funding for university research; strengthening Canada’s vaccine research, trials and manufacturing capacity; and developing new high containment lab capabilities for infectious diseases. Read Research Money for continued coverage of each party’s innovation platforms. – Conservative Party
More than 330 university research projects have received $77 million through the Canada Foundation for Innovation – $59,463,888 through the John R. Evans Leaders Fund, with an additional $17,839,166 awarded under the Infrastructure Operating Fund. A full list of awards, including institutional and provincial breakdowns, is available here.
The Government of Canada is investing $61.5 million in the next phase of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) – $52 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and $9.5 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation. Hosted at McMaster University, the CLSA supports a national team of researchers who lead research sites across Canada to ensure the collection of data from CLSA participants until 2027. The next application deadline to access the CLSA data is Sept. 8. – McMaster
The National Research Council is awarding more than $23 million to advance 114 research projects under its Ideation Fund initiatives, Challenge programs and the Supercluster support programs. Among the awards: $1.6 million to develop intelligent road freight maps as part of the AI for Logistics Supercluster (University of Manitoba), $1.14 million to develop atypical fermentation platforms as part of the Ocean and Sustainable Protein Production Supercluster (PEI BioAlliance) and $602,190 to develop a chewable lollipop-like device a platform for non-invasive detection of viruses in saliva (University of Toronto). – NRC
Protecting British Columbia’s fish and seafood sectors is the impetus behind a $10.23 million federal investment in 12 new projects. Funding under Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund will support research and other activities that safeguard wild Pacific salmon and grow the BC fish and seafood sector. Recipients include the University of British Columbia, not-for-profits, private companies and Indigenous organizations. – GOC
Canada and the UK have teamed up to support 18 mental health innovations in 14 low- and middle-income countries. The $4.4-million investment through the Global Health Program will support seed projects that will serve as models that can be replicated, scaled or provide lessons for other low-resource settings. Projects are primarily led by community-oriented organizations. Partners include the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care, Global Affairs Canada and Grand Challenges Canada. – GCC
In related news, $2 million in Health Canada funding will go to help improve the mental health of Indigenous children in Canada. The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute will use the funding to improve access to the Aaniish Naa Gegii: the Children’s Health and Well–being Measure app. Developed in partnership with the Naandwechige-Gamig Wikwemikong Health Centre, the app provides children with a safe mechanism to talk about their spiritual, emotional, physical and mental wellness. The digital tool will be scaled-up to other First Nations, Inuit and Métis organizations and communities across the country. – GOC
An Inuit-led pilot program was awarded $3.45 million over two years to guide marine conservation and management in the Qikiqtani Region of eastern Nunavut. The new funding from Fisheries and Oceans Canada will enable the Qikiqtani Inuit Association to expand the Nauttiqsuqtiit (Inuit Stewardship) Pilot Program in the community of Sanikiliuaq. The program will provide employment opportunities, and support Inuit-led research and monitoring activities to ensure Inuit knowledge is used to inform marine management in Qikiqtait (Belcher Islands). – GOC
As per its commitment in Budget 2021, the federal government is renewing its partnership in the JDRF-CIHR Partnership to Defeat Diabetes, which funds clinical trials and translational research to accelerate the development of novel treatment approaches for people with type 1 diabetes. The $15-million award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research will be matched by JDRF Canada and its donors. The government is currently working to establish a national framework for diabetes. – GOC
The government’s regional development agencies made several funding announcements just prior to the writ being dropped, triggering the beginning of the Sept. 20 federal election. Among the announcements:
- Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions: $7.8 million to four mining companies (Corem, Polyplast, HydroTech Mining Inc. and Les Entreprises Parlec ltée) to advance research and innovation in the mining sector, $6.5 million to the Université de Sherbrooke to establish a circular energy efficiency platform, $593,880 for the Centre d’innovation en microélectronique du Québec, $293,500 for the Accélérateur de création d’entreprises technologiques and $198,000 to life sector startup ImmuniT.
- Pacific Economic Development Canada: $3.5 million to the University of British Columbia’s BioProducts Institute for the development, scale-up and production of sustainable bioproducts.
- The government also announced the creation of two new regional development agencies: Prairies Economic Development Canada (Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba) and Pacific Economic Development Canada (British Columbia). They replace Western Economic Diversification Canada, which was established in 1987.
The Ontario government is investing $7 million in 49 research projects at the University of Guelph to support more sustainable agricultural practices, protect livestock health and welfare, and stimulate economic growth within the agri-food sector and Ontario’s rural communities. The investment is made through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance, a collaboration between the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs and U of G. – Ontario government
Affordable housing research has received $844,000 from the National Housing Strategy’s 2021 Research and Planning Fund, administered by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. The fund is supporting seven projects, including overcoming barriers to housing on reserves, barriers to black homeownership in Canada, and securing the right to housing for racialized refugees. – CMHC
Mitacs and Germany’s GSI Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research have partnered to support German and Canadian doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows at host-country research institutions. GSI Darmstadt becomes the third Helmholtz centre after Forschungszentrum Jülich and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology to partner with Mitacs. The Mitacs-GSI exchange mobility program will boost existing partnerships and help build future scientists and leaders for the operation of science facilities like the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research. Mitacs and GSI’s three-year agreement will support up to 36 researchers. – Mitacs
TRIUMF and Fusion Pharmaceuticals Inc., a clinical-stage oncology company with operations in Boston and Hamilton, have entered the next phase of their $25-million collaboration agreement for the development, production and supply of actinium-225. TRIUMF will receive funding from Fusion to further develop technology to produce actinium-225 and in return Fusion will have rights to the resulting alpha-emitting medical isotope. Fusion recently entered into an agreement with McMaster University to build a 27,000 square foot current Good Manufacturing Practice compliant radiopharmaceutical manufacturing plant designed to support manufacturing of the company’s growing pipeline of targeted alpha therapies. – Fusion
NEW FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES
The federal government has followed through on a 2019 Budget commitment to launch a new Strategic Science Fund. Jointly administered by Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Health Canada, the Fund represents a new approach to supporting third-party science and research organizations such as Genome Canada or the Stem Cell Network. Funding will be awarded through a transparent, competitive, peer-reviewed process based on the advice of an independent expert review panel. Calls for letters of intent will be open until late fall 2021 and will be guided “by a principles-based framework and the advice of an independent expert review panel”. – GOC
Natural Resources Canada’s Office of Energy Research and Development has issued its first call for proposals under a new seven-year, $319-million program. First announced in Budget 2021, the program supports research, development and demonstrations to advance the commercial viability of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies. This first call supports Front-End Engineering and Design studies for CCUS projects that have the potential to significantly mitigate emissions. The deadline for Expressions of Interest is Sept. 22. – NRCan
Infrastructure Canada has announced a call for proposals under its $6-million Research and Knowledge Initiative. Up to $600,000 per project per year will be awarded. The goal is to strengthen the development and use of community-level data and research in informing evidence- and results-based approaches to public infrastructure programs and community investments. The deadline for applications is Oct. 25, 2021. – GOC
Nicole Arbour has returned to Ottawa to take the helm at the Belmont Forum, an international partnership that mobilizes funding of environmental change research. As executive director, Arbour works with the Forum’s co-chairs, steering committee, members and partner organizations to deliver on the Belmont Challenge, supporting and promoting international transdisciplinary research. She was most recently external relations manager at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria and previously held senior posts with the National Research Council (senior advisor, International Relationships) and the UK’s Science and Innovation Network in Canada (team lead). – Belmont Forum
Dr. Jens Dillings has left Canada’s particle accelerator centre, TRIUMF, to become director of Institutional Strategic Planning at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, the US Department of Energy’s largest multi-program science and energy laboratory. Dillings worked at TRIUMF for 20 years, including nearly six years as the associate lab director (ALD) of the Physical Sciences Division. Dr. Petr Navratil, deputy ALD for Physical Sciences Division, has stepped in to serve as interim ALD. – TRIUMF