The Short Report, April 8, 2020: Mitacs steps up to help SMEs working on COVID-19 solutions; StatCan partners on ambitious business conditions survey; and more

Mark Mann
April 8, 2020

Mitacs has launched a limited-time initiative to help SMEs working on COVID-19 solutions secure government funding, access research resources, and hire post-secondary interns. The non-profit's 80 business development experts positioned across Canada will help SMEs complete funding applications and connect with researchers. College interns are also available to help with activities like coding, prototyping, monitoring cell cultures, managing data, and creating visual presentations of modelling. - InsightaaS

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has awarded $5 million to the University of Saskatchewan (USask) to lead a national network of Indigenous research centres. Called the Network Environments for Indigenous Health Research (NEIHR), the new $100.8-million, 16-year national program is the largest-ever single investment in Indigenous health research in Canadian history. It will be led by Dr. Carrie Bourassa, scientific director of the CIHR Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health. The national coordinating centre based at USaskwill work collaboratively with NEIHR centres in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, the Maritimes, and Canada’s circumpolar region. - USask

Three prominent philanthropic foundations in Montreal have together donated $4 million to a COVID-19 Emergency Fund for the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). The gifts from The Hewitt Foundation, the late Elspeth McConnell, and the Trottier Family Foundation will fund new research projects, provide essential resources to isolated patients, and support hospital staff. - Yahoo Finance

University of Dalhousie professors Dr. Boris Worm and Dr. Heike Lotze contributed to an international research project which found that it's possible to reverse the damage done to marine life within 30 years, while still preserving global fisheries, tourism and climate regulation. But achieving this feat will require sustained effort and financial support of roughly $10 billion to $20 billion per year — a strategic investment, says Worm: "Every dollar is well invested because it builds ocean resilience and abundance. We have the evidence that this works.” - Dalhousie

A new article published by the Washington, DC-based think tank the Brookings Institution suggests that the current "coronavirus-related recession is likely to bring about a spike in labor-replacing automation." Robots’ infiltration of the workforce happens in bursts, the authors say, especially in the wake of economic shocks. - Brookings

Thornhill Medical, a Toronto-based creator of portable ventilator technology, has partnered with the auto parts manufacturer Linamar to fulfill a federal contract to manufacture 500 mobile compact ventilator systems, to be delivered as soon as early April. Linamar CEO Linda Hasenfratz says the company is working day and night to start producing the ventilators at its at its facility in Guelph, Ontario. Altogether, four companies will produce 30,000 made-in-Canada ventilators for the federal government, including StarFish MedicalCAE Inc, and Ventilators for Canadians. - Yahoo Finance, Tri-City News

The Toronto-based virtual privacy network (VPN) company Tailscale raised $3m in seed funding and launched a product to help remote teams securely access services quickly using an existing identity provider like GSuite or Office365. - BetaKit

The Chinese telecommunications company Huawei has delivered over 1 million masks, 50,000 pairs of gloves and 30,000 goggles to Canada and continues to send more. In total, the company plans to donate six million masks to Canada. The gifts come as Huawei continues to seek federal approval to install 5G technology on Canada's mobile networks, as well as the release of its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, who is being held on fraud charges. IT World Canada, Globe and Mail

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Statistics Canada are partnering to create one of the largest business intelligence surveys in Canadian history. The Canadian Survey of Business Conditions (CSBC) will examine the impact of COVID-19 on businesses, how businesses are adapting, and challenges they face now and in the recovery to come. The new survey will be in the field this week and may be repeated in the coming weeks. "The results of this survey will provide the crucial insights needed right now to navigate the way forward for Canadian businesses and governments in addressing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Anil Arora in a statement. - Markets Insider

The Compute Canada Federation (CCF) will provide advanced research computing (ARC) support for COVID-19 focused research, such as providing access to cloud resources, high-performance clusters, and storage, as well as consulting in high-performance computing (HPC), data management, data analysis, machine learning, and visualization. - ACENET

Some tech sector companies in Alberta say that Premier Jason Kenney's singular focus on the oilpatch is prompting them to consider leaving the province, the CBC reports. While the Alberta government spends billions on Keystone XL, it has cut funding to organizations like Alberta Innovates and eliminated tax credits for innovative companies. - CBC

The multinational mining corporation Vale has launched a challenge worth US$1-million to propel innovative COVID-19 solutions into the marketplace. The challenge is open in Canada and Brazil with each selected solution eligible to receive up to US$200,000. - Canadian Mining Journal


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