Numbers

Number 9 / Volume 36 / September 28, 2022

Editorial

Innovation is often seen as a process of moving from abstract discovery to marketable product. But it really comes down to customers — who they are, what they want, and what you can do for them.

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Searching for superior SR&ED

The SR&ED on-line application form does not remember you from last year. For the Council of Canadian Innovators, that is among the least of the improvements this program needs.

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News Bites

Number 8 / Volume 36 / August 31, 2022

Editorial

Farms and farmers are not what they used to be. As we worry about policies addressing supply chains for rare earths and semiconductors, we should spare some thought for policy that determines the fundamental structure of Canadian food production.

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Lyme marches on

As disease-carrying ticks continue to spread across he country, new federal support is expected to extend the operating life of the Canadian Lyme Disease Research Network, which was originally set to end this year.

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Health Canada levels the field for GMOs

Changes by Health Canada to the way it regulates food-based products developed with gene editing technologies is a “game-changer” for Canadian food production, says an agri-food innovation scientist.

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The Short Report - August 17, 2022: Scientists urge Ottawa to boost grant funding, assessing decarbonization of rail via hydrogen fuel cells; a funding competition for Alzheimer's research in Alberta, and more.

Next generation researchers advocate for increased pay on Parliament Hill, an R&D collaboration assesses the potential of using hydrogen to decarbonize Canadian rail, the Alzheimer Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories launches competition with Campus Alberta Neuroscience, and more.

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The Short Report - August 3, 2022: CAMH awarded the first federal psilocybin study grant; C6 Launch Systems prepares for suborbital test at a foreign spaceport; Ottawa launches calls for Women Entrepreneurship Strategy Ecosystem Fund projects, and more.

CAMH receives first CIHR grant to study psilocybin and its effect on treatment-resistant depression; Toronto-based C6 Launch Systems prepares for its first suborbital test at a foreign spaceport through its Brazilian subsidiary, Ottawa makes $40 million available for projects that deliver business supports for women entrepreneurs, and more.

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The Short Report - July 27, 2022: Ottawa launches next phase of its ocean protection program, a new policy agreement for Canada's agricultural partnership, funding to fight online disinformation, and more.

Ottawa invests in marine safety as part of the next phase of the Oceans Protection Plan; federal, provincial, and territorial Ministers of Agriculture reach an agreement for the new Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, fighting disinformation on COVID and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and more.

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News Bites

Number 7 / Volume 36 / July 20, 2022

Editorial

Even as Canada tries to minimize the economic and environmental impact of fossil fuels, policy makers must confront new challenges posed by obtaining the raw materials to produce technological alternatives to these fuels.

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The Short Report - July 20, 2022: Another step toward a vertically-integrated EV supply chain for Ontario, an Atlantic alliance to advance ocean science, a boost for digital innovation in Canada, and more.

Umicore set to build industrial scale battery materials manufacturing plant in Ontario; Ottawa commits to advancing cooperative ocean science and sustainability with international partners, India’s Tata Consultancy Services opens Pace Port Toronto to spur digital innovation, and more.

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Energy and resource tables to serve regional green energy strengths

The federal government is creating a series of forums to allow representatives from the country’s energy and resource sectors to contribute to the development of a national low-carbon industrial strategy. These forums are aimed at a wide range of public and private participants, who will be asked for observations and proposals that reflect the varying needs of each region.

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Innovation and imagery — Montreal team boldly goes

A team of Montreal researchers are preparing to use the an instrument they designed for the James Webb Space Telescope, which will help them analyse the atmospheric composition of planets orbiting around distant stars. This Canadian contribution to the deep-space telescope means scientists from this country will have preferred access to this sophisticated instrument, which will be in high demand.

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Message from the Publisher

I find it somewhat prophetic, and possibly hopeful, that a heightened appreciation
and desire to honour and include Indigenous ways of knowing is coming at a time of environmental crisis. The lived experience and accumulated wisdom of people who have lived here on the land for millennia will undoubtedly balance and temper the intellectual insights and technological ingenuity of the newcomers who currently wield power and need to learn how to share it for the greater good.

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Marking a Eureka moment

Canada is now a full member of the Eureka network, an international R&D consortium that includes more than 40 countries on five continents. Over the past decade some 300 Canadians have participated in Eureka projects, which have been worth more than $500 million.

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Opinion Leader: Psychedelic agents open up new therapeutic frontiers

Canada can be a leader in delivering widespread, well-regulated psychedelic-assisted therapy for people with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse, by investing in research, educating health care professionals and providing the necessary clinical infrastructure, Dr. Ross Marshall, chief scientific officer at The Newly Institute based in Calgary, says in an op-ed.

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Hydrogen heavyweights hit Alberta highways

The largest hydrogen-powered trucks ever to hit the road in North America will be operating in Alberta next year, as part of a major initiative to move this important transportation sector to the zero-emission fuel.

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Nurturing the entrepreneurial mind-set

Simon Fraser University, in collaboration with the research organization Mitacs, is mounting a concerted effort to provide students across the campus with access to courses and services to help them develop an entrepreneurial outlook on their work. Elicia Maine, who recently became a special advisor to the university’s VP Research and International, says these extensive efforts will benefit these students in their career paths as well as enhancing the talent available for Canada’s innovation ecosystem.

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The Short Report - July 6, 2022: Funding to address trauma in frontline workers, a name change for the superclusters initiative, topping up patient-oriented research in Sask. and Manitoba, a new ED for SNOLAB, and more.

Ottawa invests more than $28 million to address PTSD and trauma in frontline and essential workers; the supercluster program gets a name change from Minister Champagne; patient-oriented research funding for Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Dr. Jody Cooley is appointed new ED at SNOLAB, and more.

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Taking stock of young people's outlook on science and technology

The Canada Foundation for Innovation and l’Association canadienne-française pour l’avancement des sciences hosted an on-line discussion to discuss the implications of a national survey of young people’s attitudes toward science. The ensuing discussion revealed the dominance of social media in determining those attitudes, which can range from eager enthusiasm to disinterest and mistrust. Participants also frame a series of Calls to Action for organizations to develop working relationships with Canadian youth around scientific matters.

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News Bites

Number 6 / Volume 36 / June 22, 2022

Editorial

Purveyors of 5G hardware are eager to tell us how important this technology will be for Canadian innovation, but new goods and services arising from this technology are likely to come from its users, not necessarily its manufacturers. Although the Chinese firm Huawei was banned as a manufacturer, it remains an active partner with many of the early adopters of 5G systems, which raises questions about whether Canadians will enjoy any of the economic benefits generated by innovation carried out and supported by Canada. It is a tale as old as the inventor of fire, who reaped few rewards compared with those learned how to work with fire.

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Bringing Indigenous-led ocean science into Canada’s “blue” economy

Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans has begun funding projects that bring Indigenous knowledge into the development of the country’s “blue” economy, which is based on a sustainable use of marine resources. Their work is part of a larger initiative to help First Nations become more self-sufficient in gathering and using information about such resources.

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The Short Report - June 22, 2022: A big investment in CCRM's OmniaBio, feds seek to advance digital charter, forging a new oil sands alliance, launching a climate impact accelerator, and more.

South Korea’s Medipost acquires OmniaBio for contract development and manufacturing; Ottawa introduces legislation to bolster trust in the digital economy; a new oil sands alliance combines Canada’s three major oil producers, KPMG Canada and MaRS Discovery District launch a climate impact accelerator program, and more.

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Novel energy source has its ups and downs

Canada is well positioned to develop a proposed new technology that could turn high-rise buildings into giant “gravity batteries” for producing and storing energy, improving buildings’ energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Dr. Julian Hunt, PhD, research scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, says in an op-ed.

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Lessons learned and points to ponder — a fading pandemic's legacy

Sound government policy is required to guide the major forces shaping Canada’s post-pandemic future, including: digitization; managing debt; role of government; expectations of business; behaviour and values; and environment and energy, Arden Brummell and Greg MacGillvrary, managing editors at Calgary-based Scenarios to Strategy Inc., say in an op-ed.

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The Short Report - June 8, 2022: Support for dozens of Research Chairs, a centre of excellence for sports and sports medicine, protocols for researchers and policymakers in the Arctic, and more.

Feds announce $102 million for new, renewed chairs at 35 Canadian research institutions; U of T receives a 20-million donation for research, innovations and clinical programs in sports and sports medicine, new protocols for Arctic research and policymaking from the Inuit Circumpolar Council, and more.

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Debating decrim: hard drugs and hard decisions

Researchers are touting B.C.’s pilot initiative to decriminalize hard drug possession as a model to be applied across the country. They suggest studies to determine the efficacy of this approach to managing the harmful effect of addiction.

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Canada looks to own another podium

Waterloo-based business accelerator Communitech has announced the roster of Team True North, which consists of Canadian firms that are poised to grow to at least $1 billion in revenue by 2030. The methodology for identifying these enterprises is similar to the highly successful Own the Podium initiative, which dramatically increased Canada’s Olympic medal count.

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Indigenous health at the heart of new research network

Indigenous people in Canada have much higher rates of heart disease than the national average, yet they are underrepresented in cardiovascular research initiatives. A new health research network intends to correct this problem by integrating Indigenous community members into investigative work.

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Use it or lose it, says report on Canada's AI advantage

The explosion of artificial intelligence innovation will transform the way research is done, but Canada must expand existing its strengths in AI or risk losing its competitive advantage in the technology, according to a new report by the Council of Canadian Academies.

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Alberta Innovates provides $9.1-million boost for the province’s tech SMEs

Alberta Innovates is investing more than 9.1 million in 15 projects aimed at supporting Alberta’s SMEs and addressing gaps in the innovation continuum from ideation to commercialization. The largest grant — nearly $1.35 million — went to Calgary-based Cybera Inc. for its newly established Applied Data Science Lab for Economic Development program.

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Championing a charter to facilitate health data sharing

A group of experts charged with providing strategic direction and roadmap for the maximizing the impact of health data is calling for the establishment of a Canadian Health Data Charter — one of 10 recommendations released this month as part of the Pan-Canadian Health Data Strategy.

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News Bites

Number 5 / Volume 36 / May 25, 2022

Editorial

Innovations once seen as threatening can turn out to be immensely useful and welcome, as circumstances change to enable them to provide positive economic or social benefits.

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Health Research Foundation supports health system resilience in wake of COVID

The Health Research Foundation, created by the pharmaceutical industry consortium Innovative Medicines Canada, has created two research chairs at the University of British Colombia and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. The two posts are dedicated to exploring how to make Canadian health care more resilient to major challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic.

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New vaccine shows how Canada can tackle TB

A team of Canadian researchers at McMaster University is developing an inhalable TB vaccine that would act as a booster to strengthen immune protection right at the site of infection — the lungs. If successful, it would be among the first new effective TB vaccines in the world.

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Federally funded project aims to build collaborative network of SMEs to grow B.C.’s ag-tech sector

The “AGtech Innovation Sandbox” in British Columbia — which received $10 million in federal funding — aims to build a collaborative network of SMEs to grow the province’s ag-tech sector, based on an innovation model used to support companies developing digital health technologies. Meanwhile, Vancouver is ranked No. 9 in the world’s top 35 “ag-tech and new food” ecosystems, according to a new report from Startup Genome.

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Opinion Leader:
Joe Zink

Competitiveness and courage point the way to greater food security

Stricter competitiveness — including changes to Canada’s anti-competition laws — are required in agriculture-related industries to help address issues of food security and food quality, longtime farm manager Joe Zink says in an op-ed.

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Quebec supports quantum leap for enterprises

The Quebec government has established a $20 million fund to help companies build working relationships with the research community, so that these enterprises can develop their IT platforms to handle the latest digital or even quantum technology.

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New resource promotes fair compensation for women in STEMM

A database launched this month aims to normalize compensation for expertise in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) fields. It makes public crowdsourced data on speaker fees and honoraria — small but significant forms of reward and recognition in academia. 

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The Short Report - April 27, 2022: Canada-EU research partnership talks, CIHR's new clinical trials fund, a nationwide platform to study Covid's impact on children, U de M's natural life sciences boost, and more.

The EU and Canada move toward formal negotiations on research partnership; CIHR to meet health challenges with a clinical trials fund; a nationwide research network to improve pediatric outcomes, the Courtois Foundation donates $159 million to UdeM for the discovery of new materials, and more.

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News Bites

News Briefs

Number 4 / Volume 36 / April 20, 2022

Editorial

If academia wants more federal funding for discovery-related research, it will need to do a better job at persuading political leaders and policymakers that post-secondary research is as important as industrial innovation when it comes to driving productivity and growth.

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The Short Report - March 30, 2022: Ottawa releases $9.1B emissions reduction plan, Montreal's CDL surpasses $1B in equity value creation, Canada's tech performance blooms in 2021, and more

Government of Canada releases a $9.1 billion emissions reduction plan, Montreal’s Creative Destruction Lab doubles its $500 million target within first 5 years of opening, US dollars driving Canadian technology’s investment surge in 2021, four provincial governments agree to a joint strategic plan on small modular reactors, and more.

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Opinion Leader:
Ling Huang

Changes to government policy could enable SMEs to deliver effective and meaningful workplace inclusion programs

Changes to government policy could enable small and medium-sized businesses to offer meaningful workplace inclusion programs for people often excluded from the labour force such as youth with autism, to help address Canada’s labour shortages, Ling Huang, co-founder and CEO of Edmonton-based Technology North, says in an op-ed.

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Canada’s first “credible” climate plan requires rapid policy implementation and massive investment, independent experts say

The federal government’s new climate plan is the most credible ever produced with the policies needed to meet Canada’s climate goals, but it will take accelerated policy implementation, massive private and public investment, and unprecedented technology deployment to actually achieve carbon emissions-reduction targets in 2030 and 2050, according to two independent think tanks.

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What will ocean-based industries and the Blue Economy look like in 2050?

Forecasted changes in ocean-based industries and the Blue Economy from now to 2050 will present many new opportunities for Canada, but more knowledge is needed to make sound decisions and build a stronger and more sustainable blue economy, says Dr. Bente Pretlove, the program director for ocean space in DNV Group, in an op-ed.

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News Bites

Number 3 / Volume 36 / March 23, 2022

Editorial:
Sebastian Leck

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has affected the entire world — and the effects are being felt in the world of science and technology, writes Sebastian Leck, Research Money’s managing editor.

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The Short Report - March 9, 2022: Sunsetting the Collaborative Health Research Projects program, $195M to support B.C. health research, Ontario's first Genome Data Science fellowships, Lululemon founder invests $100M into muscle disorder research, and more

CIHR and NSERC terminate Collaborative Health Research Projects program, BC’s government invests in life sciences to boost health research, Ontario Genomics and CANSSI Ontario award inaugural postdoctoral fellowships in genome data science, Lululemon founder gives $100 million for muscle disorder research, a strategy to make Manitoba a leader in sustainable protein production, and more.

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Lessons from long-term care can inform innovation across Canada's healthcare system

Lessons learned in the long-term healthcare sector during the COVID-19 pandemic — including rapid innovation, sharing knowledge and partnership — can be applied to improve health systems across Canada and meet the growing need for safe, high-quality care for older adults, say Health Excellence Canada’s Jennifer Zelmer, president and CEO, and Tanya MacDonald, director of innovations and strategic development, in an op-ed.

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Opinion Leader:
Darren Gresch

How do we future-proof the Canadian economy?

Given the changing nature of work in Canada, governments, employers and educational partners will need to get creative with their support for reskilling and upskilling workers. This includes collaborating to build and modify the content of training and educational programs and incentivizing workers to retrain, says Darren Gresch, Senior Research Associate, Innovation and Technology, at the Conference Board of Canada, in an op-ed.

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News Bites

Number 2 / Volume 36 / February 23, 2022

Editorial:
Sebastian Leck

Canada’s dependence on a single bridge in Windsor turned out to be a liability during the convoy protests this month. We can learn from it to avoid similar complacency in the future, writes Sebastian Leck, Research Money’s managing editor.

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Opinion Leader:
Ömer Kaya and Daniel Katz

The Liberal government needs to prioritize its staggering list of mandate letter commitments

In December, the new federal ministers’ mandate letters made a total of 645 specific commitments. That’s a “staggering” list that needs to be prioritized and consolidated, Ömer Kaya, Chief Executive Officer, and Daniel Katz, Lead Research Analyst, at Ottawa-based Global Advantage Consulting Group, say in an op-ed.

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Canada showed strong growth in patents for pandemic prevention technology in last two decades, CIPO report finds

Canada ranked eighth globally in the number of patented pandemic mitigation technologies filed by institutions worldwide between 1999 and 2018, according to a report by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office done in collaboration with the National Research Council. The report found that Canadian institutions had a high relative specialization for pandemic mitigation technologies, especially in the therapeutics and vaccine development research area.

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The Short Report – Feb. 9, 2022: Quebec getting Canada’s first universal quantum computer, Canadian cleantech companies receive more than $52 million in SDTC funding, Ocean Supercluster announces largest project to date, public servants learn about AI, and more

The Short Report – Feb. 9, 2022: Quebec gets Canada’s first universal quantum computer, Canadian cleantech companies receive more than $52 million in SDTC funding, Ocean Supercluster announces largest project to date, public servants learn about AI, new VP of research programs at CIHR, and more.

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Incoherent approach to managing health data in Canada urgently needs fixing

Canada’s incoherent approach to managing health data urgently needs fixing because it is hurting health outcomes, escalating sector costs and expanding inequities, Ewan Affleck, senior medical advisor, health informatics, with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta, and Vivek Goel, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Waterloo, say in an op-ed.

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News Bites

Number 1 / Volume 36 / January 26, 2022

Editorial:
Sebastian Leck

Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne finally received his mandate letter last month — and with it came a very long list of to-do items, writes Sebastian Leck, the managing editor of Research Money.

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More interdisciplinary training in science, engineering and business could boost innovation

Providing more interdisciplinary academic programs and training in science, engineering and business to students in post-secondary institutions could break disciplinary silos and boost Canada’s lagging innovation, says Dr. Alexandre Navarre, PhD, associate researcher at École de technologie supérieure in Montreal and past director of technology transfer units at McGill University and Western University.

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New advanced research agency high on federal innovation minister’s lengthy to do list

Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne is facing a very busy year, with a mandate letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that includes more than 30 assigned tasks. They include establishing a new advanced research projects agency, launching a Canadian critical minerals strategy and a national quantum strategy and creating a global centre of excellence for eliminating methane gas emissions.

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The Short Report – Dec. 22, 2021: Trudeau releases mandate letters, a promising brain diseases partnership, a national survey of young people’s attitudes towards science, and more

A new Quebec neuroscience partnership may advance drug discovery for brain diseases through AI and Open Science; a CFI national survey shows most young adults have confidence in science; Dr. Leah Cowen has been named the University of Toronto’s vice-president, research and innovation, and strategic initiatives, and more.

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Opinion Leader:
Eric Newell and Perry Kinkaide

Canada needs a climate strategy that leverages wealth of hydrocarbons to transition to low-carbon energy systems

Canada needs to broaden its climate strategy and streamline energy decision making, to leverage the nation’s wealth of hydrocarbons to help transition to low-carbon energy systems, Eric Newell, Chancellor Emeritus at the University of Alberta and former CEO at Syncrude Canada, and Perry Kinkaide of Kinkaide Enterprises, say in an op-ed.

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New federal Earth Observation strategy prioritizes open data

Canada’s new strategy for satellite Earth Observation (satellite EO) aims to ensure government, researchers and industry have the data they need to monitor the health of the planet and respond to climate change and security threats. There was no new funding attached to the strategy, but it supports Canada’s vision for space, which prioritizes harnessing space science and technology to solve important challenges on Earth.

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Alberta's major universities hit pause on new research initiatives with China

Alberta’s four major universities have put a hold on developing new research initiatives and renewing existing research agreements with entities in China, as directed by the provincial government. All four universities also have submitted reports to Alberta Advanced Education detailing all agreements, research relationships, institutional relations and joint ventures under way with entities connected to the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party.

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News Bites