Numbers

Number 11 / Volume 35 / November 17, 2021

Editorial:
Sebastian Leck

COP26 indicates an accelerating timeline for the transition away from fossil fuels. Moving faster in Canada while avoiding short-term harm will become increasingly complex, writes Research Money’s managing editor Sebastian Leck.

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Declining enrolment driving changes in oil and gas university programs

Students’ concerns about climate change and sustainability — along with dropping enrolment in some oil and gas academic programs — are driving a shift in engineering and energy programming by universities in oil-producing Alberta and Newfoundland to encompass all forms of energy, sustainability and the global energy transition.

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Canadian philanthropists sign onto pledge to fund climate change action

As world leaders meet to hammer out a new green deal at COP26, philanthropies across the country are committing to taking action on climate change. They are signing onto the Canadian Philanthropic Commitment to Climate Change — a first-of-its kind funder pledge — that calls on all funders to act on climate change, regardless of their missions.

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Opinion Leader:
Dr. Ulrik Kristensen, PhD

Opinion Leader: Canada’s early focus on artificial intelligence is starting to reap commercial benefits

Canada’s early contributions and long-standing academic expertise in artificial intelligence are now generating growing funding for and revenue in AI in drug development, but the country’s AI-enabled drug development industry faces significant challenges in coming years, Dr. Ulrik Kristensen, PhD, founder and principal analyst at UK-based Emersion Insights, says in an op-ed.

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Number 10 / Volume 35 / October 20, 2021

Editorial:
Sebastian Leck

After a tight federal election in September, much of our reporting this last month has touched on the quest to build networks of partners and programs that work together in a virtuous cycle, writes Sebastian Leck, Research Money’s managing editor.

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Q&A with Nizar Ladak, CEO of the Digital Research Alliance of Canada, on integrating digital research infrastructure

Research Money spoke with Nizar Ladak, CEO of the Digital Research Alliance (formerly the New Digital Research Infrastructure Organization), created in 2019 to integrate and improve digital tools for Canadian researchers. We discussed the new organization’s journey and how it can ensure that Canadian researchers have the digital tools they need to tackle society’s problems today and in the future.

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Opinion Leader: A Canadian DARPA will need an enabling ecosystem to succeed

As Canada and other countries look to the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as a model to drive innovation, it is vital to recognize that DARPA isn’t simply a “plug and play” model but requires a supportive, integrated ecosystem and an enabling culture, says Dr. Camille Boulet, PhD, senior partner at Global Advantage Consulting, in an op-ed.

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Number 9 / Volume 35 / September 23, 2021

Editorial:
Sebastian Leck

On the face of it, little has changed after the votes were counted for the federal election on Monday. Yet the election introduced new innovation ideas and promises, and will constitute somewhat of a restart for the Liberal government.

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By the Numbers: R&D in Canada's aerospace industry

Canada has the fifth largest aerospace industry in the world and 93 percent of Canadian aerospace firms export products to other countries. But aerospace employment and share of GDP have been decreasing since 2012, according to research on the sector.

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Q&A: Quebec's Chief Scientist shares lessons on science advice during a pandemic

Global leaders in science advice and science diplomacy will come together next week in Montreal to discuss how to “Build Back Wiser” after the COVID-19 pandemic. Research Money spoke with Rémi Quirion, Chief Scientist of Quebec, about how the pandemic has shaped science advisory systems globally, and how INGSA2021 could contribute to creating stronger and more dynamic ties between scientists and policymakers.

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Opinion Leader:
Carl Martel

Policy change and more innovation needed to reap the benefits of industrial cannabis

Policy change and more innovation are needed for Canada to realize the many benefits of industrial cannabis, including its nutritious food value, its ability to reduce carbon emissions and its potential for energy storage, says Carl Martel, an independent scientist and founder of the Ottawa-based Advanced Botanical and Biomass Research Institute, in an op-ed.

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Number 8 / Volume 35 / August 18, 2021

Editorial:
Sebastian Leck

It’s official: Canada will have a federal election on September 20. The election appears to be Trudeau’s election to lose, but it will still offer opportunity to debate the Liberals’ track record and popularize new ideas in the innovation space, writes Sebastian Leck, Research Money’s managing editor.

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New digital research infrastructure organization announces first funding opportunity

Canada’s New Digital Research Infrastructure Organization (NDRIO) — created in 2019 to fix a system that has been described at “fragmented, oversubscribed and underfunded” — has announced its first funding program. The new national not-for-profit organization says it will spend $20 million to build national research capacity and create a “broad and integrated” Canadian digital research infrastructure ecosystem.

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Opinion: Embracing community-based research principles can achieve equity in health outcomes

The largest community-academic collaborative study of women living with HIV in Canada shows that embracing community-based research principles can help achieve equity in research process and health outcomes, Dr. Angela Kaida, PhD, Associate Professor of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University, and Valerie Nicholson, Indigenous Peer Researcher at the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, say in an op-ed.

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Number 7 / Volume 35 / July 21, 2021

Editorial:
Sebastian Leck

International science collaborations have never been more active than during the pandemic. The sharing of scientific information across borders — from genomic datasets to open-access journal articles — has allowed for rapid progress in the fight against COVID-19 that would otherwise have been hamstrung.

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Opinion: Addressing Canada’s digital divide requires equitable access to data

Canada needs to address inequities in who has access to the power and promise of data science and advanced analytics, including by supporting training for grassroots, charitable and community organizations to collect, access and manage data, Kelly Nolan, an external affairs and equity, diversity and inclusion expert based in Ottawa, says in an op-ed.

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Opinion Leader:
Wilf Keller

National climate plan needs to focus on foundational public research and transformative Canadian technologies

Canada’s national climate plan needs a complementary approach focused on long-term public research and innovation to develop transformative Canadian technologies, including novel approaches to carbon management, Wilf Keller, Vice-President, Outreach at the Agri-food Innovation Council, says in an op-ed.

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Canada and EU deepen research partnerships as Horizon Europe talks enter new phase

As the global geopolitical landscape shifts, Canada and the European Union are deepening bilateral cooperation on research and innovation. At the EU-Canada Joint Summit in Brussels in mid June, leaders announced new partnerships on health, the oceans and raw materials, and agreed to launch exploratory discussions on Canada joining Horizon Europe, the EU’s new €100-billion research program. 

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Number 6 / Volume 35 / June 23, 2021

Editorial:
Sebastian Leck

A recent IEA report indicates that it will be critical to develop new clean technology in the next decade, writes Sebastian Leck, Research Money’s managing editor.

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Government 'can and should pick winners' to grow scale-up companies, says federal advisor

In a recent report for the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship, Sheldon Levy, special advisor to the federal minister of small business and export promotion, argued that government should identify and support select firms with high potential to become global competitors. “There are many countries that have to pick their laneway and can’t be the best at everything all the time,” Levy told Research Money.

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How Canada can upskill its workforce after the COVID-19 pandemic

The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has created the perfect conditions to consider new, innovative approaches to rapidly upskill and redeploy domestic talent, say AJ Tibando and Arvind Gupta, the executive director and the CEO of Palette Skills, respectively, in an opinion piece.

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Opinion Leader:
Michal C. Moore

Canada needs to invest in the energy infrastructure of the future, not the past

It is time for Canada to abandon a 100-year-old energy model built on inexpensive hydrocarbons and plan for an energy system that will be dominated by electricity, Michal C. Moore, research fellow at Cornell University and professor emeritus at the University of Calgary, says in an op-ed piece.

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Number 5 / Volume 35 / May 19, 2021

Editorial:
Sebastian Leck

Too often, the products of science and research done within Canada’s borders ends up being sold or commercialized elsewhere. But there’s been a strong effort in the last few months to attempt to reverse the decades-long trend, writes Research Money’s managing editor Sebastian Leck.

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MaRS innovation hub hits pause on plan to expand to Calgary

The Toronto-based MaRS Discovery District innovation hub has hit the “pause button” on expanding to Calgary after more than a year of discussions with the University of Calgary and other players in Calgary’s innovation ecosystem. However, MaRS says it will continue working with and supporting Alberta companies during the scale-up stage from its Toronto base.

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Today’s energy infrastructure can provide tomorrow's clean energy

Western Canada’s oil and gas industry is ideally positioned with the knowledge, assets and personnel to develop clean geothermal energy as part of the global transition to low-carbon energy, writes David Yager, an entrepreneur who has been a founder, executive and director of three oilfield service companies.

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Opinion Leader:
Perry Kinkaide

Canadians needs to embrace the entrepreneur to make Canada a leader in the digital economy

Canadians needs to “embrace the entrepreneur” and invest in the innovation ecosystem to make Canada a leader in the digital economy, says Perry Kinkaide, a former public servant, corporate executive and manager of Kinkaide Enterprises Inc., in an opinion piece.

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New funding approaches could address gender disparities, peer review bias: Council of Canadian Academies

Creative funding models and other innovative tools could help Canada’s research funding agencies address issues such as gender disparities, peer review bias and inequitable funding for researchers and institutions, says the chair of a new expert panel report by the Council of Canadian Academies. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada commissioned the report as part of NSERC’s planning process for its new long-term strategic plan.

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The Short Report - May 5, 2021: Federal government invests in vaccine uptake, Carleton U embarks on aging project, $5 million for new ocean supercluster projects, and more

This week in The Short Report, the Canadian Association of Science Centres receives funding to address vaccine misinformation while U of T targets strategies to reduce fear of needles; the University of Alberta receives industry funding to bolster wheat-breeding capacity, the Rideau Hall Foundation recognizes excellence in innovation, and more.

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News Bites

Number 4 / Volume 35 / April 28, 2021

Editorial:
Sebastian Leck

The 2021 federal budget undoubtedly provided large and much-needed investments to Canadian science and technology. However, the federal government needs to better articulate its industrial policies and strategy, writes Research Money managing editor Sebastian Leck.

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Q&A: Evidence for Democracy's Rachael Maxwell on Budget 2021 and listening to the science

Rachael Maxwell, the new executive director of Evidence for Democracy (E4D), recently released an analysis of the federal budget, which noted promising investments in sectors like quantum tech and genomics but argued that the country needs a national science strategy. Maxwell spoke to Research Money this week about the federal budget, why relationships are most important in developing evidence-based policies, and how she views her organization’s role in the science ecosystem.

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After billions in funding, Strategic Innovation Fund failed to improve Canada’s innovation performance, experts say

Nearly $3.4 billion in federal spending through the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) during the last three years has failed to improve Canada’s “disastrous” innovation performance and productivity, say some innovation and policy experts. An analysis by Research Money of SIF data shows that Ontario, Quebec and foreign-based firms have received the lion’s share of SIF funding.

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The Short Report - April 21, 2021: SIF gets $7.2 billion in 2021 federal budget, BC budget invests in new strategic fund, Biden's funding surge, a boost for the Stem Cell Network, and more

The 2021 federal budget gives a big boost to the NRC’s Industrial Research Assistance Program, BC budget provides $500 million to new fund for tech startups, US President Joe Biden proposes funding surge for federal research agencies, Canada’s Stem Cell Network to receive $45 million dollars for regenerative medicine therapies, and more.

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Life sciences organizations ask Ottawa for national strategy following Sanofi investment

A group of 19 health sciences organizations and associations asked for a “coherent” life sciences strategy and increased collaboration this Monday in an open letter addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The letter follows a $415-million federal investment into a partnership with French pharmaceutical manufacturer Sanofi to build an influenza vaccine manufacturing facility in Toronto.

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The Short Report - April 14, 2021: Alberta invests in vaccine R&D, Ottawa brings wireless tech to mining industry, CIB shores up Ontario's energy grid, and more

In this week’s The Short Report, the Government of Alberta contributes $20 million for vaccine R&D, a Canadian Infrastructure Bank invests in Ontario’s energy grid, 5G wireless tech to increase safety and reliability in the mining industry, Palette Skills leads consortium to address talent gaps in a post-COVID economy, and more.

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Opinion Leader: Federal funding for energy efficiency must tackle impact on low-income Canadians

The federal government’s upcoming budget needs to address the problem of “energy poverty” as an urgent priority, Kirsten Pulles, Community Organizer for Efficiency Canada, says in an op-ed. This includes funding low-income energy efficiency programs, making meaningful reductions in energy use, and training and hiring lower-income, rural and racialized Canadians to do the energy efficiency upgrades and outreach work, she says.

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Opinion Leader:
Maria Pacella

It’s time to build a foundation for more equitable entrepreneurship, economic growth and innovation

The COVID pandemic showed that society is capable of dramatic and rapid change when the situation calls for it. In the current social environment, similar action is needed to turn women’s increasing wealth into a foundation for more equitable entrepreneurship, economic growth and innovation, says Maria Pacella, the managing partner at Pender Ventures, in an op-ed.

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The Short Report - April 28, 2021: COVID-19 data portal goes live, Protein Industries Canada launches new phase of plant-based food plan, Carleton funding bolsters ecosystem conservation, and more

Genome Canada’s portal for tracking variants of concern across Canada is up and running; a Carleton biology team gets support for bolstering ecosystem conservation; Protein Industries Canada starts the second phase of plans to boost plant-based foods, feed and ingredients; a briefing from the Royal Society of Canada calls on federal leadership to stabilize the postsecondary sector; and more.

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New COVID-19 portal aims to nationalize genomic data sharing

Canada is poised to launch a national portal that will provide a near real-time snapshot of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic across Canada, including the detection and spread of variants of concern. It will also establish the national data infrastructure Canada needs to track future pandemics.

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BHER Roundtable concludes national innovation challenge to boost COVID-19 recovery

The Business and Higher Education Roundtable wrapped up its first Canada Comeback Challenge this month, a national challenge meant to shore up opportunities for students and support economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic. Student projects included a mining data platform, a wayfinder algorithm for visually-impaired users and a policy program to encourage flexible work policies.

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The Short Report - March 31, 2021: Canadian government invests $925 million in biomanufacturing, funding for variants research, a new digitalization centre, and more

Ottawa announces major funding to expand Sanofi Pasteur’s Ontario facility for domestic biomanufacturing and vaccine preparedness; there’s new funding support for COVID-19 variants research and a new national network, and Siemens launches its first centre to accelerate the digitalization of energy and infrastructure in Canada.

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News Bites

Number 3 / Volume 35 / March 24, 2021

Opinion Leader:
Michael J. Strong

As fight against COVID-19 continues, we must prepare for the next health crisis

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) will be supporting the creation of a new Centre for Pandemic Preparedness and Health Emergencies, CIHR president Michael J. Strong says in an op-ed.

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Opinion Leader:
Marc Spooner

Performance-based funding for universities is an unsound policy that sounds good

Performance-based funding proposed by some provinces for post-secondary institutions uses flawed indicators and hasn’t worked in other jurisdictions, Dr. Marc Spooner, PhD, professor of educational psychology at the University of Regina, says in an op-ed. “How governments can, in good conscience, ignore the damage these models have caused in other jurisdictions where they have been unsuccessfully implemented is difficult to understand.”

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Canada needs a targeted industrial strategy to improve innovation performance, experts say

Canada’s continued poor performance in innovation and business productivity is due to a failure to link publicly funded research and innovation programs to an industrial strategy based on the country’s strengths, say innovation experts. Meanwhile, studies by University of Toronto researchers show the federal innovation agenda has negatively impacted funding for basic, investigator-driven research but hasn’t addressed the underlying problem of industrial innovation in Canada.

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The Short Report – March 17, 2021: Canadian government invests heavily to bolster biomanufacturing, D-Wave Systems gets funding for quantum tech, Canada’s largest study on aging gets a top-up, and more

The Government of Canada seeks to bolster Canada’s biomanufacturing capacity, D-Wave receives $40 million to accelerate Canada’s quantum technology development, the federal government invests in Canada’s longest-ever study on aging, Quebec’s Lion Electric gets ready to break ground on a new battery manufacturing plant, and more.

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Oil and gas innovation network has yet to spend $80 million of federal funding for cleaner technologies

A pan-Canadian oil and natural gas innovation network has yet to spend the bulk of $100 million of federal funding on commercializing new, cleaner technologies, two years after Ottawa announced the funding and seven months after a contribution agreement was signed. The Clean Resource Innovation Network, which aims to produce the world’s cleanest hydrocarbons, plans to announce details of its planned three technology competitions by end of March 2021.

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Opinion Leader:
Bill Greuel

Canada can be a leader in plant-based foods if we take a coordinated approach

Canada is well-positioned to become a leader in meeting the growing global demand for plant-based foods and ingredients, but needs a coordinated effort to increase ingredient processing and food manufacturing in the country, Bill Grueul, CEO of the Protein Industries Canada supercluster, says in an op-ed.

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New federal budget could include funding for a quantum institute as global race for quantum tech heats up

When Budget 2021 drops on April 19, some of Canada’s quantum researchers and entrepreneurs will be holding their breath. That is because the Standing Committee on Finance published a budget recommendation in February urging the federal government to “financially support the establishment of a quantum computing research institute in the Toronto area, similar to the Vector Institute.”

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The Short Report – March 24, 2021: Genome Canada creates data portal to address COVID-19 variants, Suncor invests US$25M in carbon capture tech, a national agriculture network, and more.

Genome Canada launches a SARS-CoV-2 data portal to consolidate variants of concern data in one place, Calgary’s Suncor Energy invests in carbon capture technology to offset GHG emissions, Government of Canada invests $185 million in an agricultural program to share best practices for storing carbon, and more.

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New 10-year CIHR strategy focuses on health equity, Indigenous research and knowledge mobilization

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research has released a strategic plan that calls health equity “the most pressing health-related challenge in our country” and charts a course toward reducing health inequalities across Canada over the next decade. Researchers say inadequate funding and low success rates continue to be major problems, which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis, and also need to be addressed.

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News Bites

Number 2 / Volume 35 / February 24, 2021

Editorial:
Sebastian Leck

This month, Canadians learned that we’re lagging far behind other countries in vaccinating our citizens. Canada’s struggle to secure vaccine supply illustrates the difficulties of responding to crises without the right infrastructure and planning in place.

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Canada launches $53-million strategy to combat COVID-19 variants as experts warn of potential third wave

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday a new strategy to address variants of concern in the COVID-19 pandemic. The $53-million strategy aims to rapidly expand Canada’s surveillance, sequencing and research efforts. It brings together the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory, the Canadian COVID Genomics Network (CanCOGen), the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) as well as the provinces and territories.

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Opinion: Government investment in clean electricity must include nuclear to achieve economic and climate goals

Government investment and policy in clean electricity must include nuclear power to achieve Canada’s economic and climate goals, John Gorman, president and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Association, says in an editorial. His recommendations include: a pan-Canadian electrification strategy; continued government support for the nuclear sector; regulatory support for Canada’s uranium industry; and official government categorization of nuclear as a clean technology.

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Opinion: Leveraging Canada’s agri-food system to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050

Canada’s agri-food system can help the nation achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 by providing either a source of renewable energy or “negative” emissions, Adekunbi Adetona and Dr. (PhD) David Layzell say in an opinion leader column. Innovative approaches, incentives and supportive government policy will be needed to use residual agricultural biomass to help reduce emissions, they say.

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The Short Report – Jan 27, 2021: Clinical trials for first made-in-Canada vaccine begin; a first-of-its-kind carbon capture cement study launches in Edmonton, and more.

The federal government invests in protecting the endangered North Atlantic right whale; a Canadian-led social media movement aims to stop the spread of misinformation around COVID-19; University Health Network study shows full dose blood thinners decrease need for life support in COVID-19 patients, and a new report says Canada’s PhD students face persistent barriers applying skill sets.

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Opinion Leader:
Christina Seidel

To shift to a circular economy, we need to harness local expertise on plastics

Building a circular economy for plastics in Canada will take smart solutions, says Christina Seidel, executive director of the Recycling Council of Alberta and co-chair of the Plastics Alliance of Alberta, in an op-ed. These include locally driven initiatives, collaboration across sectors and organizations, research investment and innovation to eliminate unnecessary plastics and reduce plastic waste.

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Calgary vaccine developer reaches deal with Manitoba government after hearing no response from Ottawa

Providence Therapeutics, a Calgary biotechnology company in human trials with its COVID-19 vaccine, struck a supply deal with the Government of Manitoba after sending the federal government a proposal and receiving no response. In a video, Providence founder and CEO Brad Sorenson criticized Ottawa’s “apathetic response” as “unacceptable” and he implored the government to take initiative to establish a secure domestic vaccine supply.

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Agriculture innovation in Canada needs a long-term approach, researchers say

As Canada aims for $75 billion in agri-food exports by 2025, the federal government has invested major dollars into increasing the country’s capacity. But Canada needs to conduct research in a way that supports long-term innovation, experts tell Research Money, or there’s a risk that many research efforts will be short-term and piecemeal.

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The Short Report – Feb 17, 2021: NSERC supports Huawei research collaboration, ALS research gets a boost, Ottawa invests in SMEs transitioning to clean tech, and more.

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council collaborates with the Canadian arm of Huawei Technologies, Canadian and international teams receive funding to accelerate ALS research, SDTC supports SMEs across Canada in their adoption of clean technology, an unexpected donation spurs Northern Ontario School of Medicine to address health inequities in marginalized populations, and more.

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New algorithmic assessment tool promotes responsible use of AI in government

The Algorithmic Impact Assessment (AIA) tool is a critical part of the Treasury Board’s directive on the responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI) in government. A first of its kind, the AIA is designed to assess and reduce the risks of using AI systems in the delivery of services and programs to Canadians. But the impact the tool will have is still unclear. Lauded as an example of innovative policymaking., there are early signs that compliance may be an issue.

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The Short Report – Feb. 3, 2021: Corporations partner on rapid COVID testing for employees, Conestoga launches national institute for senior care, Lakeland offers Canada's first AgriTech degree, and more

A consortium of some of Canada’s biggest corporations launch a pilot project offering workers rapid COVID-19 testing; Conestoga College prepares to launch a national institute dedicated to senior care; Lakeland College offers Canada’s first two-year Agricultural Technology program this fall, and more.

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New laws and regulations urgently needed to address AI risks, say experts

Canadian policymakers have been very influential in promoting responsible artificial intelligence (AI) globally, according to experts participating in the third annual AICan meeting. But as the development, deployment and use of autonomous systems accelerates, Canada urgently needs new laws and regulations to ensure they benefit everyone.

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