The Short Report, October 9, 2019: Digital scholarship, e-commerce, astrophysics

The University of Alberta library has opened its new Digital Scholarship Centre (DSC), featuring Western Canada’s largest touch-screen data visualization wall, podcasting and webinar equipment, 3D printers and scanners, a VR room, and high-performance computers. – Folio

University of Calgary alumnus Wayne Foo, the founding CEO of the oil exploration company Parex Resources Inc, has made a $3.24-million gift to the school’s Faculty of Science. The gift establishes five Parex Resources Innovation Fellowships, as well as one Parex Resources Visiting Innovation Fellowship, to support research that leads to startup creation and technology advancement. – UCalgary News

The Ottawa-based e-commerce giant Shopify is building a team in the Chinese city of Shenzhen. The company is recruiting a head of business development to build partnerships with Chinese brands and exporters. Analysts believe the company could also tap the massive market of Chinese online shoppers. – Financial Post

The Université de Sherbrooke opened an $11.2-million design studio to support technological innovation and entrepreneurship.The Studio de création – Fondation Huguette et Jean-Louis Fontaine offers a 2,500-sq.-m. space for experimentation and prototyping. – USherbrooke

The University of Waterloo launched the Centre for Astrophysics, a new research hub focused on observation and experimentation. With an annual budget of about $500,000, the new hub will support long-term international research projects by 13 faculty members and 30 PhD and post-doctoral researchers on the Waterloo research team. – Waterloo Region Record

Macleans magazine released its annual ranking of Canda’s best comprehensive universities. Simon Fraser University took the top spot, followed by University of Victoria and University of Waterloo. – Macleans

More than a hundred CEOs of tech companies wrote an open letter to the campaigning party leaders, urging them to develop tech policies that will help the Canadian tech sector gain better access to talent, growth capital and new customers. Organized by the Canadian Council of Innovators, the CEOs write that “Canada’s productivity is lagging and our future economic prosperity is at risk.” – CBC


Communitech CEO Iain Klugman announced that he will step down in 2021. Klugman has helmed the Kitchener-Waterloo tech incubator for more than 15 years, during a period when the number of local startups jumped from 200 to 1,400. The last year has seen a dramatic transition in the organization’s public funding, as its provincial funding was cut by 30%, while the federal government committed $52.4 million to a new scaling platform shared by Communitech, Toronto Innovation Acceleration Partners (TIAP) and Invest Ottawa. During his tenure, Klugman launched Fierce Founders, Canada’s first accelerator for women-led companies, and advocated for large-scale policy improvements like the  Global Skills Strategy. – BetaKit

As Yukon College prepares to complete its transition to Yukon University in 2021, making it the first university in the North, the institution has posted a position for YukonU’s first President and Vice-Chancellor. The school is looking for someone who “will embrace a teaching focused institution, research and the critical role of a post-secondary institution in society and the North in particular.” – Academica Careers