The Short Report, July 31, 2019: Women-led businesses, medical technologies, autonomous greenhouses

Ottawa will invest up to $49.5-million into the Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network (CAAIN) for the development of AI, robotics and precision agriculture, in order to reduce reliance on temporary labour and improve profitability for Canadian farmers. CAAIN is led by Alberta Innovates, Lakeland College, and the Vineland Research & Innovation Centre out of Ontario. – Lethbridge News Now

Alberta Innovates has put several of its funding programs for entrepreneurs on hold due to uncertainty over the province’s delayed budget. “We are reviewing all funding programs at Alberta Innovates to ensure that they meet these priorities and that these programs are providing the best value for Albertans’ tax dollars,” said press secretary Justin Brattinga. – The Globe and Mail

George Brown College has partnered with robotics companies GlobalDWS and Autonetics Universe to study the potential of service robots on campus. As part of this partnership, George Brown received “Georgie” the Robot, which resides at the Teaching and Learning Exchange (TLX). – George Brown College

The 20 members of the University Climate Change Coalition, or UC3, announced a platform to fight climate change during its inaugural conference at the University of British Columbia. The universities pledge to accelerate research, lower on-campus emissions and push for progressive climate policy at all levels of government. – Vancouver Sun

A team comprised of researchers from Microsoft Research (MSR) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) has won the first international Autonomous Greenhouse Challenge to create an AI greenhouse control system that could grow a successful crop with limited resources and minimal direct human involvement. “Microsoft Research had the AI expertise, but expertise in greenhouse crop science and lighting is also needed for successful crop production. That’s where we came in,” said AAFC’s Dr. Xiuming Hao, advisor to the project. The competition was put on by Wageningen University & Research (WUR) in the Netherlands and corporate sponsor Tencent. – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

The Government of Canada announced investments totalling more than $4.5 million for women-owned or -led businesses in Saskatchewan through the Women Entrepreneurship Fund. Businesses receiving funding include Clevor Technologies Inc in Saskatoon and Destination Leadership Inc in Regina. – Newswire

A $20 million proposed project to help healthtech companies commercialize their technologies has received an initial $7 million investment from the federal government. CAN Health Network will enable startups and SMEs to work with early adopter institutions to research and develop medical technologies for market. The project will be spearheaded by Dante Morra, chief of staff of Trillium Health Partners, and Deepak Kaura, chief medical officer of 1QBit. – BetaKit

Carbonix, an Indigenous-led clean technology pilot project for capturing contaminants from industrial waste streams, has received $3.1-million from the federal government through Natural Resources Canada’s $155-million Clean Growth program. – Canadian Mining Journal


Gillian Hadfield has been named the inaugural director of the University of Toronto’s new $100-million Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society, and the inaugural Schwartz Reisman Chair in Technology and Society. Hadfield re-joined U of T’s Faculty of Law last year after teaching for 17 years at the University of Southern California. Hadfield was a fellow at Stanford’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. Her research spans different disciplines and illustrates the centre’s emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches. – U of T News

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) announced the appointment of four new council members: Dr. Susan Chatwood, Scientific Director, Institute for Circumpolar Health Research; Dr. Darren Lawless, Dean of Applied Research and Innovation, Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning; Dr. Ishwar K. Puri, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and professor of mechanical engineering, McMaster University; and Dr. Wendy Watson-Wright, Chief Executive Officer, Ocean Frontier Institute. The appointments were made under the Government of Canada’s new approach to Governor in Council appointments. – Newswire

Carleton University’s Michael Weiss has received a $560,000 grant from the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), PROMPT and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to develop an Open Source Cyber Fusion Centre. Weiss and colleagues Steven Muegge, professor in the Sprott School of Business, and Tony Bailetti, director of Carleton’s Technology Innovation Management (TIM) Program, will collaborate with industrial partners eGloo and AvanTech, as well as Concordia University.  – Carleton University