Innovation Canada has shifted its “entire portfolio,” to responding to the COVID-19 crisis, from the Strategic Innovation Fund to Canada’s innovation superclusters, says federal assistant deputy minister Andrea Johnston.
Organization: Government of Canada
Canada’s innovation superclusters are proving their value during the COVID-19 crisis and are well positioned to help lead the post-COVID economic recovery, the five superclusters’ CEOs told a Research Money webinar.
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.
The federal government is providing $1.2 billion in emergency funding to help startups and rural businesses survive the COVID-19 crisis. Participants in Canada’s innovation sector say government could also help by providing tax incentives, matching funding and loans for angel investment.
Some of Canada’s 12,000 Canadian-owned small tech and innovative companies have already folded while others are being bought at fire-sale prices by large U.S. companies. Unless the government takes stronger measures, things will get worse, business leaders say.
Tasked by Ottawa to prioritize funding that responds to COVID-19, two of Canada’s Innovation Superclusters have already launched programs to help combat the pandemic.
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.
Vancouver-based biotech firm AbCellera, using its technology spun off research at University of British Columbia, is fast-tracking testing and clinical trials of therapeutic antibodies against COVID-19.
The Short Report: New Parliamentary standing committee proposed for science and research; new Protein Industries Supercluster projects; Alberta cuts post-secondary education funding while Ontario increases it; boosting competitiveness of Canada’s mining sector; creating research internships for students; Canadian science for the Moon; developing small nuclear reactor technology; and more.
Canada’s Tri-Council of major government funding agencies and Indigenous partners across the country have co-developed a new Indigenous research strategic plan. The plan, which proposes a new interdisciplinary research and research screening model, represents a significant new approach by the federal government and a contribution to reconciliation. With implementation starting this spring, the strategy aims to ensure Indigenous peoples lead and control any research involving them.