Number 12 / Volume 34 / December 23, 2020

Opinion Leader:
Alexandre Navarre

Nation-wide, standardized approach needed to manage Canadian universities’ IP

Canadian universities’ approach to intellectual property should be standardized to benefit both researchers and industry. Canada’s chief scientist and the research granting councils could take the lead in this initiative.

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CANARIE's research software development team program goes national

Research software is an increasingly critical part of the discovery process in science today. A new national program from CANARIE is funding the creation of six local teams across the country—from Simon Fraser University to Université Laval—exclusively focused on research software development.

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News Bites

News Briefs

The Short Report – Dec. 2, 2020: New investment will speed stem-cell research for Type 1 diabetes, Element AI approves American acquisition, and more


The Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes and JDRF Canada will invest $3 million each over five years for research teams to accelerate stem cell-based therapies for type 1 diabetes. The investment is part of 100 Years of Insulin: Accelerating Canadian Discoveries to Defeat Diabetes, funded by CIHR and partners, and commemorates the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin. – GoC

A consortium led by Toronto’s DNAstack has received $5.1 million to increase capacity to use genomics and biomedical data to better understand, predict, and treat COVID-19 on a molecular level. The project is funded in part by Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster. – DNAstack

The Montreal Heart Institute has decided that the ColCorona clinical trial, run out of Canada, the US, Europe, South America, and South Africa and coordinated by the Montreal Health Innovations Coordinating Center, will continue to recruit non-hospitalized adult patients with COVID-19 until the end of 2020. The study is funded by the Government of Quebec, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the United States National Institutes of Health. CGI, Dacima and Pharmascience are also collaborators. – Montreal Heart Institute

The Canadian and Yukon governments launched a research program to understand the impacts of COVID-19 in the Yukon and how best to respond. The program has made $1 million available for funding and is seeking expressions of interest for projects. – GoC


Montreal-based artificial intelligence company Element AI has agreed to be acquired by Santa Clara, CA cloud-computing platform ServiceNow. Approvals for the deal are expected in early 2021. The federal government cancelled a June 10 agreement of a conditionally repayable contribution of $20 million to Element AI that was to be made over five years through the Strategic Innovation Fund. – ServiceNow

The Canadian and Quebec governments are investing over $16.5 million in optical fibre technology to provide high-speed broadband and last-mile connectivity to reach underserved households in communities in the Nord-du-Québec and Mauricie regions. – GoC


University of Toronto’s Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society and Austin, TX-based non-profit AI Global are working together to create a globally recognized certification mark for the responsible and trusted development of artificial intelligence (AI) systems. The partnership will function as a collaboration with the World Economic Forum‘s Artificial Intelligence and Learning platform to build a universally recognized validation framework for AI tools and technologies.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic is joining the Next Generation Manufacturing Supercluster (NGEN) to collaborate on machine learning, cybersecurity and manufacturing projects, and the Internet of Things. The partnership will allow workers to take advantage of NGen’s Accelerating Manufacturing Performance Upskilling Program, which will cover 50 percent of the cost of related training. – Sask Polytech

CANARIE (Ottawa) has launched a Cybersecurity Initiatives Program to coordinate and align research and education initiatives across the country. Programs will be delivered through provincial and territorial partners in the National Research and Education Network, in which CANARIE is the federal partner. – CANARIE

CANARIE is also awarding $3.6 million to six institutions to advance research projects and productivity through local research software support. – CANARIE

The Canadian Space Agency has awarded six contracts valued at $2.9 million for the development of potential Canadian lunar science instruments through the Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program. The program was created to provide opportunities for Canadian science and technology to play a role in long-term Moon exploration. – CSA

Platform Calgary, Bioenterprise (Guelph) and TEC Edmonton are collaborating on a new program to launch Alberta-based agricultural startups. The program starts in late 2020 with funding support from Western Economic Diversification Canada. – Platform Calgary

The Government of Newfoundland will provide more than $1.6 million for eight projects at the Memorial University of Newfoundland to celebrate Research Week, November 23-27. – Government of Newfoundland

The Centre for Regulatory Innovation is now fully operational. Part of the Treasury Board of Canada, the centre promotes a whole-of-government approach to regulatory experimentation to support innovation and competitiveness, and to help regulators and the regulatory system keep pace with technological advances. – GoC

As the movement to divest from fossil fuels accelerates among Canadian universities, Lakehead University announced its intention to divest from fossil fuel holdings by the end of its strategic plan in 2023. – CBC


Colleges and Institutes Canada has released a white paper outlining how colleges, institutes, polytechnics and CEGEPS can support Canada’s economic recovery during the pandemic. – CICan

San-Francisco-based Startup Genome has released The Global Fintech Ecosystem Report 2020, which ranks the global top 20 and runner-up fintech startup ecosystems on five success factors including performance, talent, funding, focus and legacy. Toronto-Waterloo placed 12th in the rankings. – Startup Genome


Paul Rochon, the Department of Finance’s highest-ranking bureaucrat, announced internally that he will be resigning on December 14. Rochon held the position of deputy minister for six and a half years. His replacement is yet to be announced. – National Post

University of Manitoba’s Meghan Azad, Sara Israels and Soheila Karimi have been named among Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in 2020 by Women’s Executive Network. Azad (breastfeeding and maternal child health) receives the honour for Emerging Leaders; Israels (pediatrics and child health, cell biology, Research Institute of Oncology and Hematology) receives the Professionals award, and Karimi (neural regeneration and stem cell research) will receive the Science and Technology award. – UManitoba

Steven Cooke, Lenore Fahrig and Richard Yu were included in Clarivate Analytics’ annual Highly Cited Researchers List. All are Carleton University faculty, and are among more than 6,000 researchers from some 60 countries who demonstrated significant influence in their fields through the publication of multiple, highly-cited papers in the last decade. – CarletonU

Jim Luong has been named to the Analytical Scientist’s Power List for the second consecutive year. Luong works at Dow Canada’s Fort Saskatchewan ethylene facility site and is the co-leader of the Dow’s Gas Chromatography Centre of Expertise. – Analytical Scientist

The Short Report – Dec. 9, 2020: New funding for pandemic preparedness in LTC homes; a first-of-its-kind biofuel plant for Quebec, and more


The Governments of Canada and Quebec are investing more than $230 million in the design and construction of a cellulosic biofuel plant as part of the Varennes Carbon Recycling project. Quebec will invest more than $160 million while Ottawa will add $70 million through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. Canada Economic Development is granting $4 million. The project will also see investments of more than $379 million from Varennes Cellulosic Ethanol, which is supported by Shell Canada, Suncor Energy, Proman and Enerkem. – GoC


The federal government is spending more than $1.8 million to strengthen pandemic preparedness in long-term care and retirement homes. Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement and the Canadian Patient Safety Institute will lead 14 implementation science teams across Canada who will study how to keep staff, residents, families and caregivers safe during pandemics. Funding support comes from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation, the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation, the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation, and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research. – GoC

The Canadian Government has awarded $23.2 million to Colleges and Institutes Canada to train 4,000 new personal support worker interns. The program is free for trainees and includes six weeks of online training followed by a four-month paid work-integrated learning placement with an employer in long-term care or home care. – CICan

Montreal’s Aifred Health raised $4 million in seed funding to test new artificial intelligence technology in the treatment of clinical depression. The raise was co-led by MEDTEQ+ and BDC Capital, with additional support from Desjardins Group, Highline Beta and other private and institutional investors. – Cision


The Canadian Space Agency awarded a $22.8-million contract to Brampton-based MDA for the Phase A contract of the Canadarm3 program, the third generation Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based robotic system being developed for the lunar-orbiting international space station “Gateway.” with options for the follow-on phases. – MDA

The Governments of Canada and France launched the inaugural meeting of the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI), part of the GPAI – Montréal Summit 2020 organized by the International Centre of Expertise in Montréal for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (ICEMAI). AI experts and ministerial representatives from nine countries discussed how to achieve responsible AI innovation and growth in the context of human rights, inclusion and diversity. – GoC

British-based Hg Capital will assume majority control of Calgary-based corporate responsibility software company Benevity, following a $1.1-billion deal that will close in January. – Calgary Herald

Avena Foods (Regina), Big Mountain Foods and Daiya Foods (Vancouver), Bakenology (Northampton, UK) and The Village Bakery (North Wales) are partnering as part of an initiative to test and develop new applications for pulse flours, after receiving $6.3 million from Protein Industries Canada. – Protein Industries Canada

The Innovation Asset Collective, a non-profit that will help small and medium-sized clean tech businesses generate patents and protect themselves from intellectual property litigation, began operations this week after it was selected as part of Ottawa’s $30-million, four-year pilot Intellectual Property Strategy program. – IAC


Canada’s top 50 research universities posted a combined research income of $8 billion in fiscal 2019, a gain of 5.7% over fiscal 2018, according to Research Infosource. University of Toronto ($1.1 billion, down 2.2%) is the medical university leader; University of Waterloo ($240.7 million, up 13.2%) was the comprehensive university leader, and Laurentian University ($39.4 million, down 10.5%) retained first place among its undergraduate university peers. – Research Infosource

A newly released Statistics Canada analysis finds that over four-fifths of businesses that received support from Ottawa’s Business Innovation and Growth Support stream in 2018 were small enterprises, while over two-fifths of support went to large companies. Manufacturing received the largest share (29%) of the total value of support in 2018, while professional, scientific and technical services accounted for the largest share of businesses (28%) that received support. – StatsCan

A report on business trends from Statistics Canada finds that R&D is continuing its shift from manufacturing to service industries, with the greatest expenditures in information and cultural industries and computer systems design and related services. – StatsCan

Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 program winners have been announced, with Waterloo’s Intellijoint Surgical taking top spot as Canada’s fastest-growing tech company. Meanwhile, Coldwell Banker Richard Ellis’ Scoring Canadian Tech Talent report shows Waterloo is the fastest-growing major technology market in Canada. The top five tech markets overall are Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, Waterloo Region and Montreal. – Deloitte and CBRE


The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) announced its Impact Award winners for 2020. Francine Saillant took the Gold Medal, SSHRC’s highest research award, for work in medical anthropology, human rights and social justice. Robyn Maynard won the Talent Award for research on marginalization faced by Black migrants. Myriam Denov received the Insight Award for research on families and children affected by war. Jackie Dawson won the Connection Award for contributions in exploring the human dimensions on environmental change, and John Loxley received the Partnership Award posthumously for his collaborative work advancing community-based solutions to poverty in Indigenous and inner-city communities. – GoC

Michael Sabia, director of Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto and board chair of the Canada Infrastructure Bank, will become federal deputy minister of Finance on December 14. Paul Rochon, the current DM of Finance, moves to the Privy Council Office as senior official, effective December 14, 2020. – GoC



The Short Report – Dec 16, 2020: Canada signs historic space treaty, robotic warehouse tech gets a boost, and more


After pricing at US$20 a share, Vancouver-based antibody developer AbCellera Biologics opened at US$61 and closed at US$58.90 on the NASDAQ last week, giving it a market capitalization of US$15.7 billion on its first day of trading. – AbCellera, Globe and Mail

Arch Biopartners (Toronto) will receive up to $6.7 million through the Strategic Innovation Fund to advance a drug candidate that is designed to block inflammation in the lungs, liver and kidneys in severe COVID-19 cases through Phase II clinical trials. – GoC

Toronto-based oncology commercialization investment firm Facit selected new recipients of Ontario First seed capital from its Prospects Oncology Fund. Dr. Rebecca Laposa (University of Toronto; novel small-molecule inhibitors for treatment of breast cancer) and London-based startup Multi-Magnetics (photoacoustic imaging for detection of tumours during lumpectomies, led by Jeffrey Carson) are the latest entrepreneurs selected for the fund. – Facit

RRP Canada, with support from Next Generation Manufacturing, has upgraded its platform to feature products made in Canada and help businesses find quality-certified protective personal equipment and other medical products to defend against COVID-19. Platform upgrades include product manufacturing origins, enhanced quality control, and new accessibility features in both official languages. – NGEN

Research Nova Scotia will distribute over $2 million from its New Health Investigator Grant to Nova Scotia universities, providing up to $100,000 over two years to researchers who are within the first five years of their academic appointment in the province, or who are new to the field of health research. Research topics include diabetes, cancer and dementia care, preterm infant gut health, and food security during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the 2020-21 academic year, funding will be provided by the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness. – Research Nova Scotia

University of Alberta’s Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute has received $20 million from the Government of Alberta to accelerate research and commercialization of antiviral drugs and vaccines. – Government of Alberta

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada has approved Facedrive’s (Scarborough, ON) contact-tracing platform TraceSCAN, a wearable technology developed in collaboration with researchers at the University of Waterloo. – Facedrive


The Canadian Space Agency and NASA have signed the Gateway Treaty, confirming Canada’s participation in the US-led international collaboration that will see a Canadian be part of the first crewed mission to the Moon since 1972. – CSA

Particle accelerator centre TRIUMF (Vancouver) and biopharmaceutical company Fusion (Hamilton) have entered a collaborative agreement that will make it possible to increase production and delivery of a rare medical isotope that shows promise in new, cutting-edge cancer therapies.–TRIUMF 

International pharmaceutical company Servier Group is partnering with Montreal’s high-tech incubator Centech to open an international artificial intelligence (AI) hub that specializes in pharmaceutical R&D. It will be Servier’s first international AI unit, and will use Centech’s Collision Lab to accelerate the discovery, development, and deployment of new therapeutic solutions for patients. – Centech

Western Economic Diversification Canada is investing more than $2 million in Saskatoon’s tech incubator Co.Labs to expand capacity of its digital technology accelerator and incubator programming. – GoC

Through its Strategic Innovation Fund, the federal government is investing $34 million in Calgary-based robotics supply company Attabotics. The funds will advance Attabotics’ 3D robotics warehouse technologies and its supply chain system for modern commerce.– GoC

The Future Skills Centre (Toronto) and the Labour Market Information Council (Ottawa) are contributing $3 million over the next two years to pilot an open cloud-based data repository to streamline access to Canada’s skills and labour market information. – FSC

Researchers at Simon Fraser University are partnering with colleagues from Dalhousie and Carleton universities to develop artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to classify whale calls, with the goal of creating a warning system to protect endangered orcas from potentially fatal ship strikes. Citizen scientists and the Orcasound project are also contributing research. The project has received $568,000 in funding from Fisheries and Oceans Canada. – SFU

Development capital fund Fonds de solidarité (FTQ – Montreal) is renewing its partnership with life sciences venture capital firm Forbion with a $23-million investment in Forbion Capital Fund V. The FTQ has invested $1.6 billion since 1989 to support Quebec’s life sciences sector. – FTQ


Canada’s Top 50 Research Colleges are reporting a total of $227.6 million of sponsored research income in the form of research grants, contracts and contributions in fiscal 2019, according to a report from Research InfosourceCégep de Trois Rivières topped the list with $15.8 million of research income (up 50.5%), followed by Lambton College ($12.4 million; up 21%) and Northern Alberta Institute of Technology ($11.8 million; up 112%). Mohawk College and Red River College rounded out the top 5 five. Overall, research income increased at 40 colleges and declined at only 10 others, pushing the sponsored research income growth in fiscal 2019 to 28.9%. – Research Infosource

The federal government’s Industry Strategy Council, formed last May to advise government on COVID-19’s impact on industries, has issued a report summarizing and concluding its work as well as making recommendations to support the recovery and growth of key sectors. – GoC

Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute has released Labour Demand Trends During the COVID-19 Pandemic, a first in a series of reports focused on the labour market during the pandemic. Using data from the Vicinity Jobs Hiring Demand Analytics Suite, the report analyzes online job postings in the pre-pandemic and pandemic periods and discusses changes in both total job postings and changes in job postings across geography, occupations, skills, and sectors. – The Diversity Institute

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Cereals Canada have released updated wheat research priorities through to 2022. Priorities were refined through a national collaboration of farmers, federal and provincial governments, public research institutions, exporters and processors led by Cereals Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. – Cereals Canada


Ingrid Waldron and HealthCareCAN have won Research Canada Leadership in Advocacy Awards for their work in health research and innovation. Waldron received the 2020 Individual Leadership in Advocacy Award for her work examining and addressing the health and mental health impacts of structural inequalities within health and mental health care, child welfare, and the environment in Indigenous, Black, immigrant, and refugee communities in Nova Scotia. HealthCareCAN received the organizational award for advocating for federal support for the healthcare community and increasing the eligibility period for the Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF) wage subsidy. – Research Canada

Digvir Jayas, VP Research and International, University of Manitoba and chair of particle accelerator centre TRIUMF (Vancouver) will serve as TRIUMF’s interim director until early 2021, until a new director is appointed. – TRIUMF

Number 11 / Volume 34 / November 25, 2020

Mark Henderson

With the federal government’s new $2.8-billion investment in collaboration centres, Canada’s lacklustre record on stimulating collaboration in the innovation ecosystem is about to change. With a laser-sharp focus on marshalling resources and expertise regardless of their source, the country stands to derive much greater benefits from its investments in science, technology and innovation.

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Opinion Leader

COVID science has created a sea of bad data, conflicting results and exaggerated headlines. We can do better.

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a spotlight on the biomedical research process and amplified the adverse ramifications of poor public communication. We need to do better.

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Regional hydrogen nodes could accelerate Canada’s energy transition

The Greater Edmonton Region has the right ingredients to become Canada’s first hydrogen node and tap into a wholesale market potential of up to $100 billion per year, says a new report from Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Hydrogen Task Force. On the heels of the report, Ontario kickstarted the development of a provincial hydrogen strategy, which is expected to be released in 2021.

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News Bites

Number 10 / Volume 34 / October 28, 2020

Mark Mann

In this era of rapid change and economic upheaval, Canada’s leading STI organizations must balance an array of complex and urgent priorities. It’s easy to let communication take a back seat, but storytelling is essential to the success of any innovation endeavor.

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Opinion Leader

The emerging Indigenous economy is essential to Canada’s future prosperity

Amidst daily media reports of conflicts between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people on everything from fishing rights to safe drinking water, a speaker at the recent Research Money conference offered a more optimistic view on the economic potential of Indigenous engagement and empowerment.

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CanCOVID model could transform how research responds to future crises

COVID-19 has brought about new models of research coordination and knowledge mobilization that could endure long after the pandemic subsides. One of those models is CanCOVID—a virtual network where researchers, clinicians and healthcare professionals can communicate with each other in real time, and with industry and policymakers. Launched by Canada’s Departmental Science Advisor Network, it could transform Canada’s response to future crises.

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Opinion Leader

COVID-19 shows the importance of evidence-informed decision-making

While we’ve seen some encouraging steps taken in Canada during COVID-19, there are still major challenges facing science and evidence-informed decision-making.

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Translational research on spinal cord injury receives $48-million award from DARPA

Canadian researchers are a core part of an international consortium of universities, startups and nonprofit organizations that has received a $48-million, 5-year grant from DARPA focused on improving paralysis in patients who have suffered acute spinal cord injury. Dr. Brian Kwon, MD, a spine surgeon at Vancouver General Hospital, Canada Research Chair in Spinal Cord Injury and professor of Orthopaedics at the University of British Columbia, is leading the Canadian team.

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Strategic federal investment and better data needed to support clean growth, says national research institute

The federal government needs to invest more strategically in clean technologies and improve data gathering to support climate goals, clean economic growth and Canadians’ well-being, says a new report by the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices. Yet despite several challenges which include COVID-19, Canada’s clean tech industry continues to grow, speakers told Sustainable Development Technology Canada’s annual meeting.

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News Bites

Number 9 / Volume 34 / September 23, 2020

Mark Mann

Anti-science conspiracies and attitudes are waxing, not waning. The federal government must send a powerful signal to Canadians that it is following the best advice to chart a path through the pandemic. 

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Opinion Leader:
Jim Balsillie

Opinion: The banality of Canadian discourse on research commercialization

Jim Balsillie responds to expert criticism on the focus and merits of Ontario’s new IP plan. Balsillie chaired the Expert Panel on Intellectual Property for the Government of Ontario and is leading the implementation of its recommendations.

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Human genome editing is not safe for clinical use, but nations must prepare: Report

A highly anticipated report says heritable genome editing, using tools like CRISPR to create edits that can be passed down to future generations, is not yet safe enough for clinical use. But it also provides specific guidance on how nations should prepare for the eventual use of CRISPR or other gene editing tools, defining a translational pathway from research to the clinic.

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Experts are questioning the focus and merits of Ontario’s new IP plan

Some academic researchers are questioning the focus and merits of Ontario’s new IP plan and whether it’s the right policy tool to achieve the province’s economic goals. But the plan’s supporters say it will help generate intellectual property and commercialize research done by post-secondary institutions for the benefit of Ontario’s economy.

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Researchers fear National Dementia Strategy may falter

One year after the launch of Canada’s first national dementia strategy, the optimism surrounding the announcement is fading. Funding is beginning to trickle out in support of dementia awareness programs. But plans to implement the strategy, and the funding needed to fully support implementation, have yet to materialize.

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Opinion Leader:
Abdullah Snobar

Opinion: Strengthening Black entrepreneurship will boost our economy’s potential. Here’s why.

Despite its progressive image, the tech startup world is by no means immune to the problem of systemic racism. We must call on both public and private sectors to support underrepresented entrepreneurs as an explicit part of our action plan for economic recovery. 

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The Short Report – September 23rd, 2020: New climate fund aims to boost awareness and research, Iain Stewart departs NRC for PHAC, and more

Iain Stewart becomes the new president of the Public Health Agency of Canada on Sept. 28th; OnCall Health seeks to expand partnerships and customers with its new round of funding; the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program and Innovate BC sign an MOU; the Canada Foundation for Innovation appoints three new members to its board.

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By the Numbers: Canadian IP and tech transfer in focus

The last few years have seen mounting pressure on universities, innovation intermediaries and governments in Canada to take stronger action to support IP development and patent generation. Here’s a look at the current situation and stakes for Canadian IP strategies.

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The Short Report - August 26, 2020: Ottawa wants a data-driven approach to housing, federally backed Newfoundland startup launches prototype, and more

The St. John’s, Newfoundland-based tech startup Avalon Holographics launched its first-generation prototype display; the federal government will launch the first round of its $300-million Housing Supply Challenge, focused on the provision of reliable housing data; Alberta Premier Jason Kenney put Doug Schweitzer at the head of his new ministry of Jobs, Economy and Innovation; and more.

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News Bites

Number 8 / Volume 34 / August 19, 2020

Mark Mann

The vaccine candidate Ad5-nCoV that’s currently being held up from entering Canada by Chinese customs was developed using technology licensed from Canada’s National Research Council. The warning signs were all there.

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B.C.’s new Mining Innovation Roadmap aims to strengthen innovation ecosystem

The Mining Association of B.C.’s new BC Mining Innovation Roadmap focuses on strengthening the province’s mining innovation ecosystem. The Roadmap’s recommendations include creating a new “BC Mining Innovation Hub” and a mining innovation leadership position in government, and establishing a “Demonstration Mine” to test innovative technologies.

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Opinion Leader:
Alex Navarre & Peter Morand

Open Science offers economic benefits, but not without structural changes and researcher buy-in

Open Science (OS) has been presented as a better way to substantiate the transparency and integrity that scientific research commands. In view of the many expectations placed on OS, some clarifications are needed with respect to its implications and potential impact.

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The Short Report - July 29, 2020: Facebook Canada moves against online hate, Alberta rediscovers R&D grants, and more

FedDev Ontario will give $4.8 million to Trent University to create the Trent Enterprise Centre (TEC) in its upcoming Cleantech Commons; less than a year after slashing R&D tax credits and grants, Alberta’s United Conservative Party government has reversed course; Gerald Butts helps Eurasia Group with global climate policy, sustainable finance, and artificial intelligence; and more.

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News Bites

Number 7 / Volume 34 / July 22, 2020

Mark Mann

Hydrogen technology offers a way past zero-sum thinking between western Canada’s fossil fuel industry and environmentalists.

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Researchers warn of COVID-19’s outsized impact on women in science

Emerging evidence suggests a dramatic decline in research productivity among female researchers globally, especially those early in their careers who are more likely than their peers to have been juggling homeschooling and other parenting duties since the pandemic began. Academic researchers are sounding the alarm—and calling for swift action. 

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Opinion Leader:
Gordon Harling

The global electronics supply chain is shifting. Canada must act to capitalize on this opportunity.

We have everything we need to build our state-of-the-art manufacturing capability and join the world’s most advanced economies. But to become a skilled manufacturing powerhouse, it will take leadership, partnership, and commitment.

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The Short Report - July 8, 2020: A new innovation hub for Toronto, National Bank doubles down on Nest Wealth, and more

The Bank of Canada is partnering with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) to launch a BIS Innovation Hub in Toronto; National Bank of Canada’s venture-capital arm NAventures announced it will make an additional minority investment of up to $50-million in Toronto-based robo-advisor Nest Wealth; the federal government will invest $40 million over three years in the Union Training and Innovation Program; and more.

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News Bites

Number 6 / Volume 34 / June 17, 2020

Mark Mann

Brock University chemistry professor Tomas Hudlicky thought he was fighting on behalf of merit-based advancement in research and higher education. In fact, he was fighting against it.

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Opinion Leader:
Ali Ardakani

Why Canada needs a national vaccine strategy

The private sector has little appetite for manufacturing small-volume, niche vaccines for pandemic viruses. That’s why any primary manufacturing facility for vaccines like COVID-19 need to be federally owned and operated.

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Opinion Leader

Opinion: Pandemic preparedness requires a one-health approach that links human and veterinary medicine

Planning needs to begin now for the next disease outbreak, beginning with stronger linkages between human and animal research facilities.

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News Bites

News Briefs


Number 5 / Volume 34 / May 20, 2020


Expert groups called for a national and holistic approach to pandemic planning in 1993 and again in 2003. With $1-million in seed funding, the current federal government is finally moving to make a long-term research and pandemic strategy a reality.

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Feds invest $887 million to ensure reliable vaccine supply for COVID-19, other pandemics

The federal government’s investment of $887 million make Canada self-sufficient in manufacturing vaccines against COVID-19 and future pandemics, say medical and other experts. Along with Canadian-led vaccine development, Ottawa is investing in a network of small-scale vaccine manufacturing facilities that together will be able to produce enough vaccine for Canada’s population during pandemics.

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News Bites

News Briefs

The Short Report, May 6, 2020: AbCellera receives $175.6M for COVID-19 therapies; Canada contributes $850 million to global pandemic response; new “super angel” fund launches; and more

Vancouver-based AbCellera Biologics will receive up to $175.6 million from the federal Strategic Innovation Fund to fast-track antibody therapies against COVID-19. The funding will also go to build a first-of-its-kind antibody manufacturing facility over the next four years to help Canada respond to future pandemics. AbCellera has partnered with global biopharmaceutical company Eli Lilly to rapidly manufacture and distribute a treatment. The investment is part of $192 million in SIF COVID-19 funding announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau March 23. The largess of public money has raised concerns from a few researchers on Twitter, with some questioning the lack of a peer-review selection process and whether the funding is repayable. “Is this a grant or an actual investment? Does the Crown now own part of the company? It should, given the circumstance and cost,” writes Dr. Jim Woodgett, director of the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute. – AbCellera

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined other global leaders to launch the Coronavirus Global Response – an online pledging marathon running throughout May that aims to raise USD$8 billion for diagnostics, treatments and vaccines to combat COVID-19. Funds may also be used to strengthen health systems. Canada has so far committed $850 million, including for: R&D of medical countermeasures, accelerated vaccine development (e.g., Coalition for the Epidemic Preparedness Innovations), the World Health Organization Solidarity Trial, and genome sequencing. – GoC

The COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) consortium has begun working with the newly formed Canadian COVID Genomics Network (CanCOGeN) to share knowledge, lessons learned and protocols as both countries sequence and analyze the spread and evolution of the SARs-CoV-2 virus and how it affects patients. Prof. Sharon Peacock from Public Health England said the UK’s experience in this area “will help CanCOGeN rapidly develop its capacity”. – Genome Canada

The new COVID-19 Immunity Task Force is moving quickly. In its first weekly meeting, members agreed on an accelerated process that, by mid-May, will enable the scale-up of existing fieldwork on immunity. The group began setting an agenda for new immunity analyses to meet the needs of Canadian decision-makers and the general public. For example, the task force will be supporting rapid implementation of population surveys, geographies, and occupational groups, in collaboration with biobanks, blood banks, public health agencies, hospitals, others. The task force has also agreed to plan and support a program of rapid-cycle research to address questions about how immunity to the novel coronavirus develops, how strong it is and how long it lasts. – Task Force

A consortium of super angels and venture capitalists from the Toronto-Waterloo region has created an investment fund to support early stage companies. In addition to funding, the ArchAngel Network of Funds will provide access to expertise and global partner networks. The network will focus initially on supporting entrepreneurs creating solutions for the COVID-19 pandemic, before expanding to smart manufacturing, green technology and health sciences. The fund is looking to raise about $10 million and the first investments are expected to be awarded within weeks. – ArchAngel Network of Funds

The founders of the newly established Innovation Economy Council (IEC) —MaRS, Ontario Centres of Excellence, Communitech, DMZ, Invest Ottawa and the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine — have published the group’s first white paper: The post-viral pivot: How Canada’s tech startups can drive the recovery from COVID-19. Authored by former Globe and Mail columnist Barrie McKenna, the report examines how Canada’s startups are best positioned to lead Canada’s post-COVID-19 recovery, and the consequences if they are not adequately supported. – MaRS

Canada’s intellectual property marketplace – ExploreIP – has begun highlighting technologies that interested companies can license and commercialize in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Launched August 2019, ExploreIP is a free online searchable database of over 3,250 inventions held by government, academia or other public sector institutions. For more information, contact

Canada Revenue Agency is expediting claims to its Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) program to help cash-strapped companies weather the current economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. CRA posted a notice May 1 stating that, “Most refundable claims will be processed as soon as possible with minimal burden on the claimants, injecting funding into businesses that need it now to help manage the adverse financial implications of the pandemic. Claims accepted at this time may be subject to review/audit at a future date to ensure eligibility.” – CRA

The Nova Scotia COVID-19 Health Research Coalition has awarded over $1.5 million to 40 research teams focused on COVID-19 related projects. Projects include clinical sciences, delivery sciences, health systems improvement and social sciences. A few projects include COVID-19’s impact on infant feeding, burnout of front-line health care workers, dementia patients, and leveraging artificial intelligence to provide direction on how to deploy tests, vaccines or other interventions. – NS Health

The Montreal Heart Institute (MHI) Research Center has extended its COLCORONA COVID-19 clinical trial to a third Canadian province. As of April 30, Ontarians who test positive for COVID-19, but are not hospitalized, may be eligible for this contactless at-home study which is investigating whether this anti-inflammatory medication can reduce the rate of hospitalization of individuals recently diagnosed with COVID-19. There are now numerous sites across Canada, the US and Spain taking part in the trial, which is expected to expand to other provinces soon. – MHI

Vancouver-based Algernon Pharmaceuticals Inc. (formerly Breathtec Biomedical) has received the go-ahead from Health Canada to proceed with a Phase 2b/3 trials multinational clinical trial for Ifenprodil (NP-12) as a potential coronavirus therapy. Ifenprodil is a generic neurological drug developed by Sanofi in the 1970s that Algernon is hoping to repurpose as a possible treatment to reduce the number of COVID-19 patients from progressing to mechanical ventilation with intubation and death. – GlobeNewswire

In other news…

Provincial and federal investments of $4.5 million will help Edmonton-based TerraVerdae Bioworks Inc. develop new product development capacity for biodegradable industrial plastics used in agricultural, forestry, food packaging, adhesives and personal care markets. TerraVerdae’s polymer technology (polyhydroxyalkanoate or PHA) uses renewable carbon feedstock such as municipal and forestry waste or agricultural residues. Funding was provided by Alberta Innovates, Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Growth Program, Industrial Research Assistance Program and other investors. – TerraVerdae

The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors, Clean Energy Canada, the Clean Resource Innovation Network and the Petroleum Services Association of Canada have created an alliance to promote Canadian geothermal development and to create jobs in the struggling oil and gas sector. One technology being promoted is Eavor-Loop™, developed by Calgary-based Eavor Technologies. A successful demonstration project last year, supported by Natural Resources Canada, Sustainable Development Technology Canada, Alberta Innovates and Emissions Reduction Alberta, showed that the technology can be scaled up quickly and financed with little production risk. – Eavor

Ucore Rare Metals Inc., a junior exploration and technology company based in Bedford, NS, is acquiring Toronto-based Innovation Metals Corp. for $5.8 million. Innovation Metals has developed a technology (RapidSXTM) that lowers the capital and operating costs for separating critical metals, including rare earth elements, lithium, nickel and cobalt. As part of the deal, Ucore will also invest $2.8 million to further develop RapidSXTM as well as UCore’s M3 (Mine to Metal to Market) Plan of Action. – Ucore


New members have been named to the federal COVID-19 Immunity Task Force. The current list now includes: Co-chairs, Dr. Catherine Hankins, (Professor of Public and Population Health at McGill University) and Dr. David Naylor, (former president, University of Toronto); executive director, Dr. Tim Evans (director of the School of Population and Global Health, McGill University); ex-officio members, Dr. Theresa Tam (Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer); Dr. Mona Nemer (Canada’s chief science advisor), and Dr. Stephen Lucas (DM Health); leadership group members, Dr. Carrie Bourassa, Indigenous engagement lead (scientific director, Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s (CIHR) Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health), Dr. Vivek Goel (VP research and innovation, University of Toronto), Dr. Scott Halperin (professor, Canadian Immunization Research Network), Dr. Charu Kaushic (scientific director, CIHR Institute of Infection and Immunity), Dr. James Kellner (consultant in pediatric infectious diseases and professor, University of Calgary), Dr. Susan Kirkland (professor, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University), Dr. Gary Kobinger (director, Infectious Diseases Research Centre, Laval University, Dr. Mel Krajden (Medical director, BCCDC Public Health Laboratory), Dr. Richard Massé (special advisor, Government of Quebec), Dr. Allison McGeer (professor, Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology and Public Health Sciences, University of Toronto), Dr. Deborah Money (clinician scientist, Women’s Health Research Institute), Dr. Gina Ogilvie (professor, School of Population Health, University of British Columbia), Kevin Orrell (DM, Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness), Dr. Jutta Preiksaitis (professor emeritus, Infectious Diseases, University of Alberta), Dr. Caroline Quach-Thanh (lead, infection prevention and control unit, CHU Sainte-Justine), Dr. James Talbot (adjunct professor, School of Public Health, University of Alberta), and Dr. Paul van Caeseele (medical director, Cadham Provincial Laboratory, Manitoba Health). – COVID-19 Immunity Task Force

Darren Lawless left Humber College this week to join McMaster University as the assistant VP, research innovation partnerships. Lawless joined Humber in 2015 as dean of research, after several earlier positions as a senior R&D executive, and as Sheridan College’s first dean of research and innovation. At Humber he played a key role in the development of the Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation.

Dr. Erasmus Okine has been appointed interim provost and VP (academic) at the University of Lethbridge. Okline joined the university in 2015 as VP (research), during which time he grew the number of research partnerships by about 60%. Okine, a native of Ghana, completed a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science at the University of Ghana before coming to Alberta to complete a PhD at the University of Alberta. – University of Lethbridge

Dr. Gareth Hatch, CEO of Innovation Metals Corp. of Toronto, will become the chief technology officer of Ucore Rare Metals, Bedford, NS. Ucore is acquiring Innovation Metals, which has developed a technology (RapidSXTM) that lowers the capital and operating costs for separating critical metals. Ucore

Amber Lannon has been appointed university librarian at Carleton University after serving on an interim basis since January. She joined Carleton in July 2016 as associate university librarian (Academic Services), responsible for research support, research collections and other services. Previously, she held several positions at McGill University, including head librarian in the humanities and social sciences branch and acting associate dean of user services. – Carleton

The Short Report, April 28, 2020: Alarming drop in donations for health charities; Health Canada approves COVID-19 clinical trial; and more

Health charities are seeing an “alarming” drop in donations, which they warn will compromise the health of Canadians living with chronic disease. HealthPartners, a collaboration of 16 Canadian charities, released the findings in its report, The Impact of COVID-19 on our Most Vulnerable Canadians. In response to declining donations, the report says health charities have laid off staff, in some cases 30-45%, and postponed or cancelled clinical research and trials. The Canadian Cancer Society, for example, is estimating losses of $100 million this year. HealthPartners has written to prime minister Justin Trudeau asking for financial assistance. – HealthPartners

Vancouver-based SaNOtize Research and Development Corp. has received Health Canada approval to begin a multi-centre Phase II trial for front-line antiviral prevention and early treatment for use against COVID-19. Lab tests conducted by Utah-based Institute for Antiviral Research found that SaNOtize’s patented Nitric Oxide Releasing Solution (NORSTM) is over 99.9% effective against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The results were produced within two minutes. The goal is to produce ready-to-use, inexpensive and rapidly-scalable applications delivered through gargle solutions, nasal spray and nasal lavage. – SaNOtize

The University of Toronto will support 31 research projects through the new $8.4-million Toronto COVID-19 Action Fund. The projects were chosen based on their potential to have a positive impact on individuals, communities and public health systems within a timeframe of a year or less. They were selected from among 338 applicants via a fast-tracked, peer-reviewed competition. Less than 30 days elapsed between the creation of the fund and the winning projects being announced. – U of T

Stem Cell Network (SCN) is providing $675,000 for three COVID-19 research projects, which will be matched by more than $778,000 in partner funding. The projects, which include one clinical trial and two research projects led by the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and The Hospital for Sick Children, are part of SCN’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Research Initiative that was launched April 1. The additional funding for SCN was announced April 23 as part of the federal government’s $1.1-billion investment in a national medical and research strategy to fight COVID-19. The projects will begin by mid-May. – SCN

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council has launched a new funding stream as part of its Council’s College and Community Innovation Program – Applied Research Rapid Response to COVID-19. Colleges and polytechnics can receive up to $75,000 for one year, and must address topics of immediate relevance to the COVID-19 outbreak. Projects can assist industry (e.g. prototyping, enhanced production processes, data analytics) or community challenges (e.g. impact of social isolation on vulnerable populations, addressing mental health impacts of COVID-19). – NSERC

The Canadian Wheat Research Coalition (CWRC) and the Canadian Barley Research Coalition (CBRC) are urging Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) to continue farmer-funded wheat and barley research activities at AAFC’s western Canadian research stations in 2020. “We are facing an unprecedented situation with respect to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic and the safety of researchers and other staff is our top priority,” said CWRC chair Jason Lenz. “The universities and private plant breeders have found safe options to conduct their research. We’re confident AAFC can also create a plan to continue critical research and provide clarity to western Canadian farmers.” – Yorkton This Week

A new report from the Public Policy Forum, titled New North Star II, details how Canadian policymakers can navigate a new course in industrial strategy, one that builds both on its past innovation strengths and current economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Building off of last year’s seminal report on the rise of the Intangibles Economy, PPF’s newest contribution to Canada’s economic conversation proposes an industrial plan to “rebuild Canada” post COVID-19. A plan that should be starting not in two years, but in a few months,” says Sean Speers, one of the report’s authors. – Public Policy Forum

The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre in Ottawa has launched an online survey to examine the psychological, social, and financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic at various stages of the outbreak. University of Ottawa researcher Dr. Rebecca Robillard is leading the study in collaboration with scientists with hospitals and universities in Ontario and Quebec. – The Royal

Montreal-based BrainBox AI has raised $12 million to further deploy its artificial intelligence technology for buildings across North America and abroad. BrainBox AI’s solution, which combines deep learning, cloud-based computing and autonomous decision making, enables the HVAC system in a building to operate autonomously, in real-time, generating up to a 25% reduction in total energy costs, a 20-40% reduction in carbon footprint and a 60% increase in occupant comfort. The financing round was led by Desjardins Capital. – BrainBox AI

United Farmers of Alberta Co-operative Ltd. (UFA) and Zone Startups Calgary (ZSC) have partnered to support early-stage agriculture technology companies with technical and commercial validation. ZSC will identify tech companies that can address UFA and its customer’s innovation challenges, as well as provide agricultural technology companies with access to market, commercialization programming, and support. – GlobeNewsWire


The federal government has established a new COVID-19 Immunity Task Force to provide decision-makers with the data they need to understand the impact of the disease on vulnerable populations, while also leveraging new and existing lab capacity for research. The task force will operate under the direction of a leadership group tasked with establishing priorities and overseeing the coordination of a series of serological surveys (blood tests) to detect the presence of virus-specific antibodies. The task force will be supported by an external secretariat, led Dr. Tim Evans, director of the School of Population and Global Health at McGill University. The leadership group includes: Dr. David Naylor, co-chair (former president, University of Toronto); Dr. Catherine Hankins, co-chair (Professor of Public and Population Health at McGill University); Dr. Tim Evans; Dr. Theresa Tam (Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer); and Dr. Mona Nemer (Canada’s chief science advisor). – GoC

Dr. Lesley Rigg will take over as VP (Research) at Western University on August 1. The five-year term also includes her appointment as professor of geography. Rigg is currently dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Calgary. Previously she served in progressively senior roles at Northern Illinois University, including VP (Research). – Western News

University of Toronto doctoral candidate Tej Heer has joined the not-for-profit Evidence for Democracy as a senior research associate. Heer is currently finishing his PhD in physical and environmental sciences at the U of T’s Scarborough campus. His duties include updating E4D’s 2017 Oversight at Risk report on science capacity and integrity in the BC government, evaluating transparency in the development of federal government policies, and studying potential policy and regulatory solutions to minimize the harm of misinformation on our democracy. – E4D

Dr. Michael Rudnicki, scientific director and CEO of the Stem Cell Network, has been named a Fellow of the Royal Society national academy of sciences in the UK. Rudnicki was one of 10 foreign members elected this year. – Stem Cell Network



The Short Report – May 20, 2020: Last network renewals for sunsetting NCE program; New accelerator targets healthy living; Canadian health research at “elevated risk” for hacking; and more

The Networks of Centres of Excellence has awarded $80.7 million in funding to five networks – the last cohorts to be renewed as the NCE program begins winding down over the next few years. Three-year renewals were granted to: Aging Gracefully across Environments using Technology to support Wellness, Engagement and Long Life (AGE-WELL) ($22 million); Biotherapeutics for Cancer Treatment (BioCanRx) ($15 million); Cardiac Arrhythmia Network of Canada (CANet) ($15.7 million); Canadian Glycomics Network (GlycoNet) ($16.3 million); and Kids Brain Health Network (KBHN) ($11.7 million). The NCE program will be gradually transferred to the New Frontiers in Research Fund. – NCE

Following a successful pilot, Sustainable Development Technology Canada is expanding its SDTC Seed Fund, which partners with accelerators across the country to fund early stage startups in the environmental technology space. There will be four funding rounds per year, with up to 100 companies each receiving up to $100,000. Companies can later apply for additional funding from SDTC as they mature and scale. – SDTC

Innovative projects led by Indigenous women and gender-diverse individuals will be eligible to receive up to $250,000 as part of a new program launched by the Indigenous Innovative Initiative. The Advancing Indigenous Gender Equality through Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship will fund projects from all sectors and industries that promote gender equality in Indigenous communities. In addition to funding, recipients will also receive capacity building supports and access to key business networks. – Newswire

University Health Network spin-off Northern Biologics has been acquired by German-based Boehringer Ingelheim, the world’s largest private pharmaceutical company. Northern Biologics developed a portfolio of antibody-based therapeutics for oncology and fibrosis. The Toronto-based company was founded in 2014 based on intellectual property developed by scientists at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and the University of Toronto. – Northern Biologics

The Toronto-based LEAP | Pecaut Centre for Social Impact is launching a new accelerator to scale initiatives that will help Canadians move more, sit less, eat better and stop smoking. Called Healthy Futures, the centre will provide $10 million in funding and pro bono support to 11 social ventures. Funders include the Public Health Agency of Canada and the private sector. The deadline for applications is June 19, 2020. – Newswire

An Alberta-led project is seeking to detect powerful neutrinos off the coast of British Columbia. The project, a collaboration between Ocean Networks Canada, University of Victoria, University of Alberta, Simon Fraser University and the Technical University of Munich, has applied to the Canada Foundation for Innovation for funding to deploy a neutrino telescope off the coast of Vancouver Island in 2023. The Pacific Ocean Neutrino Explorer (P-ONE) would be the largest particle detector in North America and would search for light caused by the collision of neutrinos with other particles in the water. – Cybera

Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Hydrogen Task Force, an independent working group created to develop a framework to implement a hydrogen economy in the region, was officially launched May 19. Organized by The Transition Accelerator in partnership with the region’s mayors, the Task Force will produce a public report in July detailing the approach and steps needed to advance a zero-emission fuel economy in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland. The Task Force will complement work the Government of Canada is leading, with private sector stakeholders, and governments, to develop a hydrogen strategy for Canada. – The Transition Accelerator

Humber College has received $1.8 million from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council to support social innovation and design-driven analytics. The funding includes five grants from NSERC’s College and Community Social Innovation Fund intended to support college research projects in partnership with local community organizations. It also received an Innovation Enhancement grant to help Canadian colleges increase their capacity to work with local companies, particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises. Humber will use the IE grant to establish the Institute for Design-Driven Analytics. – NSERC

Edmonton-based artificial intelligence (AI) startup Social Asset Management (SAM) has raised $3.6 million to advance a technology that predicts patterns and crises before they become unmanageable. SAM uses AI to analyze open data sources from around the world to identify the earliest signals of emerging risks and potentially threatening situations. The funding round was led by Adventure Capital. – SAM



COVID-19 research underway in Canada is at an “elevated risk” for hacking, say Canada’s spy agencies. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) issued a rare joint statement warning state-backed actors have shifted focus during the pandemic and that Canadian intellectual property is “a valuable target”.  A similar alert was issued by the CSE’s Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (Cyber Centre) March 20: “Sophisticated threat actors may attempt to steal the intellectual property (IP) of organizations engaged in research and development related to COVID-19, or sensitive data related to Canada’s response to COVID-19.” The Cyber Centre also released its Top 10 IT Security Actions that organizations can take to minimize the risk of a cyber-attack. – Cyber Centre and CTV News

Canada’s agriculture sector will receive a $100-million boost with the launch of the Agriculture and Food Business Solutions Fund, launched by the federal government through Farm Credit Canada to help offset losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Established in partnership with Calgary-based venture capital firm Forage Capital Inc., the fund will provide up to $10 million to companies involved in primary production, agri-tech, manufacturing, packaging and distribution. – GoC

The Innovation Economy Council (IEC) has released its first white paper, examining how Canada’s startups are best positioned to lead Canada’s post-COVID-19 recovery and the consequences if they are not adequately supported. The report warns that the uncertainty caused by COVID-19 risks the flow of financing early-stage companies that are essential to developing products and services that will help established industries do things smarter, faster and cheaper. The IEC recommends the federal and provincial governments collaborate to implement stimulus measures that will build the physical and digital infrastructure for Canada’s future economy, and incentivize technology adoption across industries. Policies, it added, should also focus on enhancing the resilience of domestic supply chains and promote collaboration between Canadian firms. The IEC, formed by MaRS, Ontario Centres of Excellence, Communitech, DMZ, Invest Ottawa and Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine, is a coalition of industry leaders advocating on behalf of start-up ventures. – OCE

The Government of Ontario is working with Medical Innovation Xchange (MIX), Canada’s first industry-led hub for med-tech start-ups, to provide non-medical manufacturing companies free support as they retool to provide essential supplies and equipment to health care facilities during COVID-19. Companies that have received funding through the $50-million Ontario Together Fund, or a purchase order with the province, can access MIX members’ medical advisory services, including assistance navigating regulatory hurdles and increasing efficiencies. – Government of Ontario

Medicago, Quebec City, has moved closer to human clinical trials of a promising therapy against COVID-19 after its plant-based vaccine candidate induced a positive antibody response 10 days after a single dose in mice. “Once results from a second ‘boost’ dose are available, Medicago will submit a clinical trial application to Health Canada and an investigational new drug submission with the FDA in the United States to allow for the initiation of human clinical trials this summer,” Nathalie Landry, executive VP Scientific and Medical Affairs at Medicago, said in a release. Medicago estimates its current facilities in Quebec and North Carolina could produce up to 20 million and 100 million annual doses, respectively, increasing to more than one billion doses per year once its new factory opens in Quebec in 2023. – Medicago

A clinical trial has begun in London, ON of a modified firefighter’s mask that could significantly reduce aerosolization – the production of airborne respiratory droplets that may contain viruses or bacteria – when treating patients with COVID-19. Led by Lawson Health Research Institute, London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), University Health Network and General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada, the trial will assess the efficacy of the new device which, unlike invasive ventilators, helps patients breath through a mask that is customized from a firefighter’s mask using 3D printing. – LHSC

A multi-country clinical trial led by Canadian researchers is testing whether the blood thinner heparin can help improve survival for COVID-19 patients. Clinician-scientists from the University of Manitoba and the University Health Network will recruit up to 3,000 people with COVID-19 who are in intensive care, as part of a randomized clinical trial to run at 30 sites in Canada, the US, Mexico and Brazil, with other countries expected to come onboard. The trial received funding from a COVID-19 Fast Grant from the Thistledown Foundation, and an Innovation Award from the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre Innovation Committee. – University of Manitoba

Fourteen new artificial intelligence (AI) research projects will be launched to address the COVID-19 outbreak through the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research’s (CIFAR) AI and COVID-19 Catalyst Grants initiative. Each project will last three months to one year and will focus on machine learning applications to identify potential treatments, to support public health measures such as social distancing and to better understand the viral transmission of COVID-19. – CIFAR

A new report commissioned by Canada’s Chief Science Advisor Mona Nemer warns that governments need to address the technical, social, legal and ethical issues that may arise from deploying novel technologies in response to COVID-19. The Expert Advisory Group (EAG) on Society, Technology and Ethics in a Pandemic (STEP), established by CIFAR, stressed that public trust must be a key consideration when deploying new technologies like contact-tracing apps and antibody tests that could result in “immunity certificates” being issued. The report offers policymakers a framework of guiding principles and implementation advice. – CIFAR

The Southern Ontario Networks for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI) has pivoted its operations to respond to the COVID-19 crisis by building a supply of essential equipment, products and therapeutics for Canadians. For example, SONAMI member Niagara College is producing 37,000 face shields, which were designed by the college’s Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre. – Niagara College

An independent group of finance, policy and sustainability leaders has struck a new task force that will spend the next eight weeks developing recommendations on how governments can help get Canadians back to work while also building a low-carbon and resilient economy. The Task Force for a Resilient Recovery will assess a variety of potential recovery investments, including The Resilient Recovery Framework developed by the Smart Prosperity Institute. The task force members include: Elizabeth Beale, former president/CEO, Atlantic Provinces Economic Council; Barbara Zvan, former chief risk and strategy officer, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan; Don Forgeron, president/CEO, Insurance Board of Canada; Bruce Lourie, president, Ivey Foundation; Gerald Butts, senior advisor, Eurasia Group; Helen Mountford, VP Climate & Economics, World Resources Institute; James Meadowcroft, Professor, School of Public Policy and Administration and Department of Political Science, Carleton University; JP Gladu, former president/CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business; Merran Smith, executive director, Clean Energy Canada; Michael Horgan, senior advisor, Bennett Jones; Mitchell Davidson, executive director, Strategy Corp Institute of Public Policy and Economy; Mira Oreck, executive director, The Houssain Foundation; Richard Florizone, president/CEO, International Institute for Sustainable Development; and Stewart Elgie, founder and chair, Smart Prosperity Institute. – Recovery Task Force

A new report from the McKinsey Global Institute explores the potential scope and scale of the Bio Revolution, a new wave of innovation that combines breakthroughs and declining costs in biological sciences with advances in computing, artificial intelligence, and automation. Some 400 use cases are cataloged and analyzed in a variety of sectors, including human health, agriculture and food, consumer products and services and materials and energy production. Many cases have been already deployed to aid in the response to COVID-19, allowing for faster identification of the virus, more effective diagnostics and health tech tools, and new bioengineered treatments. The report’s authors will present their findings at a May 21 webinar. – McKinsey



Karimah Es Sabar has been appointed board chair of the Canadian Glycomics Network (GlycoNet), a Network of Centres of Excellence. Es Sabar is currently CEO and Partner at Quark Venture LP. Previously, she held several leadership positions at the Centre for Drug Research and Development, including president and CEO. In 2018, she chaired Canada’s Health and Biosciences Economic Strategy Table. Frank Gleeson will remain on the board as past chair. – GlycoNet

Toronto artificial intelligence company, Internet of Things (ITT) Inc., has appointed a new management team. Darryl Smith, current chief technology officer of ITT, will take on the role of CTO of AI Labs Inc., the product development arm of ITT. Electronics engineer Malcolm Rook has been named chief innovation officer of AI Labs. Robert Klein, a 20-plus year operations and technology, telecom, and consumer packaged goods industry executive, has been named ITT Inc.’s chief operating officer and Thomas Park becomes VP, government relations and regulatory affairs at ITT. – ITT

The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) and the Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) have announced the head of the new multi-technology association that will provide a unified voice for solar energy, wind energy, and energy storage in Canada. Effective July 1, the members of CanSIA and CanWEA will unite within the Canadian Renewable Energy Association under the leadership of Robert Hornung, the long-standing president of CanWEA. From his base in Ottawa, Hornung will focus on stakeholder advocacy and public engagement. – Newswire 

Fred Deys, associate dean in Niagara College’s School of Technology, died May 9 at his home in Hamilton. Prior to joining Niagara College in 2017, he worked as a computer science professor at Mohawk College before becoming a director in human resources. – Niagara College

Dr. Fred Boyd, a former physicist and engineer at Atomic Energy of Canada, died May 10 at the age of 93. Boyd worked on the world’s first Cobalt 60 radiation therapy machines, before joining General Electric to help design Canada’s first Candu-type nuclear power plant. While at Atomic Energy Control Board (AECB), now the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, he co-authored the first Canadian reactor safety requirements. Following his retirement in 1989, he became a private consultant where he continued to contribute to the development of Canadian nuclear policies. He was also publisher of the Bulletin of the Canadian Nuclear Society and a member of the Partnership Group for Science and Engineering (PAGSE). – Ottawa Citizen


The Short Report, May 13, 2020: Public trust in science rising; new COVID-19 advisory councils created; OneEleven ceases operations; and more


Canadians’ trust in doctors, scientists and the government has increased since the cornovirus pandemic began, finds public opinion polls from January and repeated on May 1 and May 2. Conducted by Proof Strategies CanTrust Index of Ottawa, the survey found that 76% of Canadians trusted doctors and 70% trusted scientists. The follow up online survey of 1,000 people saw trust in doctors jump to 87%, compared to 82% for scientists. Trust in government also increased from 33% in January to 40% in May, while trust in the media plummeted to 33% in May compared to 44% in January. – RCInet and Proof Strategies

New federal advisory councils created

Innovation, Science and Industry Minister Navdeep Bains announced the creation of an Industry Strategy Council May 8 to assess the scope and depth of COVID-19’s impact across various sectors and to provide economic policy advice to relevant federal ministers. The council will be chaired by Monique Leroux, a veteran of Canadian finance whose recent experience includes president/CEO of Desjardin Group and chair of Investissement Québec. Members of the Council will be announced in the near future and will complement the structure and focus of the Economic Strategy Tables. – GoC

Another advisory group – the COVID-19 Supply Council – was announced May 3 by Public Services and Procurement minister Anita Anand. The group advise on the procurement of critical goods and services, and on building agile supply chains for critical medical supplies. Anand will chair the new council, which will be made up of 17 public and private sector members, including Digital Technology Supercluster CEO Sue Paish and Canadian Chamber of Commerce president/CEO Perrin Beatty. A full list of members can be found here. – GoC

Superclusters respond to crisis

Health Canada has approved the first artificial intelligence tool for radiology in the fight against COVID-19. The XrAI  (pronounced “X-ray”) machine learning tool, developed by Vancouver-based IQBit and its partners, acts as a “co-pilot” for clinicians to increase accuracy in identifying lung abnormalities associated with diseases such as COVID-19 infection, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and lung cancer. IQBit received funding from the Digital Technology Supercluster to accelerate the clinical deployment of XrAI. – IQBit

Montreal-based CargoM and the Montreal Port Authority have received $500,000 from the Scale AI supercluster to develop a tool for rapid distribution of essential cargo such as medical equipment and food supplies. Developed in collaboration with Montreal startup Ivado Labs, the tool optimizes the identification and prioritization of critical cargo arriving by container. The project is among the more than 120 projects that applied to Scale AI in just three weeks. – CargoM

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster (OSC) has issued a call for proposals for its new Accelerated Ocean Solutions Program. The program will invest up to $35 million in short-term, small-scale projects that will help stimulate the economy during the current economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Project themes include: remote operations; digital/automated technologies; and environmental technologies. – OSC

The latest in Canadian COVID-19 research

The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) has teamed with CanSino Biologics Inc. (CanSinoBIO) to advance bioprocessing and clinical development in Canada of a potential vaccine against COVID-19. CanSinoBIO has applied to Health Canada for permission to conduct a clinical trial of Ad5-nCoV, a vaccine candidate developed using proprietary HEK293 cell lines from the NRC. The NRC recently received federal funding to expand the capacity of its Human Health Therapeutics lab in Montreal to accelerate clinical trials and the eventual production of a vaccine and treatments. The trials would be conducted in collaboration with the Canadian Immunization Research Network at the Canadian Center for Vaccinology. – GoC

The NRC’s HEK293 cell lines are also being used in collaboration with the University of Saskatchewan’s (USask) Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac) to accelerate the development and production of a candidate COVID-19 antigen. Animal studies at VIDO-InterVac will help to determine the antigen’s effectiveness. The NRC will also explore the use of its HEK293 cells to develop a process to scale up production of the vaccine antigen for future pre-clinical and clinical studies. – GoC

VIDO-InterVac is also working with a Saskatoon medical cannabis firm to develop a plant-based vaccine for the coronavirus. A potential antigen for a COVID-19 vaccine identified by VIDO-InterVac will be isolated by ZYUS Life Sciences Inc. in its plant expression system. By mid-summer, ZYUS plans to have extracted enough specific protein for VIDO-InterVac to determine its effectiveness in animal models. – VIDO-InterVac

Two Lethbridge, AB companies, Pathway RX Inc. and Swysch Inc., and scientists at the University of Lethbridge have found that certain medical cannabis extracts show promise as an additional treatment for COVID-19. The study’s data suggests that some sativa cultivars can help reduce the severity and complications of COVID-19. A scientific paper on the findings is awaiting peer review and the team is planning further research as well as clinical trials. University of Lethbridge and Newswire

Researchers at Lawson Health Research Institute have become the first in the world to treat a patient with COVID-19 using a modified dialysis device. In a clinical trial of up to 40 critically ill patients at London Health Sciences Centre, a modified version of a standard dialyzer will gently remove a patient’s blood, then modify white blood cells before returning them to the body to fight hyperinflammation caused by Covid-19. “The ultimate goal is to improve patient survival and lessen their dependency on oxygen and ventilation,” said lead researcher Dr. Chris McIntyre. – LHRI

An engineering team at the University of Toronto is manufacturing coronavirus proteins in hopes of accelerating COVID-19 research around the world. The 25 viral SARS-Cov-2 proteins are being made at the newly launched Toronto Open Access COVID-19 Protein Manufacturing Centre, which received support from the Toronto COVID-19 Action Fund. Led Dr. Aled Edwards, director of the Structural Genomics Consortium, the centre will rapidly produce and distribute large quantities of the proteins at no cost. Milligram batches of viral proteins currently on the market for research sell for up to $10,000. “If you’re an academic researcher, or a small company in Canada or anywhere in the world, this is cost-prohibitive,” said lead researcher Dr. Peter Stogios. – U of T

The Nova Scotia COVID-19 Health Research Coalition is investing $1.5 million in 40 projects that will inform health system decisions, facilitate vaccine development, identify novel treatments, develop devices and influence social response to the pandemic. – Dalhousie University

An Edmonton-based aerospace company has pivoted quickly to develop a COVID-19 ventilator from non-medical parts. Space Engine Systems is using parts from the space, aerospace, oil, gas and automotive sectors to manufacture the ventilator. Potential partners in the US and UK are seeking medical approval for the devices and talks with regulatory authorities in Canada are proceeding. – SpaceQ

COVID-19 Research Resources

To ensure better coordination and to avoid unnecessarily duplication of research, the British Columbia Academic Health Science Network and its three operational units (BC SUPPORT Unit, Clinical Trials BC and Research Ethics BC) have created the COVID-19 Research Inventory of current COVID-19-related research projects underway in the province, including clinical trials. – BC AHSN

McMaster Health Forum and the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute have launched the COVID-19 Evidence Network to support Decision-making (COVID-END) portal to help decision-makers and researchers find evidence related to COVID-19. The network’s activities span the full range of COVID-19 issues, from infection prevention and control, to mental health and family violence, education, employment, financial protection, food safety and security, government services, housing, public safety and justice, recreation and transportation. – The Ottawa Hospital


Google-backed Sidewalk Labs has abandoned its ambitious plans to turn Toronto’s industrial waterfront into a sensor-laden smart city. Led by Google subsidiary Alphabet and Waterfront Toronto, the $1.3-billion Quayside project had come under fierce criticism from privacy advocates. In a Globe and Mail op-ed published two years ago, Jim Balsillie, co-founder of Blackberry maker Research in Motion, called the project a “colonizing experiment in surveillance capitalism attempting to bulldoze important urban, civic and political issues”. Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff blamed the abrupt decision on the COVID-19 pandemic, saying in a May 7 statement that: “As unprecedented economic uncertainty has set in around the world and in the Toronto real estate market, it has become too difficult to make the 12-acre project financially viable without sacrificing core parts of the plan we had developed.” – Medium

The financial crisis stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed another victim – OneEleven. The Toronto-based business incubator, which is backed by OMERS Ventures, the Ontario Centres of Excellence and Ryerson University, said it is permanently ceasing operations. In a statement, OneEleven said: “As the particulars of a post-COVID world remain uncertain to all of us, there is also no doubt that a safe return to office environments will require changes to the way we work, and in particular the required de-densification of physical space will fundamentally threaten our business model.” – OneEleven and OCE

Two veteran investors have raised $7 million for a new venture firm, RiSC Capital. Scott Pelton, former general partner of Round 13 Capital, and Colin Webster, formerly of Hero Ventures, are aiming to raise $20 million for the fund, which is investing in early-stage Canadian tech companies. RiSC Capital’s first closure was led by Scott Lake, co-founder and former CEO of Shopfiy. – BetaKit

Genome Alberta is awarding $1.1 million to five projects under its Enabling Bioinformatics Solutions funding competition. Applicants were asked to submit proposals that would support the development of bioinformatic and computational approaches to help end users in the agriculture and human health sectors overcome limitations in understanding, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from genomic data being collected. Other funders in the competition include Genome Canada, the Government of Alberta and Alberta Innovates. – Genome Alberta

The BC Oil and Gas Methane Emissions Research Collaborative (MERC) has established a two-year plan to advance research on methane emissions from oil and gas activity. The research plan, a joint initiative of industry, government, the regulator and non-profits, will lead to recommendations on the design and implementation of key research deliverables necessary to meet methane reduction goals and to monitor the efficiency and effectiveness of B.C.’s methane regulations. – Pembina Institute

Olds College has become the only post-secondary institution in the world to deploy the fully autonomous DOT Power Platform as a teaching and research tool on the college’s Smart Farm in Olds, AB. The equipment is part of a three-year Smart Farm research project to understand the benefits and challenges of autonomous agricultural equipment. The project will also measure the economic and environmental footprint of autonomous agricultural equipment. The college received of $1.9 million for the project from Western Economic Diversification Canada and private partners. – Olds College

Mind Medicine Inc. (MindMed), Toronto, has entered into a clinical trial agreement with Maastricht University in the Netherlands to undertake a Phase 2a clinical trial for lysergic acid diethylamide (“LSD”) in adult patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. MindMed previously established a microdosing division to develop a portfolio of clinical trials studying the use of sub-perceptual amounts of psychedelic substances for medical purposes. Clinical trials are scheduled to take place in the Netherlands by the end of the year. – Newswire

The University of Windsor and BlackBerry Limited, Waterloo, ON, have partnered to develop and deliver a cybersecurity curriculum for the university’s Graduate Master’s Program in Applied Computing. The curriculum, called BlackBerry Bootcamp, will be taught as part of a required Network Security course, and will cover a range of cybersecurity topics, including digital identity protection and privacy, software engineering, the latest techniques of cybercriminals, and advanced threat detection technologies. It will be delivered over 10 weeks as a remote earning program starting on May 18. – Newswire


Dr. Jim Stanford is establishing a new office of the Centre for Future Work: a think tank to study how work is changing in the modern economy. The Canadian office, located in Vancouver, expands his work in Australia, where he founded the Centre for Future Work in 2016. Until 2016, Stanford was economist and policy director for Unifor (and formerly for the Canadian Auto Workers). He is also the Harold Innis Industry Professor of Economics at McMaster University. The centre’s Canadian office is being established in collaboration with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. – Newswire

Robert Roscow will become chief science officer at NewLeaf Brands Inc., a cannabidiol (CBD) lifestyle firm based in Vancouver. Roscow previously served as director of research at Ebbu, a multi-platform cannabinoid research and technology firm based in Colorado. Prior to Ebbu’s $429-million acquisition by Canopy Growth, Smiths Falls, ON, his day-to-day operations included running the world’s first cannabis genomics editing lab and improving cannabinoid yields. Following Canopy’s acquisition of Ebbu, Roscow has focused on the medical mushroom space, co-founding Mydecine Group, which is in the process of being sold to NewLeaf. – Newswire

UQAM has appointed Christian Edem Kokou Agbobli as vice-rector for Research, Creation and Dissemination, effective July 13. Agbobli has been a professor in the Department of Social and Public Communication since 2006. From 2013 to 2014, he served as vice-dean for research and creation at the Faculty of Communication. He has also held the UNESCO Chair in communication and technologies for development since 2018. He succeeds Catherine Mounier who will continue her activities as a professor and researcher in the Department of Biological Sciences. – Uqam

Dr. Bernhard Mayer, head of the University of Calgary’s Department of Geoscience, has been appointed interim dean, Faculty of Science, effective June 1, 2020, a position he will hold until June 30, 2021. An internationally known isotope geochemist, Mayer was named department head of geoscience in 2016. He previously served as assistant scientific director of Carbon Management Canada Inc. (2009-2013). – University of Calgary

Number 4 / Volume 34 / April 23, 2020

Mark Mann

Volatility in the oil market is shifting the financial calculus for institutional investors, for whom renewable projects are starting to look more and more like the safer bet.

Read More

Opinion Leader:
Margaret Dalziel

Migration and innovation are inextricably linked. We still need them both.

The migration and innovation that emerges from the devastation of the coronavirus may allow us to address social and environmental goals that have thus far seemed elusive.

Read More

Survey: Canadian universities are increasingly cutting fossil fuels from their investment portfolios

A growing number of Canadian universities, including some of the country’s largest, are significantly reducing the industrial carbon in their investment portfolios, a R$ survey shows. Less than a handful of universities are divesting specifically from fossil fuel holdings, but many schools also are using a “responsible investing” approach which considers environmental, social and governance factors.

Read More

Canada Pension Plan must divest from fossil fuels, new report argues

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, which manages the CPP’s $420-billion portfolio, should immediately divest from all fossil fuel holdings in response to the climate emergency and to reduce financial risk for current and future CPP recipients, says the lead author of a Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives report.

Read More

News Bites

News Briefs

The Short Report, April 22, 2020: Ottawa extends graduate research scholarships and post-doctoral fellowships; McGill prepares to decarbonize its investment pool; and more

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced $9 billion in financial aid for post-secondary students, who will be eligible for up to $1750 a month from May through August, to compensate for the lack of summer jobs. Students can also earn money from the federal government for volunteering. Trudeau also raised the maximum weekly amount that can be provided through the Canada student loans program in 2020-2021 to $350 from $210; added more than $75 million in additional supports for Indigenous post-secondary students; and released another $291 million to extend expiring federal graduate research scholarships and post-doctoral fellowships and supplement existing federal research grants. “The funding announced today addresses Canadian research trainees’ economic hardships due to pandemic-related closures and pressures and will help maintain our ability to compete for, train, and retain highly skilled talent,” Minister Navdeep Bains said in a statement. – CBC

McGill University’s Board of Governors received recommendations from the Committee to Advise on Matters of Social Responsibility (CAMSR) for a plan to accelerate the decarbonization of the McGill Investment Pool (MIP). The actions include removing investments from highly carbon-intensive companies, strengthening investment in clean technologies, and increasing the number of fund managers who practice socially responsible investing (SRI). – McGill

The Royal Society of Canada‘s Task Force on COVID-19 has published the first two articles in a series on the broad societal challenges facing Canadians as a result of the pandemic. The first, by RSC’s past president Chad Gaffield, discusses the challenges of relying on virtual capacity in order to support physical distancing measures; the second, by Don Redelmeier and Jonathan Zipursky, looks at public perceptions of risk during COVID-19 based on an analysis of polling data from Ipsos. – RSC

Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster announced the first investments in projects submitted to its COVID-19 Program. The supercluster is investing $60 million in solutions to health and safety problems created by COVID-19. Of the 300 submissions received, four projects have been selected for the first round of funding: a cloud-based network for secure data-sharing developed by Toronto’s DNAstack; a tool for forecasting emerging pandemics by Finger Food Advanced Technology Group; an e-grocery management system by Food-X Technologies; and a generative artificial intelligence application to identify approved medications that can be repurposed for COVID-19 treatment, developed by Variational AI and adMare BioInnovations. – Newswire

The Toronto Science Policy Network (TSPN) launched a survey of Canadian graduate students to understand how they are being affected by COVID-19, covering their experiences related to working from home, health and wellness, teaching and course requirements, research, and funding. The survey is intended to ensure the availability of evidence for efforts to support graduate students.- TSPN

The Toronto-based investor relations software company Q4 Inc raised $25 million in debt financing from CIBC Innovation Banking to grow its team, improve its platform, and pursue “inorganic growth opportunities.” – BetaKit

The federal government is tightening its foreign investment rules and more carefully examining direct investments — especially by state-owned companies or investors with ties to foreign governments — in Canadian companies involved with public health or critical supply chains during COVID-19. “As we look at challenges around supply chains for essential medical supplies and personal protective equipment, as we strengthen our own domestic industry and production, we wouldn’t want a foreign investor to be able to take that production that is being made for Canadians in this moment of crisis and send it overseas,” Trudeau said during a news conference. – The Globe and Mail

Pharmacologist Dr. Lauren Kelly (PhD), physician Dr. Ramy Saleh and colleagues launched, a Canadian patient portal that matches those seeking to participate in a research project with physicians and investigators working on trials. – Think Research

Ontario launched a COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund with $20 million to support medical research and develop tools and resources to combat COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. The investment is part of Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19. Ontario researchers are encouraged to submit proposals through the new Ontario Together website.

The non-profit organization Techlink Innovation Exchange waived subscription fees for any company that signs onto its intellectual property network in 2020. Techlink provides qualification, introduction and matching services to holders of IP, in order to ease the “deadly bottleneck in the manufacture of critical COVID-19 equipment.” Techlink also promotes cross discipline exchanges to help companies in various sub-sectors get to know each other. – Canadian Lawyer Magazine


Macky Tall was promoted to head of private equity and infrastructure at the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. Tall was a lead architect of the Réseau express métropolitain (REM) in the greater Montreal area. Tall is also the President and Chief Executive Officer of CDPQ Infra, a CDPQ subsidiary whose mandate is to plan, execute and operate public infrastructure projects. Prior to joining CDPQ in 2004, Tall held senior management positions with companies in the energy and finance sectors, namely Hydro-Québec, MEG International, Novergaz and Probyn & Company. – Journal de Montreal, CDPQ

Jane Rowe will take the new role of Vice-Chair, Investments at the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board. Rowe, who joined Ontario Teachers’ as head of private equity in 2010, will provide advice and counsel on the US portfolio. Under her leadership, net assets managed by the Equities team have grown from $11 billion to $47 billion. – OTPP

Michael Zych has been appointed independent director of Flow Capital, which provides minimally dilutive capital to emerging growth businesses. Zych is an active advisor and angel investor to the Canadian start-up ecosystem. Previously, he served as Global Head of Fixed Income, Global Banking, and Markets for Scotiabank. – MarketWatch

The Short Report, April 15, 2020: Regulators move fast to approve AI-powered x-rays for COVID-19; American lawmakers look askance at Huawei PPE donations; and more

The Fonds de recherche du Québec – santé (FRQS), the Quebec government’s health sciences research arm, will provide $2 million to help create the Centre de Recherche en Biologie Structurale (CRBS) at McGill University. The centre aims to advance understanding of the fundamental biological mechanisms of disease, which could help address medical challenges like targeting treatments to specific patients, fighting antibiotic resistance and treating neurological conditions linked to aging. CRBS brings together 38 McGill researchers based in nine different departments: biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology, anatomy and cell biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, parasitology and biology. – McGill

Regulators have approved the use of AI-powered x-ray software developed by 1QB Information Technologies Inc (1QBit) in Vancouver to identify patients with respiratory complications. The xrAI chest radiology tool received swift approval from Health Canada following expedited clinical trials in Saskatchewan. The software was accelerated because of its applicability in the treatment of COVID-19 patients. – BIV

Canadian and EU officials continued collaboration and mutual assistance to address the consular, public health and economic challenges of the COVID-19 crisis. A joint statement by Canada’s Francois-Philippe Champagne and the EU’s Josep Borrell Fontelles promised increased research and innovation funding for vaccines, therapies and diagnostics. Among other things, Ottawa and Brussels will support initiatives on data sharing for all COVID-19-related funded research at the global level. – Radio Canada International

Newsweek reported that donations of PPE and medical equipment by Huawei Technologies Co to Canada is raising concern among U.S. lawmakers. Huawei has reportedly shipped more than a million masks, 50,000 gloves and 30,000 goggles to Canada during the pandemic, and plans to send five million more masks. “This Administration’s retreat from multilateralism has been a boon for Chinese soft power,” said Virginia Senator Mark Warner (D). – Newsweek

The flexible packaging company ProAmpac signed a five-year alliance with Polytechnique Montréal to fund the university’s Sustainable, Safe and Smart Polymer Flexible Packaging program in the Department of Chemical Engineering. The agreement extends their 10-year collaboration and includes a $1-million Alliance Grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), in addition to funds from the PRIMA Quebec Advanced Materials Research and Innovation Hub. – Calgary Herald

In a new paper published by the Balsillie School of International Affairs, Ann Fitz-Gerald sets out some potential policy implications of COVID-19 for Canada in five thematic areas: economy, energy and innovation; new ways of working and social change; stability, security and multilateral actors; migration, mobility and food security; and the importance of evidence-based policy. – Balsillie School

Engineering and medical researchers at McMaster University are assisting the auto parts manufacturer Woodbridge Foam Corporation to design, test, and certify a made-in-Canada high-filtration mask to supply health-care workers during the COVID-19 crisis. – McMaster

NSUS Group, the marketing arm of online poker brand GGPoker, has donated $100,000 to Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation’s UHN Emergency COVID-19 Fund to facilitate clinical trials and support frontline staff. The donation was raised in partnership with GGPoker players; NSUS matched $50,000 in contributions by online players. – Gaming News Room

After the COVID-19 crisis delayed nearly $200 million in Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax credits for tech companies, those backlogged funds are now starting to flow. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is reportedly looking to expedite the processing of claims. – BetaKit

Ontario auto parts manufacturer Autoliv retooled its facility in just three days to shift from making airbags for carmakers to producing gowns for front line hospital workers fighting COVID-19, following an urgent request from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. – BNN Bloomberg

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has launched the College and Community Innovation Program – Applied Research Rapid Response to COVID-19, to “leverage the expertise and infrastructure in these post-secondary institutions to rapidly mobilize support and expertise related to the COVID-19 outbreak.” – NSERC

A collaborative province-wide study between the University of Calgary, the University of Alberta, Alberta Health Services, and the Government of Alberta will look at the drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as an early intervention for people who test positive for COVID-19. – University of Calgary


Phillip Stephan has been appointed new vice president of business and client development at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre in Ontario. Stephan previously held management roles at the Saskatchewan Research Council for almost a decade. Vineland is an independent, not-for-profit organization that seeks to enhance Canadian growers’ commercial success through innovation. “One of Vineland’s hallmarks is that we work closely with the industry to develop solutions addressing the sector’s challenges and Phillip will play a key role to help us strengthen and expand our efforts in this area,” said Vineland president and CEO Ian Potter in a statement. – Food in Canada


The Short Report, April 8, 2020: Mitacs steps up to help SMEs working on COVID-19 solutions; StatCan partners on ambitious business conditions survey; and more

Mitacs has launched a limited-time initiative to help SMEs working on COVID-19 solutions secure government funding, access research resources, and hire post-secondary interns. The non-profit’s 80 business development experts positioned across Canada will help SMEs complete funding applications and connect with researchers. College interns are also available to help with activities like coding, prototyping, monitoring cell cultures, managing data, and creating visual presentations of modelling. – InsightaaS

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has awarded $5 million to the University of Saskatchewan (USask) to lead a national network of Indigenous research centres. Called the Network Environments for Indigenous Health Research (NEIHR), the new $100.8-million, 16-year national program is the largest-ever single investment in Indigenous health research in Canadian history. It will be led by Dr. Carrie Bourassa, scientific director of the CIHR Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health. The national coordinating centre based at USaskwill work collaboratively with NEIHR centres in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, the Maritimes, and Canada’s circumpolar region. – USask

Three prominent philanthropic foundations in Montreal have together donated $4 million to a COVID-19 Emergency Fund for the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). The gifts from The Hewitt Foundation, the late Elspeth McConnell, and the Trottier Family Foundation will fund new research projects, provide essential resources to isolated patients, and support hospital staff. – Yahoo Finance

University of Dalhousie professors Dr. Boris Worm and Dr. Heike Lotze contributed to an international research project which found that it’s possible to reverse the damage done to marine life within 30 years, while still preserving global fisheries, tourism and climate regulation. But achieving this feat will require sustained effort and financial support of roughly $10 billion to $20 billion per year — a strategic investment, says Worm: “Every dollar is well invested because it builds ocean resilience and abundance. We have the evidence that this works.” – Dalhousie

A new article published by the Washington, DC-based think tank the Brookings Institution suggests that the current “coronavirus-related recession is likely to bring about a spike in labor-replacing automation.” Robots’ infiltration of the workforce happens in bursts, the authors say, especially in the wake of economic shocks. – Brookings

Thornhill Medical, a Toronto-based creator of portable ventilator technology, has partnered with the auto parts manufacturer Linamar to fulfill a federal contract to manufacture 500 mobile compact ventilator systems, to be delivered as soon as early April. Linamar CEO Linda Hasenfratz says the company is working day and night to start producing the ventilators at its at its facility in Guelph, Ontario. Altogether, four companies will produce 30,000 made-in-Canada ventilators for the federal government, including StarFish MedicalCAE Inc, and Ventilators for Canadians. – Yahoo Finance, Tri-City News

The Toronto-based virtual privacy network (VPN) company Tailscale raised $3m in seed funding and launched a product to help remote teams securely access services quickly using an existing identity provider like GSuite or Office365. – BetaKit

The Chinese telecommunications company Huawei has delivered over 1 million masks, 50,000 pairs of gloves and 30,000 goggles to Canada and continues to send more. In total, the company plans to donate six million masks to Canada. The gifts come as Huawei continues to seek federal approval to install 5G technology on Canada’s mobile networks, as well as the release of its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, who is being held on fraud charges. IT World Canada, Globe and Mail

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Statistics Canada are partnering to create one of the largest business intelligence surveys in Canadian history. The Canadian Survey of Business Conditions (CSBC) will examine the impact of COVID-19 on businesses, how businesses are adapting, and challenges they face now and in the recovery to come. The new survey will be in the field this week and may be repeated in the coming weeks. “The results of this survey will provide the crucial insights needed right now to navigate the way forward for Canadian businesses and governments in addressing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Anil Arora in a statement. – Markets Insider

The Compute Canada Federation (CCF) will provide advanced research computing (ARC) support for COVID-19 focused research, such as providing access to cloud resources, high-performance clusters, and storage, as well as consulting in high-performance computing (HPC), data management, data analysis, machine learning, and visualization. – ACENET

Some tech sector companies in Alberta say that Premier Jason Kenney’s singular focus on the oilpatch is prompting them to consider leaving the province, the CBC reports. While the Alberta government spends billions on Keystone XL, it has cut funding to organizations like Alberta Innovates and eliminated tax credits for innovative companies. – CBC

The multinational mining corporation Vale has launched a challenge worth US$1-million to propel innovative COVID-19 solutions into the marketplace. The challenge is open in Canada and Brazil with each selected solution eligible to receive up to US$200,000. – Canadian Mining Journal


The Short Report, April 1, 2020: EU will integrate COVID-19 stimulus with green transition; researchers team up to share resources and materials in fight against COVID-19; and more

The European Union will adapt its economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic in support of the continent-wide Green Deal adopted in December. Europe wants to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 through a growth strategy that will “transform its economy and society to put it on a
more sustainable path.” In a new statement, EU’s leaders signalled the COVID-19 response will require “a coordinated exit strategy, a comprehensive recovery plan, and unprecedented investment.” Without offering details, the forthcoming stimulus measures will match up with the green transition and digital transformation. – The Energy Mix

A group of Canadian volunteer researchers, students, activists and web developers led by Guillaume Bourque of McGill University and Tara Moriarty of the University of Toronto have joined together to create COVID-19 Resources Canada, a website to facilitate the sharing of resources, capacity and materials in the fight against COVID-19. The group aims to “support front-line healthcare workers;
expand capacities of public health and research labs; and serve as a source of expertise on COVID-19.” The initiatives include a database for finding and sharing reagents used by clinicians and researchers; a compilation of all active Canadian research into COVID-19; a platform for sharing experimental results and protocols; and a collection of links to publications, among others. – COVID-19 Resources Canada

Canadian auto parts manufacturer Magna International has developed an “ozone sanitizing device” called the Puro that it claims can kill coronavirus. The device was first tested in 2012 and proven to kill MRSA bacteria; the company is now looking for a partner to help test and validate that the device also eliminates COVID-19. – The Drive

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) joined a $2.25-billion investment round in Google‘s autonomous driving tech company Waymo. This is the largest investment by the Crown corporation in the autonomous vehicle space to date. Also joining the round was Magna International, which partnered with Waymo last year “to open the world’s first factory fully devoted to manufacturing self-driving cars.” – Electric Autonomy

A new index of comparative data on academic freedom saw the University of Toronto rank 18th globally. The second-highest ranking Canadian university was the University of British Columbia at 34th and then McGill University at 42nd. – Inside Higher Ed

Canadian post-secondary institutions like the University of Waterloo, the University of Guelph, Conestoga College, and Algonquin College are donating supplies such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators to local hospitals, as well as hospital beds, stretchers, mattresses and other equipment. – Academica

Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) is creating a $4-billion envelope to address the specific liquidity needs of Québec companies temporarily impacted by COVID-19, whether or not in CDPQ’s portfolio. Eligible companies must have been profitable before the COVID-19 crisis, have a promising growth outlook in their sector and require a minimum of $5-million of financial aid. – Globe and Mail

Montreal fintech-focused VC firm Luge Capital has assembled a collection of financial and community resources in support of the Canadian entrepreneurial system during COVID-19, encompassing government programs and startup community initiatives. – Medium

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) is providing up to $15 million through its NSERC Alliance COVID-19 grants, to support collaborations between academic researchers and the public and not-for-profit sectors, and industry to address pandemic-related research and technical challenges. Support for up to $50,000 for one-year projects is being made available immediately. – NSERC


Vianne Timmons finished her last day as president of the University of Regina on March 31 and is now beginning her role as president and vice-chancellor of Memorial University in her home province of Newfoundland. Timmons led U of R through eleven straight years of enrolment growth, which she attributes in part to her commitment to diversity. She created the Inspiring Leaders Forum, a conference focused on women leadership. Current provost and vice-president Thomas Chase will serve as interim president until the executive search to fill the role is completed. – Regina Leader-Post

Dr. Guy Rouleau received the Canada Gairdner Wightman Award for “researchers who have had a sustained career of research excellence in the health sciences at an international level and have shown leadership and achievement above those of their peers.” Rouleau is the director of The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) at McGill University, as well as the McGill University Health Centre. He has made critical discoveries in the field of genetics and neurological disease and has helped identify more than 30 genetic risk factors, novel mutation types and their effect on human health. – McGill

Gary Mar was named president and CEO of the Canada West Foundation. He previously was president and CEO of the Petroleum Services Association of Canada and was a Progressive Conservative MLA representing Calgary from 1993 to 2007. He was also the minister for international trade and Alberta’s representative in Asia and Washington, D.C. “Mar’s national and international experience will serve the Canada West Foundation in its mission to advocate for policy that is good for the West and good for Canada,” Ray Crossley, chair of the foundation’s board of directors, said in a statement. – Calgary Herald

Number 3 / Volume 34 / March 25, 2020

Mark Mann

Even as we suffer the immense consequences of the pandemic, the fight against COVID-19 has at least inspired a surge in public acceptance and support for science. But there’s a dangerous flipside to this enthusiasm, embodied in the wild promises of President Trump. We need clarity and collaboration more than ever.

Read More

Eddyfi in Quebec expands global reach with back-to-back acquisitions

Eddyfi has acquired two overseas companies that expand the Quebec City-based tech firm’s capability and reach in the fest-growing global market for non-destructive technologies and services. More than $600 million in private equity and debt financing was raised to complete the acquisitions and pursue other strategic opportunities.

Read More

News Bites

News Briefs

The Short Report, March 25, 2020: Tech CEOs implore Ottawa to protect their industry, the NGEN supercluster commits $50M to scaling up production of supplies to fight COVID-19, and more

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research launched a new COVID-19 funding opportunity for operating grants called the “COVID-19 Clinical Epidemiology Research Rapid Response.” The application deadline is this Friday, March 27, and successful applicants will be notified of the decision on April 1. The competition description emphasizes the viruses “many unknown epidemiological parameters, particularly with respect to the Canadian context,” and states that research is needed to “mobilize existing Canadian surveillance networks for timely, detailed, and systematic collection and analysis of epidemiological and laboratory data.” Such data-gathering will “inform Canada’s public health emergency response to COVID-19.” – CIHR

More than 200 tech CEOs have banded together to appeal to the federal government to do more to protect the sector from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. The tech industry drives 17 percent of the nation’s GDP and employs 11 percent of the population, they write in an open letter to ministers Bill Morneau, Navdeep Bains and Mary Ng, and “many promising new ventures that are tackling everything from climate change to cancer treatment may be forced to close their doors” due to the disruption. They offer a detailed list of proposals, including pre-payment of funding for approved projects and suspension of all employee income tax for six months. – MaRS

Apart from the $52.6 million for extramural research at universities, including $25 million from the $275 million for research included in Trudeau’s billion-dollar COVID-19 stimulus plan, the prime minister announced the details of the remaining funding for research. Biotech firms Abcellera and Medicago will share $192 million from the new Strategic Innovation Fund COVID-19 stream; the University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization – International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac) will receive $11 million “to strengthen its existing expertise in coronavirus research and to help develop a vaccine for COVID-19”; the National Research Council of Canada will receive $15 million to upgrade its Human Health Therapeutics facility in Montreal for developing, testing and scaling-up vaccine candidates; and the government will use Toronto-based digital health firm BlueDot‘s global early warning technology for infectious diseases to support modelling and monitoring of COVID-19’s spread over time. – Prime Minister’s Office

The Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGEN) supercluster will invest $50 million to support companies that are rapidly responding to the need for essential equipment, products, and therapeutics in the fight against COVID-19. Projects will be selected for funding according to critical needs identified by the Government of Canada and the ability of manufacturers to produce products that are safe for both patients and health care workers. – NGEN

Canadian scientists have started a petition to Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, to increase COVID-19 testing capacity in Canada. Started by Tara Moriarty, a professor in the faculty of dentistry at the University of Toronto, the petition states that a critical barrier to increased testing is the shortage of trained personnel, as well as problems with shortages of key equipment and supplies. While Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory is working to ensure additional testing capacity, “highly skilled scientists outside this system are prohibited from lending assistance.” Among other things, the petition asks the federal government to “allow for a temporary relaxation of regulations such that established research or industry labs can perform COVID-19 testing under the full supervision and control of public testing labs, with all required quality assurance and privacy protection measures.” –

Also at the University of Toronto, the Pathogen Intravital Imaging Laboratory, or Moriarty Lab, is signing up volunteer Canadian scientists who possess the skills to support COVID-19 testing in public health labs. – Twitter

CIFAR announced it is taking immediate action in the global response to COVID-19 by 1) working with governments to provide advice on AI applications for COVID-19-related R&D; 2) launching funding for collaborative research projects on AI and COVID-19 through its Catalyst Grants; and 3) convening interdisciplinary groups of experts who can work together on relevant research collaborations. – CIFAR

Ottawa is offering a six-month loan holiday on federal student loan payments. Enrollment in the program is automatic. The National Student Loan Service Centre said the pause on payments and interest accumulation takes effect Mar. 30 and will last until Sept. 30, the CBC has reported. Employment minister Carla Qualtrough said the repayment break could be extended if necessary. – CBC


Pari Johnston joined Genome Canada as Vice-President, Policy and Public Affairs on March 23. In the role, Johnston will provide expertise and leadership to shape and support the strategic direction of Genome Canada and work to raise awareness of the organization among stakeholders. “Now more than ever, we need science-based solutions to the major health, social and economic issues facing Canadians and the world,” she said in the announcement. Johnston held senior leadership positions at Universities Canada for twenty years, including as Vice-President, Policy and Public Affairs. – Genome Canada

Dr. William A. Ghali was appointed vice-president of research at the University of Calgary for a five-year term on March 1. Ghali is the scientific director of the O’Brien Institute for Public Health at UCalgary and a physician in the Cumming School of Medicine. Ghali’s research has focused on evaluating and improving health system performance for better patient outcomes and improved efficiency, for which he has been awarded millions in grant funding from various agencies. He has published more than 420 papers in peer-reviewed journals. He is a fellow of both the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and the Royal Society of Canada, as well as co-director of the University of Calgary World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre in Disease Classifications and Health Information. – UCalgary


The Short Report, March 4, 2019: Kirsty Duncan moves for a standing committee on science and research; Alberta cuts post-secondary education funding; Canadian miners make an action plan

Kirsty Duncan, the federal government’s Deputy House Leader and former minister of science, introduced a private members’ notice of motion in Parliament to create a new 10-member House of Commons Standing Committee on Science and Research. Ducan tweeted: “Should it pass, Canada’s research community will have a permanent place to raise their issues in Ottawa.” Duncan’s motion calls on the House to recognize that science and research are of critical importance to all Canadians; recognize that science and research are more important than ever; and affirm its commitment to science, research and evidence-informed decision-making. The new committee’s mandate would include reviewing and reporting on all matters relating to science and research, including any reports of the government’s Chief Science Advisor. There already is an existing Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology whose mandate includes studying and reporting on scientific research and development. – Kirsty Duncan

Ottawa announced a new collaborative project supported by Canada’s Protein Industries Supercluster aimed at helping organic growers and processers turn waste byproducts from the pulse processing industry into plant fertilizer. The project will take Vancouver-based Lucent BioSciences’ proprietary technology for “micronutrient fertilizers” to the manufacturing stage with partners AGT Food and Ingredients, headquartered in Regina, and 4D Labs, a research facility at Simon Fraser University. The total investment is up to $3 million, including up to $1.3 million from the federal Innovation Superclusters Initiative and $1.7 million from industry and academia. In a separate announcement, Protein Industries Canada and an industry consortium are together investing $9.25 million in a first-of-its kind project to help improve on-farm logistics and food traceability, while reducing input costs and environmental impacts, through an integrated data platform. – Protein Industries Canada

The Government of Alberta’s 2020 budget cut funding for universities and colleges by 6.3 %. Total operating expenses for the Advanced Education department went from $5.5 billion to $5.1 billion. In 2018-19, post-secondary schools funded 43% of operating expenses and government funded 58%. By 2022-23, 48% will come from post-secondary institutions and 52% from government funding. Jobs cuts that began in 2019-20 with 300 positions eliminated across the province’s post-secondary institutions will continue, with another 398 job cuts estimated for 2020-21. Last year’s budget saw provincial grants to both the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary cut by 6.9%. The cuts, which averaged 5.1% across 26 institutions in Alberta, totalled $117.6 million in 2019. – Edmonton Journal

The Government of Ontario is increasing funding by $1.8 million to Indigenous-governed institutes in the province, to help them provide high-quality education that responds to community and local labour market needs. Ontario supports nine Indigenous institutes with operating funding to provide postsecondary education and training for more than 1,200 Indigenous learners. – Government of Ontario

The first “action plan” under the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan (CMMP) aims to bolster the competitiveness of Canada’s mining sector and includes specific measures to establish Canada as “the leading mining nation in the 21st century,” says Seamus O’Regan, federal Minister of Natural Resources. Action Plan 2020 was introduced at the 2020 Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada Convention in Toronto. Canada’s ministers responsible for mining agreed to pan-Canadian initiatives under each of six strategic directions identified in the CMMP. – CISION

The Ontario government’s Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) awarded Cementation Canada Inc. $88,355 to further develop a patented system that uses a pump-driven pipeline loop to transport ore and waste rock from underground mines to the surface. Called  “Injection Hoisting,” the technology provides an alternative to trucking or traditional hoisting ore and waste rock to the surface. It’s designed to reduce a mine’s operating and ventilation costs as well as greenhouse gases associated with trucking. – Bay Today

Colleges and Institutes Canada and not-for-profit Mitacs signed an agreement to create up to 1,000 work-integrated learning Mitacs research internships for students from CICan member institutions across Canada over the next five years. The partnership, which includes research supported by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, leverages both the extensive footprint and the longstanding relationships colleges and institutes have with community partners and local industry across the country, including rural and northern communities. Since Mitacs first launched a pilot project with college and institute students last year, 53 internships have begun from 18 institutions in nine provinces. – Colleges and Institutes Canada

The Department of National Defence’s Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) program awarded TerraSense Analytics in Kelowna, B.C. a $977,439 contract that will fund the next phase of the company’s “Multimodal Surveillance & Tracking” (MIST) product, an advanced airborne surveillance system that uses artificial intelligence. Designed with input from airborne sensor operators in the Canadian Armed Forces and around the world, MIST uses deep learning to improve operator situational awareness and enable analysts on the ground to search and recall precise moments from thousands of hours of footage in an instant. TerraSense Analytics’ team will spend the year working with engineering researcher Zheng Liu at the University of British Columbia and Erik Blasch of the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research to develop and test a working prototype of MIST, using real aircraft, onboard sensors and targets. – CISION

The total number of research and development personnel in Canada remained essentially unchanged in 2017 compared with the previous year, according to Statistics Canada. There were 235,350 full-time equivalents, a marginal decline of 100 FTEs compared with 2016. However, there was a larger decline in the business enterprise sector, which was offset by growth in the higher education, federal government and private non-profit sectors. While the business enterprise sector experienced a decline in R&D personnel for the second consecutive year (down 1.6% to 144,570 FTEs), the federal government sector had its first year-over-year growth (6.8% to 12,610 FTEs) since 2009. The increase was the result of more R&D researchers across several departments and agencies, including Natural Resources Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Statistics Canada, and the Department of National Defence. The largest growth in R&D personnel in 2017 came from higher education, which increased by 1,140 FTEs to 74,350 FTEs. –The Daily, Statistics Canada

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) awarded seven contracts worth a total of $4.36 million to five companies and one university to advance concepts for nano- and micro-sized rovers, as well as autonomous science instruments, as first steps toward landing and conducting Canadian science on the Moon’s surface. Companies receiving contracts: ABB (Quebec); Bubble Technology Industries Inc. (Ontario); Canadensys Aerospace Corporation (Ontario); Magellan Aerospace (Manitoba); and Mission Control Space Services Inc. (Ontario). Western University’s Institute for Earth and Space Exploration (Western Space) will receive $690,123 to develop an Integrated Vision System that will be used to identify the geology of the lunar surface and for rover navigation. Western Space is collaborating with MDA Vision Systems and Sensors to develop the technology. CSA’s Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program has earmarked $150 million over five years to help Canadian SMEs develop new technologies that could be used and tested in lunar orbit and on the Moon’s surface. – Canadian Space Agency

Innovative Solutions Canada awarded a contract to INDENTOS in Toronto to test the company’s mobile security platform with Health Canada for patient digital access, with testing to be done at North York General Hospital. Currently, patients across Canada aren’t able to access digital data or leverage mobile health applications, partly due to lack of consent and security infrastructure to support compliance. INDENTOS says its technical solution enables patient authorization and consent, with data encryption that supports a connected and scalable digital health program to hospitals. The contract will enable INDENTOS to evaluate its platform for national scale and ensure it addresses the digital access needs for Canadian healthcare. – CISION

 Bioindustrial Innovation Canada (BIC), based in Sarnia-Lambton, ON, opened a new regional office in Brockville, ON. BIC, with a recent $15-million contribution from the Federal Economic Development Agency in Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), has developed the Ontario Bioindustrial Innovation Network. The network will continue to support the growth of the Hybrid Chemistry Cluster in Sarnia-Lambton and enable the launch of a new Sustainable Chemistry Cluster in Eastern Ontario’s St. Lawrence Corridor region centred around Brockville and Maitland. – Canadian Biomass

Greg Rickford, Ontario’s Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, affirmed the government’s commitment to developing small nuclear reactor (SMR) technology. His comments came after meetings with officials and nuclear industry leaders at the Canadian Nuclear Association’s annual conference. In December 2019, Ontario, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan signed an agreement to collaborate on developing and deploying SMRs. Rickford said Ontario Power Generation and Bruce Power will continue working with SaskPower and NB Power to develop a feasibility report and business case for SMR development and deployment in three provinces. The work will include identifying viable technologies for near-term and longer-term SMR deployment and providing full market analysis for these technologies. Nuclear energy provides more than 60% of Ontario’s power. – NetNewsLedger

Montréal-based nventive, a mobile and web app development studio, acquired Cortex, a digital innovation studio in Québec City, to create one of Canada’s leading independent innovation companies, with nearly 200 employees, and campuses in Montréal and Québec City. nventive provides support and guidance to enterprises in their digital transformation, with more than 1,000 cloud integration, mobile and web applications. – CISION

Networking and telecommunications company Ericsson and Carleton University announced a new multi-year partnership to advance research and industry-ready expertise in 5G wireless networks. The Ericsson-Carleton University Partnership for Research and Leadership in Wireless Networks will fund research projects, graduate student internships, an Ericsson fellowship program, and experiential learning opportunities for computer science and engineering students. The partnership also will establish a new centre of excellence and associated laboratories for 5G wireless networks research in Carleton’s new ARISE building. – Carleton University

CQDM, a biopharma-based research consortium based in Montreal, and the Canadian Glycomics Network (GlycoNet) formed a strategic partnership to identify and co-finance biopharmaceutical research projects in glycoscience across Canada. The partnership aims to support development of novel technologies in drug discovery, accelerate scientific talents across Canada, and advance Canada’s position as an international leader in healthcare innovation. CQDM includes several leading pharmaceutical companies, the Quebec government’s Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation, and the federally supported Business Led-Networks of Centres of Excellence program. – EurekAlert


Sid Paquette, former senior Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement Systems (OMERS) venture-capital investor, joined Royal Bank of Canada to lead a new technology and innovation banking group. RBC declined to share specifics on the strategy for Paquette’s group or amount of capital he’ll oversee. The group “will focus on a more holistic approach to supporting our clients by complementing our financing offerings with industry-tailored business advice and solutions that go behind traditional banking to support their broader growth aspirations,” said Greg Rice, RBC’s executive vice-president, business and financial services. Paquette, a managing partner and founding team member of OMERS Ventures in 2011, left OMERS on Dec. 31, 2019 — one of a string of recent personnel changes within OMERS’ private capital investing operations, including last month’s exit of global private equity head Mark Redman. – The Globe and Mail

Alison M. Macfarlane will become the new director of University of British Columbia’s School of Public Policy and Global Affairs in the Faculty of Arts, for a five-year term starting July 1, 2020. She comes to UBC from George Washington University, where she’s professor of science policy and international affairs, director of the Institute for International Science and Technology Policy, and director of the International Science and Technology Policy Master’s program at the U.S. university’s Elliott School of International Affairs. Macfarlane takes over as director of UBC’s School of Public Policy and Global Affairs from acting director Maxwell Cameron, a professor of political science. – University of British Columbia

The Government of Canada has launched an open selection process to fill the position of president of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). The current president is Ted Hewitt, who was appointed in March 2015. SSHRC’s president is the chief executive officer, reports to Parliament through the minister of Innovation, Science and Industry and works closely with the SSHRC Governing Council. The president also plays an important role as a member of the Canada Research Coordinating Committee, and builds and maintains effective collaborations with university, college, industrial, and government partners. Online applications, to the Governor in Council and ministerial appointments webpage, are encouraged by March 22, 2020. – Government of Canada


The Short Report, February 26, 2020: Transatlantic AI projects; multiplying ocean startups; scaling in the Big Apple

Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and Susan le Jeune d’Allegeershecque, British High Commissioner to Canada, announced 10 winning projects in the Canada-UK Artificial Intelligence Initiative, a $13.6-million program jointly funded by Canada’s three major research funding agencies and four research councils in UK Research and Innovation, the UK’s national R&D agency. Canada is contributing $5 million and the UK £5 million over three years to bring together interdisciplinary university teams from both countries to advance AI for several health care applications, to counter hate speech online, reduce bias in job hiring, and for self-driving vehicles. Canadian universities in the winning projects include McGill University, University of Toronto, University of Ottawa, University of Alberta, University of Manitoba and Simon Fraser University. – Science Business

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster launched the $6.8-million Ocean Startup Project, aimed at increasing the number of quality, ocean-focused startup companies in Atlantic Canada. The project will engage entrepreneurs; identify academic prospects with high commercialization potential; develop solutions with global market potential; attract female-led, Indigenous-led and international startups; and award grants to companies. The project brings together six of Atlantic Canada’s leading incubators, accelerators and support organizations: Genesis, Creative Destruction Lab, Innovacorp, New Brunswick Innovation Foundation, PEI BioAlliance, and Springboard Atlantic. Canada’s Ocean Supercluster provided $3.9 million for the project, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency $535,000, and up to $2.4 million from the Atlantic provincial governments and the six project partners. Canada’s Ocean Supercluster

Concordia University’s District 3 (D3) innovation hub and New York-based Ellis Accelerator have partnered on a new D3 “Global X” program, NYC District, to help Canadian startups in the Big Apple. D3 startups can scale their global business through access to office space, market testing labs, mentorship, funding, housing, training and referrals to trade commissioner services in Manhattan’s business district. Gisleine Silverira, former head of international partnerships for D3, is now in New York to help 15 D3 startups shortlisted for the NYC District program. D3’s Global X initiative has a goal of securing 30 foreign partners in 20 different markets to support more than 100 Canadian startups in expanding globally. University of Concordia

Innovation Solutions Canada is inviting Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises to propose innovations that address two government challenges, both involving digitized documents. Successful applicants may receive up to $150,000 to develop a proof of feasibility and, if accepted into Phase 2, SMEs could receive up to $1 million to develop a working prototype. “Our government is using its purchasing power to help small businesses innovate and become more competitive,” said Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. ISED

ENCQOR 5G (Evolution of Networked Services through a Corridor in Quebec and Ontario for Research and Innovation) has signed memorandums of understanding with six telecom providers in Canada. They are Bell, Cogeco, Ecotel (Ambra Solutions), Rogers, Telus and Vidéotron. Under the agreements, ENCQOR 5G will work with small and medium-sized enterprises in Quebec and Ontario to develop innovative solutions using the 5G pre-commercial test platform offered by ENCQOR 5G. The ENCQOR 5G initiative is funded by the governments of Canada, Quebec and Ontario, along with industry players Ericsson, Ciena, Thales, CGI and IBM. ENCQOR 5G

Centennial College in Toronto is collaborating with construction services company EllisDon, and design firms DIALOG and Smoke Architecture, to construct the first zero-carbon emissions, mass timber higher-education building in Canada. The $105-million, 150,000-sq-ft expansion project, to form a new gateway structure at Centennial’s Progress Campus, will embody the college’s commitment to Truth and Reconciliation and sustainable design when it opens in 2023. The design, based on the concept of “two-eyed seeing” (viewing the world through the lenses of Indigenous knowledge and Western knowledge), brings the cultures together in both form and function. Centennial College

Innovative Solutions Canada has awarded a $435,000 contract to Leonovus Inc., an Ottawa-based software provider, to help deliver data storage infrastructure though multi-cloud computing. The contract, involving Justice Canada and the Department of National Defence, includes rigorous testing of Leonovus “Vault” software, a secure multi-cloud data controller that manages data storage on-premises and across multiple public clouds. Also to be tested is Leonovus’s new “Smart Filer” technology, which facilitates the automatic transfer of file data to Leonovus Vault. Leonovus Inc.

Fanshawe College’s Centre for Research and Innovation (CARIB) in London, ON, has signed an agreement with Guelph-based Bioenterprise, Canada’s leading agri-tech commercialization accelerator, to support Canadian startups and SMEs to drive economic growth. Bioenterprise will help connect innovative companies from across the country to the technology and resources offered through Fanshawe’s CARIB laboratories. Agri-food is the fastest-growing subset of London’s manufacturing sector, with more than 7,000 people employed by over 90 companies, including Dr. Oetker, Natra, Original Cakerie, McCormick and Labatt. Fanshawe College

Lauak Canada will establish an advanced technology aeronautics centre of excellence at the company’s Mirabel factory in Quebec, with financial support from the federal government. Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, announced $3 million, through Canada Economic Development’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program, as a repayable contribution to Lauak Canada. Lauak Canada specializes in manufacturing tubes to transport fuel, water, air and liquids feeding various airplane systems. The company plans to expand its factory, acquire Industry 4.0 digital equipment, and equip a research office responsible for developing innovative products and processes. Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions

Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced a federal investment of $560,000 over three years in the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) to develop the Canadian Agri-Food Sustainability Initiative. The new initiative will provide an online national platform for Canadian farmers and processors to proactively meet the growing demand for proof of sustainability from customers. With the support, the CFA will create a single window for data on the sustainability of the Canadian agri-food supply chain. The initiative also will serve as a hub to benchmark and track the sustainability of the Canadian agri-food industry compared with international standards. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada


Andrew McCormack, Payments Canada’s chief information officer, will lead a new fintech unit for the world’s central banks. The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) named McCormack as the head, for a three-year term starting in April, of its new innovation hub in Singapore. At Payments Canada, McCormack was responsible for the country’s core payments systems and its technology strategy. The BIS is setting up similar units in Hong Kong and Switzerland to enable collaboration among central banks on innovation. Investment Executive

Penny Wise has been appointed the president of 3M Canada. Wise, who holds an MBA from York University, brings more than 20 years of international experience at 3M, including senior leadership roles in business, commercialization, brand and corporate marketing. In her most recent role based in St. Paul, Minnesota, Wise led 3M’s largest business as global marketing director of the Safety and Industrial Group. She succeeds former 3M president Lars Hanseid, who has taken on a new role as 3M’s vice-president of Europe, the Middle East and Africa corporate affairs and governance. 3M Canada

Alex S. Wilner, assistant professor at Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, is leading a new research program focused on how artificial intelligence might be applied as a deterrent to military adversaries. His research is funded through the Department of National Defence’s Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) program. AI “could improve the certainty and severity of a coercive message” designed to affect the behavior of an adversary, Wilner says. Carleton University News

Kari Harvey is the new chief executive officer of Innovation Saskatchewan. Harvey has more than 25 years in the public service, including senior leadership roles in the Ministries of Agriculture, Health and Intergovernmental Affairs. Most recently, she was the acting CEO and chief operating officer of Innovation Saskatchewan. Innovation Saskatchewan



The Short Report, March 18, 2020: Canadian researchers take first steps to a COVID-19 vaccine, University of Alberta announces drastic cuts, and more

Canadian innovation hubs are closing their doors and instituting work-from-home policies to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Invest Ottawa, MaRS Discovery District, Communitech, and OneEleven in Ontario have imposed restrictions, along with Volta in Atlantic Canada. Many, like Montreal’s Founder Institute and Startup Edmonton, are moving their programming online, offering webinars and virtual meetups to replace their public events. – BetaKit

Alberta Health Services has developed an online self-assessment tool to help people check their symptoms for signs of COVID-19. After going live on March 13, the tool has already been used over a million times. Alberta is sharing the code with other provinces who want to make their own versions, including Yukon, Nunavut, Prince Edward Island and Ontario, as well as the Canadian Armed Forces; British Columbia and Saskatchewan have already followed suit. – Globe and Mail

A team of researchers in Toronto has isolated and grown copies of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the agent responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. Isolating the virus is an essential step in developing treatments, vaccines and tests for the virus. “We need key tools to develop solutions to this pandemic,” said Dr. Samira Mubareka in a statement. “While the immediate response is crucial, longer-term solutions come from essential research into this novel virus.” The team is made up of scientists from Sunnybrook Hospital, McMaster University and the University of Toronto. – CTV News,

Father and daughter researchers Alyson Kelvin (39) and David Kelvin (65), from Halifax, are both working on solutions to COVID-19.  A virologist working at Dalhousie University, Alyson has been seconded to the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization – International Vaccine Centre in Saskatoon to test vaccines in lab animals, while David, a Dalhousie professor, is working on a portable test kit to identify the severity of the illness for people who test positive for the virus. Alyson says that the pursuit of infectious disease solutions is a family passion. – National Observer

The University of Alberta eliminated 400 positions and could cut another 600 in the coming year, due to government funding reductions. “Over the last four months we have received a reduction in government funding in the order of $110 million,” university president David Turpin said at a news conference. “We are restructuring programs, we are focusing on administrative savings, we are changing our academic programming — last year alone we cancelled 30 programs and there will be more coming.”  The cuts are part of a 20 percent reduction in funding for Alberta’s 26 postsecondary institutions over the next three years. – CBC

California higher-ed tech company Raftr is offering its messaging and notifications platform free to colleges and universities, to ease disruption and dislocation as a result of COVID-19 concerns. The service enables immediate communication between universities and their students, faculty, and staff. The company is making the service available free of charge until July 1, 2020. – Financial Post

The University of Toronto and Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay) are partnering to create an entrepreneurship program to strengthen ties between the innovation ecosystems in Canada and India. A key component of U of T’s new Entrepreneurship Centre in Mumbai, the program will offer exchange opportunities for new entrepreneurs, support research collaborations and develop a two-way innovation talent pipeline. – U of T

The Government of Québec will give $15 million in funding over five years to the Institute national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) to support scientific research collaboration between five schools in the Université du Québec network, in Chicoutimi, Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Rimouski, Outaouais and Trois-Rivières. The funding will focus on research in strategic sectors, including advanced materials, health, and cybersecurity. – UQuebec

Ben Spigel from the University of Edinburgh Business School and Tara Vinodrai from the University of Toronto have published a research paper on the ‘recycling’ of people, capital, and ideas in Waterloo after the decline of Blackberry in 2008. The authors found that “alumni of this firm engaged in very little high-growth entrepreneurship, instead entering the ecosystem as technology employees at high-growth scale-up firms.” – Taylor & Francis Online

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) has released a new Call for Proposals for Assessments by the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA), in order to identify up to four assessment topics that the CCA will tackle, starting in April 2021. The deadline for government departments to send their assessment topic ideas to ISED is March 30. – CCA


Mary Wells has been named the University of Waterloo’s next Dean of the Faculty of Engineering. Currently serving as Dean of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Guelph, Wells is an accomplished materials engineer and recognized both for her strategic leadership and her work in attracting, engaging and retaining women in the engineering industry. Wells previously spent ten years as a faculty member in the University of Waterloo’s mechanical and mechatronics engineering department, where she chaired the Women in Engineering committee for many years. She was Chair of the Ontario Network of Women in Engineering from 2013 to 2018. – U Waterloo

The Short Report, March 11, 2020: Anonymizing research applications mitigates gender bias; Superclusters spend a fraction of their budget; Athena Pathways aims to train 500 women in AI

Three maritime research projects led by researchers at the Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR) have received more than $3 million in funding through a joint international funding initiative between the Agence nationale de la recherche (ANR) in France and the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ). The projects address issues related to sustainable ocean transport, the effects of shipping on aquatic life, and climate change adaptation. – UQAR

New research by Stefanie K. Johnson and Jessica F. Kirk indicates that anonymizing can mitigate gender bias in the review of scientific research applications. The authors found that “when indications of candidates’ gender (such as their first name) were removed from applications for time on the Hubble Space Telescope, women were selected at a higher rate than when their gender was obvious.” – HBR

Staples Canada launched a concept store in Ottawa on March 7 that includes coworking space called Staples Studio and an “enhanced services space known as Solutionshop.” Staples Studio is intended to serve Ottawa’s entrepreneurial community with amenities like a collaborative workspaces and a podcast studio. – Benzinga

The Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) only spent two thirds of its $3.3-billion budget in the 2018-2019 fiscal year, including money earmarked for programs such as Connect to Innovate and the Superclusters Initiative, according to ISI’s annual results report. For example, of its $244-million budget, the Superclusters Initiative only spent $5.6-million. The unspent money could be reprofiled for future years, but critics say the delays indicate larger problems with the innovation agenda’s design. – The Globe and Mail

Vancouver healthtech company WELL Health Technologies Corp. has launched VirtualClinic+, a telehealth services platform available to Canadians and free to people in B.C. The company has ramped up the program in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. An estimated 4.8 million Canadians are currently without a family doctor. – WELL Health

Innovation minister Navdeep Bains told CBC that Canada “won’t get bullied” by other jurisdictions in making a decision about Huawei and 5G networks, and will instead make its own “independent decisions based on [its] own analysis.” Bains made the statement just days before top 5G advisor to the Trump administration Robert Blair met with officials from Public Safety, National Defence, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and the Department of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development, among others, to discuss America’s security concerns over Huawei. – Mobile Syrup

Ottawa-based AI company Mindbridge acquired the UK accountancy tech firm Brevis Limited. Mindbridge offers risk detection for the financial services space, using a combination of machine learning and artificial intelligence to detect anomalous patterns, unintentional errors, and intentional misstatements. The company raised $29.6 million last year, of which $14.5 million came from the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) to support a $140.8 million project to create a data analysis tool. In August, Mindbridge hired former chief information officer to the federal government Alex Benay as its chief client officer, though Benay left shortly after to go to KPMG as its partner of digital and government solutions. Mindbridge says the Brevis acquisition will help grow its customer base in the UK and Europe, and includes Brevis founders and principals, Stuart Cobbe, Sam Zalin-Miller, and Daniel O’Sullivan. – BetaKit

Canada’s International Trade Minister Mary Ng participated in a kick-off event for York University’s ELLA (Entrepreneurial Leadership & Learning Alliance), an accelerator program supporting 54 women entrepreneurs from York Region and the Greater Toronto Area. The federal government is providing $1.8 million in funding for ELLA, led by Innovation York. Shopify has signed on as the premier partner in support of the program. – YorkU

Athena Pathways is partnering with the Digital Technology Supercluster, University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) and Northeastern University to train 500 BC women in AI in 18 months. Led by the Artificial Intelligence Network of BC (AInBC), the project aims to increase BC’s pool of scientific and technical expertise and make it more inclusive, while delivering real value in the form of trained interns, workers and executives to businesses. – BCIT

The McMaster Innovation Park (MIP) is expanding to include TorStar’s 258,000-square-foot Spectator Building to make space for what it calls a Life Sciences Megahub. “We’re realizing the true social and economic value of our research and helping to grow the region’s life sciences cluster. Our researchers are spinning out companies, creating jobs, and attracting investment and industry to the Park,” said Karen Mossman, McMaster‘s acting vice-president of research. The completed park will employ 5,000 people and span 2.5 million square feet of space. The redeveloped Spectator property won’t target startup companies but rather mid-market, high-growth companies with 40 to 100 employees. – McMaster, The Spec

Patriot One Technologies has received a contract from Innovative Solutions Canada to provide its PATSCAN Multi-Sensor Covert Threat Detection Platform to Correctional Service Canada (CSC), deploying in March 2020 at an undisclosed location. – Newswire

Ontario has awarded $3.57 million to the University of Waterloo to support 29 research projects. Wilfrid Laurier University also received $247,000 for four projects. The funding is part of the province’s plan to invest $38 million into 183 research projects across the province through the Ontario Research Fund. – The Record

Ottawa startup GBatteries announced it will receive up to $3 million through the Breakthrough Energy Solutions Canada program, an initiative backed by Natural Resources Canada, BDC and Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a fund that aims to advance clean energy innovation in Canada. GBatteries uses artificial intelligence to optimize the charge rate of electric vehicles. Nine other winners were announced on February 12, including Intelligent City Inc. from Vancouver, which builds energy-efficient family housing, and BIOME from Toronto, which improves wind energy production at existing wind farms. – Ottawa Business Journal

Genome BC launched its 2020-2023 Strategic Plan, which builds on the downward trend of cost and time to read DNA, the development of portable sequencers. Anticipating profound uptake and application of genome sequencing technology, the organization is looking forward to a rapidly expanding field of business and research that includes interdisciplinary approaches involving artificial intelligence, computational biology, blockchain and other emerging disruptive technologies. Genome BC will continue to leverage provincial investment with co-funding from partners to “drive the acceleration of research and translation into new products, services and systems.” – Genome BC


Matthew Mendelsohn is joining Ryerson University as a visiting professor, after four years heading up a “results and delivery” unit in the Privy Council Office. In his role as deputy secretary to the Cabinet, Mendelsohn was tasked with instilling a “deliverology” approach — popularized by Michael Barber in the UK — to helping the Liberal party fulfill its commitments. Mendelsohn’s Impact and Innovation Unit created Impact Canada, designed to “accelerate the adoption of innovative funding approaches,” and which is currently developing over $700 million in outcomes-based funding initiatives. Mendelsohn served as deputy minister in the Ontario government from 2004 to 2009, and directed the Mowat Centre at the University of Toronto from 2009 to 2016. – The Province