CRTI approves 17 counter-terrorism projects covering wide range of research areas
May 6, 2003
Technology R&D and acceleration
Counter terrorism R&D is receiving a $66-million boost from the latest round of projects approved by the CBRN Research & Technology Initiative (CRTI). From a new public health intelligence network to the enhancement of a suppressive foam to mitigate the effects of explosive devices, the projects are driven by the need to link the scientific community to first responders and to close gaps in S&T capacity.
CRTI projects fall into two broad categories — technology acceleration and research and technology development. The interdepartmental program that uses S&T to improve Canada’s preparedness against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threats. It received $170-million over five years in the 2001 Budget and has already approved $46 million for 24 projects in a competition announced last fall (R$, September 16/02). It is designed to combine the research efforts of clusters of federal government laboratories in conjunction with the private and academic sectors.
For the latest round of 17 projects, CRTI is providing $34.5 million or about half of their total value, with the remainder contributed by various partners through a combination of cash and in-kind.
“We’ve been mapping our investments since the first round so that we can be more direct in the technologies we wanted to attract this time,” says Dr Cam Boulet, executive director of CRTI’s secretariat at Defence R&D Canada. “We’re addressing gaps that are starting to emerge, such as the S&T dimensions behind risk assessment.”
CRTI’s contributions range from $390,000 to $3.7 million. The latter is for the Canadian Network for Public Health Intelligence which aims to improve Canada’s bioterrorism response network, which Boulet says is a dual use project combining technology and research representing major value-added to counter-terrorism efforts. Led by Dr Amin Kabani, acting chief of Health Canada’s national laboratory for bacteriology, the project includes researchers from TR Labs, TDV Global, the Canadian Public Health Laboratory Network, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Univ of Guelph.
Another project of note is S&T Dimensions of Risk Assessment in which partners collaborate on a “probabalistic risk assessment tool for radiological dispersal services” — so-called dirty bombs. Participating agencies and institutions include Defence R&D Canada, the Univ of Ottawa, Science Application International Corp, Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Solicitor General of Canada.
In addition to its mandate to increase national S&T capacity in areas relevant to counter terrorism, CRTI is an ambitious pilot project for the Federal Innovation Networks of Excellence (FINE) proposal, which remains unfunded (R$, November 28/01 & May 22/02).
Bubble Technology Industries
Exploranium GS Ltd
Greeneley & Associates
Infectio Diagnostic Inc
ITspatial Canada Inc
NBC Team Ltd
Science Application International Corp
VLN Advanced Technologies Inc
Lab cluster management & operations
Command & control for CBRN response
S&T for training & equipping first responders
Prevention, surveillance & alert capabilities
Longer-term consequence management issues
Criminal investigation capabilities
S&T dimensions of risk assessment
Public confidence & psycho-social factors