The Short Report - June 21, 2023: A network devoted to sustainable aviation innovation, a $25-million donation to expand quantum research in Alberta, support for SMR research, and more.
June 21, 2023
The Government of Canada will contribute $350 million through the Strategic Innovation Fund to establish an industry-led aerospace network that will fund R&D projects with companies across the supply chain, supporting Canada’s new Initiative for Sustainable Aviation Technology (INSAT). The projects will focus on four key technology areas: hybrid and alternative propulsion; aircraft architecture and systems integration; transition to alternative fuels, and aircraft support infrastructure and operations. ISED
Ottawa-based Ross Video will receive $49 million from the federal government to support the development of cloud-based products for event production as part of the government's strategy to promote intellectual property-rich companies and create high-skilled job opportunities. Ross Video's $236-million project aims to create a hybrid cloud event-production platform and suite of tools, producing high-quality live media for various sectors such as news, sports, concerts, and conferences. ISED
MDS Coating Technologies (Slemon Park, Prince Edward Island) will receive a total investment of $10.4 million to meet the demand for advanced coating technology solutions. The Government of Canada, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, is contributing $2.9 million for the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment, including 3D metal printing, cleaning, and coating technology. The provincial government is investing $7.5 million, including a non-repayable grant of $500,000 from Innovation PEI. Government of PEI
The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) have allocated $9.4 million over three years to support 29 research projects through the NSERC-CNSC Small Modular Reactors Research Grant Initiative. The funding aims to enhance knowledge and research in the deployment of small modular reactors (SMRs) for Canada's low carbon energy transition, addressing areas including environmental protection, risk management, cybersecurity, and human factors associated with SMRs. NSERC
Meanwhile, NSERC has introduced two funding opportunities for quantum research collaboration. The Alliance International Catalyst Quantum grants and Alliance International Collaboration Quantum grants aim to foster partnerships between Canadian university researchers and international academic counterparts, promoting research excellence and advancing Canada's leadership in quantum science and technology. Applications are open until March 31 and January 31, 2024, respectively. NSERC
The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has awarded $3.15 million in grants to nine Canadian universities to design, build and launch CubeSats—miniature satellites launched into orbit from the International Space Station—to measure climate change-related data. Funding is awarded under the CubeSats Initiative in Canada for STEM (CUBICS) program to Canadian post-secondary institutions, and will include the following projects: Killick-2: A CubeSat for ocean monitoring in support of climate change adaptation (Memorial University of Newfoundland); the Western Skylark: a 3U CubeSat for next-generation tracking of migratory wildlife using the Motus and ICARUS telemetry systems (Western University); IceCube: Making space accessible for Arctic climate change research (University of Manitoba), and Ex-Alta 3: Measuring ice and snow coverage (University of Alberta). CSA
Scientists at Western University and Lawson Health Research Institute in London, Ontario, are conducting a national multi-center study to develop rare isotopes as a tool in cancer treatment. The research aims to create targeted radio pharmaceuticals that will deliver radioactive isotopes directly to cancer cells, offering a highly localized and effective treatment approach. The project involves multiple research institutions and has received $23.7 million in federal funding through the New Frontiers in Research Fund. Western U.
The Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CABHI) will contribute more than $1.9 million through its Spark Program to support the development and validation of 40 innovations focused on improving the quality of life for older adults, people living with dementia, and caregivers. The funding aims to support grassroots innovations by front-line healthcare workers and researchers, translating their insights into early-stage innovations. Funding is provided by the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Colleges and Universities and the Government of Canada through the Public Health Agency of Canada. Funded innovations include A Caregiver Navigation Guide available on YouTube (WoodGreen Community Services, Toronto); Developing a Virtual Reality Companion for Persons with Dementia Living in Long-term Care (Bruyère Research Institute, Ottawa), and Development of a Stress-Relief Robot (University of British Columbia). CABHI
Researchers at the University of Toronto, in partnership with the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada (Toronto), has created a free online tool to assist hospitals in identifying and addressing the risk of drug diversion. The tool was funded with support from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and focuses on assessing vulnerabilities within the hospital system that can lead to the loss or theft of medications, rather than targeting individuals. U of T
The Nova Scotia Health Innovation Hub has launched a collaborative space for healthcare stakeholders to address healthcare challenges in the province. The hub aims to accelerate the development of new treatments, technologies, and solutions by partnering with medical companies, enabling faster clinical trials, technology testing, and market-ready solutions. The hub includes a Network of Innovators program, which offers funding streams to support the development of new approaches and provides training in entrepreneurial skills. Nova Scotia Health
COLLABORATION & INNOVATION
Private donors Richard Bird, Joanne Cuthbertson, Patrick Daniel, and Guy Turcotte have donated $25 million to establish Quantum Horizons Alberta (QHA), a hub to advance fundamental quantum research in the province. QHA will use the expertise of the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, and the University of Lethbridge to establish Alberta as a globally recognized centre for quantum science and deepen understanding of quantum physics. The initial annual operating budget will be $5 million for a minimum of five years, supported by the donors, the universities and other partners. U of A
Protein Industries Canada and Innovate UK have formed a bilateral partnership to develop new plant-based food and ingredients. The collaboration aims to support innovation by facilitating partnerships between Canadian and UK companies, enabling knowledge exchange and access to new technologies and customers. PIC
Universities Canada has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Science and Technology of the Republic of the Philippines that aims to facilitate, support and develop science, technology and innovation cooperation between the Philippines and Canadian universities. Universities Canada will lead a delegation of university presidents to the Philippines from Nov. 6th to Nov. 8th to reinforce connections and collaborations between the two countries. Universities Canada
RANKINGS & REPORTS
A report from the Business Council of Alberta says Canada will be unable to reach its 2050 climate goals unless it speeds up the approvals process for major projects. It says Canada's current regulatory system for large-scale infrastructure projects is "complex, fractured and frustrating," and recommends solutions to improve Canada’s regulatory systems and work toward a model system to meet environmental targets. Business Council of Alberta
The University of Toronto (U of T) has been ranked as the third-most prolific institution globally and the second among universities for health sciences research output, according to Nature Index's Annual Tables, ranking it just behind Harvard University and the National Institutes of Health. U of T
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office's 2021−2022 Annual Report highlighting its achievements from the 2021−2022 fiscal year was tabled in Parliament recently. Read it here.
VENTURE CAPITAL NEWS
Toronto-based natural language processing developer Cohere is the highest-ranking Canadian startup in Bessemer Venture Partners’ list of top 100 “deep technology” companies. Cohere is a competitor of ChatGPT creator OpenAI, and one of four Canadian companies included in the first edition of this list, ranking 41st place overall. It joins Vancouver startup Nexii (48th), Burnaby’s Svante Technologies (54th), and Toronto firm Xanadu (92nd). BetaKit
Startup Genome’s 2023 global startup activity report, which covers up to the first half of 2022, shows Toronto-Waterloo, Vancouver, and Montréal placing in its top 40 rankings. Toronto-Waterloo was Canada’s top-ranked startup ecosystem, placing highest at 17, followed by Vancouver and Montréal, which came in at 30 and 40, respectively. Calgary placed in the 51-60 range for 2023 (up from 61-70) and Ottawa featured in the 71-80 range—an increase from 2022 when it came in between 81 and 90. BetaKit
Halifax-based Tribe Network is launching a venture capital fund that will invest in pre-seed and seed-stage businesses led by racialized founders. The purpose of the fund is to level the playing field for entrepreneurs who have traditionally faced systemic barriers when accessing capital. BetaKit