Eavor Technologies , Export Development Canada, Accenture, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Alida, Alphabet, American Clean Power Association , Amino North America Corp., AppDirect, ArenaX Labs , Ask-AI, Atikokan Economic Development Corporation , Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., Autorité des marchés financiers of Quebec , BMO, Caisse de dépot et placement du Québec, Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions, Canada Foundation for Innovation, Canada Foundation for Innovation, Canada Nickel Company , Canadian Armed Forces, Canadian Association of Environmental Physicians , Canadian Environmental Law Association, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canadian Intellectual Property Office, Canadian Nuclear Isotope Council , Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Canadian Space Agency, Carbon Upcycling, CIBC, City of Toronto, Cleantech Group, Clinia, Competition Bureau, Creative Destruction Labs-Vancouver, Cyclic Materials, e-Zinc, Enbridge, Environmental Defense, Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario, Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, Gatik AI, Genecis, General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada, Global Affairs Canada, Global Institute for Food Security, Good Chemistry , Government of Alberta, Government of Canada, Government of Canada-Universities Working Group, Government of Quebec, Government of Saskatchewan, International Atomic Energy Agency, Investors for Paris Compliance, Ionomr Innovations, JMI Equity, Kebaowek First Nation , Kitigan Zibi Anishnabeg, KPI Mining Solutions, Lethbridge College, Life Sciences Ontario, Mangrove Lithium , McGill University, Mila - Quebec AI Institute, Minesense, Mining Innovation Commercialization Accelerator (MICA) Network, Mohawk College, Moment Energy, Morrison Hershfield, NASA, National Air Force Museum of Canada , National Research Council, Natural Resources Canada, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Nergica, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, Northvolt, Norwegian parliament (Storting) , Nuclear Promise X , Oliver Solutions, Ontario Clean Air Alliance, Ontario Securities Commission, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan , Pani Energy , pH7 Technologies , Polytechnique Montreal, Prairie Clean Energy, Prime Minister's Office, Protein Industries Canada, Public Safety Canada, Public Services and Procurement Canada, RBC, Requity Homes , Safe Software, Samsung SDI, SandboxAQ, Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Satellos Bioscience, Scotiabank, Siemens Energy , Sir James Dunn Foundation, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Solaris Resources , Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, Spiffy, Stantec, Summit Nanotech, Sustainable Development Technology Canada, Svante, TD Bank, TELUS Health, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company , The Metals Company , the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities, Top Hat, Toronto Zoo , Trade Commissioner Service, Tri-Council funding agencies, University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, University of New Brunswick, University of Saskatchewan, University of Toronto, Volkswagen Group , Waterloo Region Economic Development Corporation, Wood Mackenzie, Xaba, Xanadu, and Zijin Mining Group


"sustainable finance" claims by Canada's big banks, "tire intelligence" technology in autonomous vehicles, AI-driven fabrication processes and intelligent autonomous machines, AI-powered health grade search technologies, awareness and use of intellectual property by SMEs, biomass project utilizing agricultural waste, Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, Competition Bureau investigation of Enbridge, crop-related research projects, deep-sea mining , discovery of biological market for scleroderma , federal investment in cleantech businesses, federal Research Security Centre, federal Research Support Fund, federal support for college technology transfer, foreign investment in Canadian mining companies, generative AI, Global Cleantech 100 report, Life Sciences Ontario's 2024 Awards, NASA's Artemis II mission, near-surface landfill facility for nuclear waste at Chalk River, new logistics vehicles for Canadian Armed Forces, online training and education services, Policy on Sensitive Technology Research and Affiliations of Concern, producing isotopes for deep space exploration applications, production of low carbon-intensive crops, protecting Canadian university research from national security risks, Pulse of Change: 2024 Index, R&D at Alberta post-secondary institutions, R&D on sustainable energy conversion for propulsion and power generation, R&D on using AI in the mining industry, ransomware attack on Toronto Zoo, Saskatchewan’s Agriculture Development Fund , scalable measurement, reporting and verification framework for emissions , Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, top causes of business change in 2023, U.S. energy storage market, U.S. Energy Storage Monitor report, University of New Brunswick's Integrated Health Initiative, and using AI to preserve history of Canadian military aviation

The Short Report: January 17, 2024

Research Money
January 17, 2024


Global Affairs Canada announced that Export Development Canada (EDC) provided a record of more than $12 billion in support for cleantech businesses in 2023, achieving its goal two years ahead of schedule. In 2022, EDC set the goal of providing $10 billion in support for cleantech businesses in 2025. As of December 31, 2023, EDC had exceeded its target by providing more than $12 billion in financing and insurance solutions to more than 440 cleantech businesses – up from $8.8 billion and 392 companies in 2022. Since 2012, EDC has supported nearly $41 billion worth of cleantech exports and is a leading financier of Canada’s cleantech industry. EDC provides support for businesses across all subsectors, including renewable power generation, biofuels, energy efficiency and green buildings. Global Affairs Canada

Public Services and Procurement Canada has selected General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada as the preferred bidder to provide the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) with a new fleet of light and heavy logistics vehicles, equipment and in-service support. Through the Logistics Vehicle Modernization project, the federal government is replacing its existing fleet of logistics vehicles, which can be used to transfer resources, personnel and military assets during domestic and international operations and training exercises. A contract is anticipated to be awarded to the company in spring 2024, conditional on final government approvals. The preferred bidder is required to commit up to five per cent of the contract value to support the employment of Indigenous peoples and procurement of goods and services from Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs. Public Services and Procurement Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada announced a $14.7M investment to support 56 crop-related research projects in 2024. Invested through Saskatchewan’s Agriculture Development Fund (ADF) and the Strategic Research Initiative (SRI) under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the commitment includes $12.2 million for 56 ADF research projects and $2.5 million to support an SRI project at the University of Saskatchewan to identify solutions to manage root rot in peas and lentils. Industry partners contributed an additional $4.2 million to support this year’s ADF research projects. Twenty-nine USask-led projects received nearly $7.5 million from the ADF. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

The Government of Alberta is investing more than $3.6 million to help three post-secondary institutions advance R&D in drones, hydrogen and energy storage, smart irrigation and Indigenous-led forest reclamation and peatland restoration. The province’s investment, through Alberta’s Research Capacity Program, leverages more than $7 million allocated for these projects from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, post-secondaries, non-profit organizations and industry. The provincial funding covers up to 40 per cent of the cost for equipment and facilities for the research, being done at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, and Lethbridge College. Govt. of Alberta

Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED) announced non-repayment contributions totalling just over $3.5 million for Nergica, a college centre for technology transfer affiliated with the Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles. Nergica is an applied research centre that stimulates innovation and technology transfer in renewable energy to accelerate its development and adoption. CED will support Nergica with up to $3 million over three years to help it improve the capacity for business innovation and to develop a structure for the wind power industrial cluster’s network. Nergica will also receive a $525,000 contribution from CED that will enable it to develop, structure and support innovation in the photovoltaic solar energy industry. CED

The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) announced a nearly $3-million investment for the Waterloo Region Economic Development Corporation (Waterloo EDC) to attract and create supply chain and business investment opportunities in key sectors, such as automotive including electric vehicles, cleantech and agri-food, for the Waterloo Region and rural townships. The project will support up to 24 businesses, helping them to diversify the target markets for foreign direct investment to attract businesses in important sectors to the region. FedDev Ontario

The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) is providing $2 million to Amino North America Corp., an automotive body panel and components manufacturer in St. Thomas. Amino will use the funding to expand its facility by 42,000 sq. ft. and add a new automotive parts manufacturing line using the state-of-the-art processes. This line is expected to support the company as it diversifies its made-in-Canada automotive products, including battery compartments for the electric vehicle market. FedDev Ontario

The Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario (FedNor) is investing $1 million in the Atikokan Economic Development Corporation (AEDC). The funding will support the AEDC’s Investment Fund, which is used to assist entrepreneurs in creating new small or medium-sized enterprises and to assist existing businesses in stabilizing or expanding operations. In particular, the Investment Fund can be used to address increasing demand in the mining and energy sectors, identified as areas of growth for Northern Ontario and the Atikokan region. FedNor


Researchers in the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering have partnered with Siemens Energy to tackle a key challenge in the energy sector: sustainable energy conversion for propulsion and power generation. This includes, for example, developing gas turbine engines that can run on sustainable energy sources like hydrogen. Led by Swetaprovo Chaudhuri, associate professor in U of T’s Institute of Aerospace Studies, the initiative aims to rethink traditional gas turbine engines to reduce carbon emissions from both aviation and land-based fuel consumption. Chaudhuri’s team is exploring hydrogen combustion as a viable option since it can be burned without producing carbon dioxide. Project collaborators include researchers at McGill University, Polytechnique Montréal, National Research Council Canada and engineers from Siemens Energy Canada in Montreal. The project received an Alliance Mission Grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, aimed at building a comprehensive understanding that will guide the creation of fuel-flex gas turbine engines. University of Toronto

Calgary-based Prairie Clean Energy is partnering with the Sustainability-Led Integrated Centres of Excellence at Saskatchewan Polytechnic on a biomass project. Prairie Clean Energy has received a $1.1 million grant from the Mining Innovation Commercialization Accelerator (MICA) Network for its project. It aims to utilize locally produced agricultural waste in the form of flax straw made into patented flax straw pellets to generate low-carbon bioheat for the potash industry, potentially reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80 per cent. The collaboration includes establishing a living lab at the Moose Jaw campus, free micro-credentials training programs, and developing an online Geographic Information System platform to trace and track the location of flax straw suppliers, including their size and biomass yield. Saskatchewan Polytechnic

Swedish firm Northvolt will have to contribute $4.75 million to Quebec’s environmental and water protection fund to compensate for the loss of wetlands caused by the company’s initial work on its future battery manufacturing factory in the Montérégie region. The company has started preparing its 170-hectare site. Although Quebec’s environment minister concluded the Northvolt project doesn’t involve significant encroachment into the most sensitive environments on the site, the company also will have to compensate for the loss of natural environments for biodiversity caused by its initial work by creating or conserving 30 to 50 hectares of contiguous natural environments, as close as possible to its site. The Canadian News

The Toronto Zoo announced it was hit by a ransomware attack first detected on January 5. In a statement, the Zoo said it was investigating the impact, if any, of the attack on its guests, members and donor records. The Zoo said it doesn’t currently store any credit card information. The Zoo’s animal wellbeing, care and support systems weren’t impacted by the attack, and the Zoo will continue to be open to guests. The Zoo, which is owned by the City of Toronto, is working with the city’s Chief Information Security office and third-party cybersecurity experts and has reported the attack to Toronto Police Services. The incident is the latest in a string of cybersecurity attacks against provincial and municipal public organizations this past year, including the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, multiple Ontario hospitals and most recently Toronto Public Library, which is still recovering its operations. Toronto Zoo

NASA announced it is now targeting September 2025 as the launch date for Artemis II, the first crewed Artemis mission around the Moon during which Canadian Space Agency astronaut Jeremy Hansen will become the first Canadian to fly around the Moon. Artemis III, planned to land the first astronauts near the lunar South Pole, is now planned for September 2026. Artemis IV, the first mission to the planned Gateway lunar space station, remains on track for 2028. NASA said the schedules were adjusted to ensure crew safety and allow teams to work through challenges associated with first-time developments, operations and integration. Teams are troubleshooting a battery issue, addressing challenges with a circuitry component responsible for air ventilation and temperature control, and investigating an unexpected loss of char layer pieces from the spacecraft’s heat shield during Artemis I, NASA said. NASA

Kincardine, Ont.-based nuclear innovation company Nuclear Promise X (NPX) and the Canadian Nuclear Isotope Council (CNIC) are collaborating to explore the feasibility of producing isotopes for possible use in deep-space exploration applications. NPX and CNIC will undertake a study for the Canadian Space Agency to determine whether Canadian nuclear reactors and research reactors can be used to produce isotopes to power devices used in space exploration. Radioisotope power systems have been flown by NASA since the 1960s to provide reliable power and heat. Most spacecraft and devices use solar panels to generate power, but these have limitations for exploring the distant reaches of the solar system or for long-term missions on other planets. Plutonium-238 (Pu-238), a non-weapons-grade radioactive material that generates large amounts of heat in its radioactive decay, offers another solution and source of power for complex space missions. The study will explore how nuclear reactors in Canada can be used to irradiate Neptunium-237 into Pu-238, and will look at all costs associated with production, shipment and extraction of the energy source. The goal is to understand if it is economically feasible for reactors in Canada to add Pu-238 to their existing fleet of isotope production, leveraging already in-place infrastructure currently used for medical isotope production. Nuclear Engineering International

Vancouver-headquartered Good Chemistry was acquired by California-based SandboxAQ, a spinout of Alphabet. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Good Chemistry, spun out of 1QBit, a Vancouver-based quantum software firm in April 2022, is a computational chemistry company that leverages AI, quantum and other advanced technologies to accelerate drug discovery and materials design. SandboxAQ, a software-as-a-service company, said the acquisition will enhance its existing computational chemistry and simulation capabilities and give the company an advanced and scalable platform. Arman Zaribafiyan, Good Chemistry’s CEO, will become head of product for SandboxAQ’s simulation platform. SandboxAQ

Edmonton-based sustainable design and engineering firm Stantec announced it agreed to acquire Ontario-based Morrison Hershfield, increasing Stantec’s Canadian workforce by 10 per cent. Terms of the deal, which is subject to court and regulatory approvals, weren’t disclosed. Morrison Hershfield is an engineering and management firm that specializes in transportation, buildings and environmental services. It has 1,150 employees across Canada, the U.S. and India. The company is providing mechanical, electrical and civil services for Canada’s first lithium-ion electric-vehicle battery plant, NextStar, in Windsor, Ont. Stantec is working on E-One Moli Energy’s B.C.-based battery-cell facility. Stantec

Toronto-based Oliver Solutions, which provides online training and education services for financial services, travel and automotive industries, announced it has acquired Toronto-based Spiffy, which specializes in mobile-based microlearning. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Spiffy’s microlearning platform delivers a heavily gamified environment where learners can be rewarded and recognized for their progress. Oliver Solutions

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company and California-headquartered Gatik AI, which has an office in Etobicoke, Ont., announced the expansion of the first successful integration of “tire intelligence" technology into an autonomous driving system. Gatik’s autonomous fleet of Class 3 - 7 box trucks is equipped with Goodyear Endurance® RSA® tires with Goodyear SightLine  technology, which includes built-in sensors and software. This year, Gatik plans to implement the intelligence tire solution into a significant portion of its expanding autonomous fleet across the U.S. and Canada. Through extensive on-road testing in a wide variety of challenging real-world driving scenarios, tire intelligence data regarding road conditions and tire health have helped Gatik advance its autonomous vehicle controllers with insights about accurate cornering and braking stiffness, rolling resistance and tire load. This data, communicated between Goodyear SightLine technology and Gatik’s autonomous driving system through a real-time feedback loop, has enabled Gatik to yield numerous performance enhancements, including the ability to adapt swiftly and safely to a variety of road conditions, even when the mass or payload of the truck varies by delivery. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

The U.S. energy storage market hit a new high in the third quarter of 2023, installing the most capacity to date with 7,322 megawatt hours (MWh) becoming operational in the quarter. The U.S. grid-scale segment saw quarterly installations increase 27 per cent quarter-on-quarter to 6,848 MWh, a record-breaking third quarter for both megawatts and megawatt-hours installed, according to the U.S. Energy Storage Monitor report by the American Clean Power Association and Wood Mackenzie. The cumulative volume installed between Q1 and Q3 of 2023, which totals 13,518 MWh, has already surpassed the total volume in all of 2022 which ended at 11,976 MWh. The U.S. storage market is forecasted to install approximately 63 gigawatts between 2023 and 2027 across all segments, a five-per-cent decline from the 2023 Q2 forecast, according to this latest report. EnerG


The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), the province’s public pension fund manager, is investing $236 million in San Francisco-based AppDirect, a subscription-based business-to-business commerce platform. AppDirect will invest the proceeds in its Capital Invest program, which provides innovative financing options for recurring revenue startups. The Capital Invest program combines unrestricted usable capital with the power of the AppDirect Marketplace portal. Technology advisors can thereby access funds to support growth, innovation, talent retention or external investment while maintaining exclusive ownership of their business. Founded in 2009 by Canadians Nicolas Desmarais and Daniel Saks, AppDirect now has 990 employees, according to PitchBook data, and has offices in Quebec and Calgary. AppDirect

Toronto-based property technology startup Requity Homes raised $26 million in a seed round, consisting of equity and debt financing. co-led by Highline Beta and the chairman of Zhuhai Asset Management Company, Sam Sun. The round included participation from Boardwalk Investment, Conconi Growth Partners, Archangel Adrenaline Fund, and several angel investors. Requity Homes plans to use the equity funding to bolster its current markets for its rent-to-own platform, aimed at helping Canadians bridge the gap between renting and home ownership. BetKit

Israel-headquartered generative artificial intelligence company Ask-AI, which has operations in Toronto, announced it secured $11 million in Series A funding for its new “Generative AI Sidekick” AI-enabled tool. The round was led by Leaders Fund with participation from seed investors Vertex Ventures, State of Mind Ventures, GTMFund and others. Ask-AI, which connects to more than 50 enterprise work systems and many other customer communication and knowledge sources, ingests, analyzes and understands enterprise knowledge. It integrates that knowledge into an employee’s workflow to help them be more productive, providing analytics and multiple use cases for customer support, success, product R&D and sales. Ask-AI

TELUS Health and Montreal-based Clinia announced a partnership that included TELUS Ventures leading a $10-million Series A financing round for Clinia, with participation from existing investors including AQC Capital, Anges Québec, Groupe Benoit, Kastello and Formentera Capital. Clinia is a provider of AI-powered health-grade search technologies for health information available online. Coupled with TELUS Health’s health provider network, Clinia’s technology eliminates the problems associated with traditional health provider registry networks, which are expensive to maintain yet don’t give connected and complete information. The partnership is aimed at providing a more direct and personalized service that will empower individuals through better access to care and more highly customized recommendations based on their personal health needs. TELUS Health

Toronto-based gaming company ArenaX Labs announced it raised $6 million in a funding round led by Framework Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on gaming and decentralized finance that co-led ArenaX’s 2021 seed funding round. Additional investors included SevenX VenturesFunPlus / Xterio, and Moore Strategic Ventures. The funding will be used to further develop AI Arena, a first-of-its-kind game where human players collect AI-powered characters and train them in fighting strategies. ArenaX Labs

Toronto-based Xaba announced it raised US$2 million in a seed extension round of funding to bring to market AI-driven fabrication processes and intelligent autonomous machines. The funding round was led by BDC Capital’s Deep Tech Venture Fund with participation from Hitachi Ventures and existing investor Hazelview Ventures. Xaba said the investment will be used to establish and staff a new robotics lab and accelerate the delivery of two Xaba manufacturing platforms, including a platform using AI-powered software to completely automate how industrial robots are programmed and adopted. Business Wire

Surrey, B.C.-based Safe Software announced a strategic growth investment in the company by JMI Equity, a Baltimore-based growth-equity firm. Financial details of the deal weren’t disclosed. Don Murray will continue to lead Safe Software as CEO and the rest of the leadership team will remain in their current roles. Privately owned Safe Software is the creator of FME, the only enterprise integration platform with comprehensive support for special data. The platform allows users to automate custom integration workflows without having to code. Business Wire

Toronto-based mining company Canada Nickel Company announced an investment of US$18.5 million by Samsung SDI, the South Korean giant’s electronic division, to acquire approximately 15.6 million shares – becoming an 8.7-per-cent shareholder in Canada Nickel. Canada Nickel also granted Samsung SDI the right to purchase a 10-per-cent equity interest in Canada Nickel’s Crawford project in Ontario’s Timmins region for US$100 million upon a final decision on construction. Samsung SDI will be granted certain offtake rights to the Crawford project’s nickel-cobalt products, subject to the completion of the 10-per-cent equity investment in the project. Samsung SDI is a manufacturer of rechargeable batteries for the IT industry, automobiles, and energy storage systems, as well as cutting-edge materials used to produce semiconductors and displays. Canada Nickel Company

Vancouver-based mining company Solaris Resources announced an investment of approximately $130 million by an affiliate of China-based Zijin Mining Group. Upon closing of the private placement, Zijin will own about 15 per cent of Solaris’s common shares on a fully diluted basis. Solaris said it will use the proceeds to advance development of its flagship Warintza Project, a copper mine in southeastern Ecuador. The deal requires approval under Canada’s Investment Canada Act, under which the federal government can review foreign investments for national security risks and ensure the investments benefit the country. The Toronto Stock Exchange and Chinese authorities also need to approve the deal. Solaris Resources

The University of New Brunswick’s (UNB) Integrated Health Initiative received a $1 million gift from the Sir James Dunn Foundation. Half of the gift ($500,000) is designated to support the work of the chair in child rights for child health, Dr. Ziba Vaghri, in two major international projects, GlobalChild and InspiRights. The remaining $500,000 has supported construction, now underway, of the Health and Social Innovation Centre on UNB’s Saint John campus. The foundation’s gift has made possible a flexible space in the centre that will allow for small conferences, workshops, classes, presentations and special events. The space will be named in honour of the late Marcia Anastasia “Christofor” Christoforides, wife of the late Sir James Dunn, pending approval by the UNB’s board of governors. UNB


BREAKING NEWS: The Government of Canada will ban federal funding for research in "sensitive areas" done in affiliation with more than 100 entities -- including foreign universities and institutions -- that the government deems pose risks to national security. Under the new "Policy on Sensitive Technology Research and Affiliations of Concern," Canadian researchers will no longer be eligible to receive federal funding for technological research done in affiliation with, or with funding from, any of the listed entities.  Along with the new policy, the government launched Canada's new Research Security Centre, part of a $34.6-million investment over five years, as announced in Budget 2022.  "While Canadian-led research is defined by its excellence and collaborative nature, its openness can make it a target for foreign influence, increasing the potential risks for research and development efforts to be misappropriated to the detriment of national security," Innovation Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos and Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said in a statement on Tuesday, January 16. 

The new policy applies to all three Tri-Council funding agencies and the Canada Foundation for Innovation. “Research grant and funding applications submitted to the federal granting councils and the CFI that fall within research that advances a sensitive technology research area will not be funded if any of the researchers involved in activities supported by the grant are affiliated with, or in receipt of funding or in-kind support from, a university, research institute or laboratory connected to military, national defence or state security entities that pose a risk to Canada’s national security,”  the government said. The list of entities includes 85 Chinese research institutions that "may pose" a threat to national security and sensitive research. Also on the list are 12 Iranian and six Russian organizations the Canadian government believes have ties to "military, national defence or state security entities." The list was developed by Public Safety Canada, together with experts from across the federal government, using a risk-based approach.  The research community also provided input into the policy through the Government of Canada-Universities Working Group. The government has listed advanced energy, advanced weapons, artificial intelligence, quantum science, robotics and autonomous systems, biotechnology, advanced sensing and surveillance, digital infrastructure, and space and satellite and human machine integration as research areas deemed sensitive. The policy only applies to research in areas deemed to be "sensitive" to national security. However, it is expected to apply to tens of thousands of research granting applications, according to government officials.

The ban on funding will be based on self-reporting by Canadian researchers, although federal officials said most applications under the listed research areas will be checked for validation in an effort to maintain speed in the processing of funding. Federal officials would not share the extent to which Canadian researchers have engaged with the entities on the list, or the exact amount of funding that will be lost as a result of the ban.  In October last year, the U15 group of Canadian research universities had requested $200 million in annual funding in the next federal budget, to make up for potential losses due to research restrictions. Ottawa announced $50 million, through the Research Support Fund,  on Tuesday to support research and make up from the funding shortfalls. The list of entities in China, Iran and Russia includes universities, research institutes and labs connected to technological research, including in medicine and the military. Research on non-sensitive fields is exempted from restrictions, as are corporate research programs. The list will continue to be updated regularly, federal officials said.

The new policy will take effect at an unspecified date this spring, although the federal government "may immediately take research affiliations into account as part of research funding decision-making processes," the government said. To comply with the policy, individual researchers would have to determine whether their areas of research fall under the listed sensitive areas before attesting that they are eligible for federal funding.  Consequences for misrepresentation could include termination of funding, reimbursement of any received funds, denial of all future applications, or academic penalties, depending on the nature of the misrepresentation. Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, Toronto Star

Thirteen Canadian cleantech companies made the list of the top 100 global cleantech companies in the 15th annual Global Cleantech 100 report by San Francisco-headquartered Cleantech Group. Seven of the 13 Canadian firms are based in British Columbia, three in Ontario, and three in Calgary. Seven of the 13 have received funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada, and one company, Eavor, received a $90-million investment from the Canada Growth Fund as well as from the Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund. The 13 Canadian firms and the categories the report lists them under are:

Energy & Power

  • Eavor (Calgary), which has developed closed-loop, conduction-only geothermal energy.
  • e-Zinc (Toronto), with zinc battery technology that stores electricity zinc metal for large-scale energy storage.

Materials & Chemicals

  • Genecis (Toronto), which offers bacterial technology to turn food waste into polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), a high-quality bioplastic.
  • Ionomr Innovations (Vancouver), whose technology is a durable anion-exchange membrane for fuel cells, fuel production and metal recovery.
  • Mangrove Lithium (Vancouver), which offers a modular platform for the cost-effective production of battery-grade lithium hydroxide.
  • pH7 Technologies (Vancouver) which has processes and new methodologies for extractive metallurgy.
  • Summit Nanotech (Calgary), whose technology extracts lithium from brine water using advanced nanomaterials.

Resources & Environment

  • Carbon Upcycling (Calgary), which has technology for sequestering carbon dioxide gas into a solid form within concretes, plastics and coatings.
  • Cyclic Materials (Kingston, Ont.), whose circular supply chain services platform facilitates the recycling of rare earth elements via its proprietary Mag-Xtract and Hydrometallurgy technologies.
  • Minesense (Vancouver), with shovel sensor technology to capture ore in mining waste and provide real-time analytics during extraction.
  • Moment Energy (Port Coquitlam, B.C.), a recycler of retired electric vehicle batteries into clean, affordable energy storage.
  • Pani Energy (Victoria, B.C.), with predictive optimization and management software to improve the efficiency, uptime and emissions of water treatment plants.
  • Svante (Burnaby, B.C.) with energy-efficiency technology for capturing carbon dioxide from industrial sources.

Global Cleantech received 25,435 nominations from more than 65 countries for this year’s list. Nominees were scored in a system rewarding companies that have multiple validations from Global Cleantech’s nomination sources. The top 100 cleantech companies were chosen by an expert panel of 80 investor and multinational corporation representatives. The panel voted positively or negatively based on their knowledge of the company’s innovation, market and ability to execute.

Many of the companies on this year’s list – including Canadian firms – are involved in obtaining the critical minerals needed for the growing electric vehicle industry, as well as companies with technologies for producing sustainable fuels including hydrogen. U.S. companies dominated the list, with Canada being the second-most represented country.

Despite Canada’s strengths in agricultural and agri-tech – including growing investment in and production of alternative proteins – and in transportation, no Canadian company made it into the top nine global companies in the Agriculture & Food category or to the top nine global companies in the Transportation & Logistics category. The strongest Canadian representation was in the Resources & Environment category (six companies) and in Materials & Chemicals (five companies).

The report noted that engagement with technologies supporting climate adaptation and resilience has mostly remained flat as percentage of investments, “begging the question, ‘How prepared are we truly for the next phase of climate change?’” Cleantech Group

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) announced it amended the nuclear research and test establishment operating license held by Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) for Chalk River Laboratories. The amendment authorizes the construction of a near-surface landfill facility to dispose of nuclear waste on the Chalk River Laboratories site in Deep River, Ont., and on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg peoples. The Chalk River site is owned by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., a federal Crown corporation. The $475-million facility, described as an “engineered containment mound,” will hold up to one million cubic metres of radioactive and hazardous waste, about one kilometre from the Ottawa River which supplies drinking water to more than one million people downstream. The facility will mainly store low-level legacy waste from Chalk River Lab’s 65 years of operations, including debris from decommissioned buildings, contaminated equipment such as protective shoe covers, clothing, rags and equipment, and more. The CNSA concluded that under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the project is not likely to cause significant environmental effects, provided that CNL implements all proposed mitigation and follow-up monitoring measures, including continued engagement with Indigenous Nations and communities and environmental monitoring to verify the predictions of the environmental assessment. The CNSA also said the design of the project “is robust, supported by a strong safety case, able to meet its required design life, and sufficient to withstand severe weather events, seismic activity, and the effects of climate change.” Some Algonquin First Nations, including Kebaowek First Nation and Kitigan Zibi Anishnabeg, and citizen and environmental groups condemned the CNSA’s decision. The Canadian Environmental Law Association said in a statement that it remains concerned the facility will leach radioactive contaminants into surrounding wetlands and the Ottawa River. However, the project is supported by Deep River’s mayor and town council. Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, National Observer

Canada’s Competition Bureau officially launched an investigation into natural gas producer Enbridge over allegations the company is misleading customers about natural gas’s role in the energy transition. Enbridge has promoted new gas connections as the cheapest way for Ontarians to heat their homes, while calling natural gas “low carbon” and “clean energy.” Climate scientists have said that natural gas, which is primarily composed of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, is a fossil fuel that must be phased out if the world is to limit the catastrophic impacts of climate change. The initial complaint, brought by Environmental Defense, the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, the Canadian Association of Environmental Physicians and a group of Ontario residents last September, accuses Enbridge of falsely claiming that gas is the most cost-effective way to heat homes. In a letter sent to residents of Scugog Island, a First Nations community in Ontario where Enbridge sought to expand service in 2021, the company said: “Compared to using electricity, propane or oil, switching to natural gas could save you up to 52 percent annually,” and gas is “the most economical way to run appliances.” Enbridge made similar claims to residents of North Bay, Saugeen First Nation, Fenelon Falls and others, said the complainants, who maintain electric heat pumps are cheaper than gas heat pumps. The Canadian News

Investors for Paris Compliance, a Toronto-based shareholder advocacy group that aims to hold companies accountable for climate pledges, filed a securities complaint alleging misleading disclosure by Canada’s five big banks. The group urged the Ontario Securities Commission and the Autorité des marchés financiers of Quebec to investigate Canada’s five biggest banks over their use of the term “sustainable finance.” The complaint says BMO, Scotiabank, CIBC, TD Bank, and RBC all cite “sustainable finance” or some similarly worded initiative as a core part of their net-zero response and have set targets for this business segment in the hundreds of billions of dollars, implying to reasonable investors that the banks are mounting a serious response to the business risk. Yet there is no necessary relationship between this business segment and net zero, since there are no quantitative standards for associated instruments, no disclosure of emissions impact, and examples of sustainable finance deals that actually increase emissions, the complaint says. “At best, sustainable finance as currently practiced by Canada’s big banks is a $2-trillion placebo at a time when we need strong medicine to reduce emissions,” said Matt Price, executive director of Investors for Paris Compliance. “At worst, it is greenwashing of carbon-intensive businesses, misleading investors and the public.”

As one example, the complaint points to RBC and CIBC, in February 2021, being “sustainability structuring agents” on a $1-billion syndicated sustainability-linked loan to Enbridge at the time when the company was expanding fossil fuel infrastructure, including finishing its Line 3 oil sand expansion pipeline, “estimated to have the same impact on the climate as adding 50 new coal-fired power plants.” The complaint cites similar examples involving Teck, Gibson Energy, Occidental Petroleum, Georgia Power, Tamarack Energy, and others. “This is a chronic problem across the banks rather than an isolated incident,” it says. Investors for Paris Compliance said that if its complaint is supported, then the regulators should compel the banks to either disclose emissions impact for their sustainable finance business segments and how this relates to their emissions targets, or else disclose limitations of sustainable finance to their net-zero goals. Also, the regulators should join with others to issue guidance for ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance)-labelled bonds, the advocacy group said. Investors For Paris Compliance

The Prairies-based Protein Industries Canada innovation cluster said it’s committed to working with industry to build a scalable measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) framework to be able to report and verify emissions and sustainability in Canada’s plant-based ingredient value chain. Protein Industries Canada said the MRV will:

  • provide trusted carbon emission and intensity data to protein ingredient makers and downstream value chain partners.
  • provide carbon benchmarking tool for participating growers that can help to drive emissions reductions both on-farm and in the value chain.
  • Support the implementation and measurement of practice change impacts.

“The development of an MRV framework is key to securing Canada’s position as a low-carbon economy and provider of ingredients and food,” Protein Industries Canada said. The innovation cluster proposes starting with development of a proof-of-concept MRV system that measures carbon intensity in peas. Once that system is developed, the framework can be scaled up for use in other crops, added sustainability metrics and additional steps in the value chain. Protein Industries Canada

Saskatchewan farmers are producing some of the least carbon-intensive crops in Canada and the world, according to a study commissioned by the Global Institute for Food Security  at the University of Saskatchewan. The study was conducted in partnership with the Food Systems PRISM Lab at the University of British Columbia. The two-part study, including life cycle analysis, examined the carbon footprint from the production of five Canadian field crops – canola, non-durum wheat, field peas, durum wheat and lentils. Researchers reviewed data on the carbon dioxide equivalent emissions for the various activities that go into crop production, including transportation, seed, fertilizer and manure inputs, crop inputs, field activities, energy emissions, and post-harvest work. Researchers then compared these carbon footprints to some globally competitive regions across the world that export the same products, including Australia, France, Germany, Italy and the U.S. Results showed that Canadian producers, particularly in Saskatchewan and Western Canada, are producing crops with the least amount of greenhouse gas emissions or carbon dioxide equivalents among the regions compared. For example, Saskatchewan’s carbon footprint to produce one tonne of canola is 67 per cent lower than the global weighted average. Also, Western Canadian growers, led by Saskatchewan farmers, are the most sustainable producers of non-durum wheat. The results of the carbon life cycle analysis showed that no-till farming and reduced fertilizer applications in Saskatchewan field peas result in a carbon footprint that is more than 95 per cent lower than any other region studied. For lentils, the carbon footprint is 130 per cent lower. The Global Institute for Food Security credits the sustainable crop-farming practices used by Canadian producers, including reduced tillage, the adoption of herbicide-tolerant canola, the variable-rate application of fertilizer, a robust crop rotation system, and the production of nitrogen-fixing pulse crops. Global Institute for Food Security

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office and the Trade Commissioner Service signed a memorandum of understating to collaborate on promoting the awareness and use of intellectual property among Canadian small and medium-sized businesses, academia and innovators. The agreement’s goals include:

  • Developing digital and virtual educational content and tools to help Canadian SMEs identify, protect and manage IP effectively when doing business abroad.
  • Strengthening and deepening key partnerships through the IP Village and with industry and academia in a strategic manner to better inform and support exporting SMEs and underrepresented groups as they seek support on IP-related issues. The IP Village is a collaboration between six key Canadian organizations that aims to help Canadian businesses better understand how to use their IP more effectively.
  • Developing a data-driven and evidence-based approach to ensure higher impact of IP program delivery. Canadian Intellectual Property Office

Canada is stepping up R&D efforts on using artificial intelligence in the mining industry and related critical minerals development. In Budget 2022, the federal government committed $40 million over four years to the National Research Council (NRC) to work with Natural Resources Canada on research, development and deployment of technologies to support critical mineral value chains and help Canada achieve the goals in its Critical Minerals Strategy. NRC’s Critical Battery Materials Initiative includes establishing “self-driving labs” – using computers to test different hypotheses with simulations – and machine learning approaches that will use automated, AI-enabled platforms to discover new critical battery materials and processes in a third of the time it takes today. Last August, Mila - Quebec AI Institute announced a partnership with KPI Mining Solutions, which is developing and globally commercializing innovative, AI-based technologies for the mining industry, including optimizing mining production planning. “Critical minerals play a crucial role in driving the electric vehicle transition and supporting the climate agenda and AI has proven to be an important technology in the support of Canada’s Critical Mineral Strategy,” said Stéphane Létourneau, executive vice-president of Mila. Last July, Creative Destruction Labs-Vancouver, based at the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia, launchedMinerals stream for startup founders seeking to commercialize technologies enabling the supply of industrial and metallic minerals critical to society’s future. The stream has crossovers with CDL’s  specialized AI stream. AI can be used for imaging and seeking deposits, mineral sorting and classification, digital twin simulations and in autonomous vehicles and drillers. In October 2022, Volkswagen Group and Toronto-based quantum technology company Xanadu established a quantum simulation program for battery materials. The research program focuses on innovations in quantum algorithms for simulating battery materials, which are needed to potentially impact the design and development of next-generation cells. The two organizations intend to bring to market resource-efficient quantum algorithms aimed at accelerating Volkswagen’s adoption of quantum computers in the next decade. The goal is to reduce computational costs and use quantum computers to develop battery materials that are safer, lighter and more cost-effective. R$

Amid intensifying R&D on using AI in the mining industry, the Norwegian parliament (Storting) this month approved limited deep-sea mining activities in critical minerals, by opening an area on the Norwegian continental shelf. The approval lets companies “map and explore for minerals in a limited area, not to extract,” Norway’s government said. There is a need to gather more knowledge and to investigate whether it is possible to proceed with extraction in a responsible and sustainable manner, said Terje Aasland, Norway’s energy minister. Any plans for extraction must be approved by both the ministry and the Norwegian parliament, and plans will only be approved if extraction can be done in a sustainable and responsible manner. In Canada, The Metals Company in Vancouver has acquired three seabed mining contract areas, to explore for polymetallic nodules used to produce battery metals. The company commissioned an independent study in 2019 that involved a lifecycle assessment of metal production comparing conventional land-based production with expected nodule-derived production. “Study results show that shifting away from land ores to polymetallic nodules would allow society to eliminate or dramatically compress the most serious environmental and social impacts associated with conventional metal production,” The Metals Company said. These impacts include child labour, tropical deforestation and habitat destruction, large-scale generation of toxic waste, residues and tailings, and climate change impact through direct emissions and release of sequestered carbon. Environmental groups are strongly opposed to seabed mining. Canada’s federal government has joined a growing list of nations calling for a pause on deep-sea mining in international waters amid fears the nascent, untested industry could cause ecological devastation without further study and clear safeguards. R$

Global business leaders identified technology disruption catapulted by advances in generative artificial intelligence as the No. 1 cause of business change in 2023, according to the annual Pulse of Change: 2024 Index by Accenture, a global professional services company headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. While 76 per cent of C-suite executives surveyed saw generative AI as more of an opportunity than a threat, and more beneficial to revenue growth than costs reduction, nearly an equal amount (72 per cent) are investing with caution due to concerns about its responsible use. Only 27 per cent claim their organizations are ready to scale up generative AI. Forty-four per cent  said it will take more than six months to do so and take advantage of the potential benefits. Rounding out the top six causes of business change – based on the percentage increase measured from 2022 to 2023 – were, in order: talent, climate, economic, geopolitics, and consumer & social (indicators assessing social unrest and household savings).

The Index identifies and ranks the six factors of change affecting businesses – Technology, Talent, Economic, Geopolitical, Climate and Consumer, & Social – using a range of key business indicators, such as labor productivity and IT spending. It then compares this data to a survey of more than 3,400 C-suite leaders across 20 countries and 19 industries on how these factors are impacting their organizations. The Index indicator analysis found that overall, across all six factors, the rate of change has risen steadily since 2019 – 183 per cent over the past four years and 33 per cent in the past year alone. A striking 88 per cent of C-suite executives anticipate an even faster rate of change in 2024. Sixty per cent see change as an opportunity, and 68 per cent expect revenue growth to accelerate in 2024. However, 52 per cent say they aren’t fully prepared to respond to the changes they will face in the 2024 business environment. Accenture

THE GRAPEVINE – News about people, institutions and communities

Former talk-show host Supriya Dwivedi joined the Prime Minister’s Office as a policy advisor. She has appeared on CBC’s Power & Politics, on CTV, and written for publications including The Globe and Mail, The Washington Post, and Toronto Star. Most recently, Dwivedi worked for McGill University’s Centre for Media, Technology and Democracy as director of policy and engagement. She has degrees in civil law and common law from the University of Montreal. In November, the PMO announced it was bringing in Max Valiquette as an executive communications director. He has years of experience in working for various brands, advertising and marketing. The Globe and Mail

Efrem Ainsley was appointed as CEO of Toronto-based Alida, a customer insights software company, succeeding Ross Wainwright who recently stepped down. Ainsley joined Alida in early 2020 as chief financial officer and most recently served as chief operating officer. He has more than 20 years of experience as a software executive.  Alida said it plans in 2024 to continue its focus as a community-centred experience research provider, particularly scaling its strategies tied to helping its customers better their product innovation and user experience processes by infusing the voices of end users. Alida

Paul MacKinnon will become president of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, effective January 27, 2024. He is currently deputy secretary to the Cabinet (Governance) at the Privy Council Office. MacKinnon, who has a Bachelor of Arts in political studies from the University of Prince Edward Island, has served in several federal positions since 2005. PMO

Toronto-based online education company Top Hat’s CEO Joe Rohrlich and chief revenue officer Matt Schurk have left the company. Rohlich has become CEO of San Francisco-based subscription and billing provider Recurly. Shurk’s LinkedIn profile indicated he has taken on a new role as chief sales officer at Texas delivery software provider Acutane. Top Hat said that chief marketing officer Maggie Leen will be taking on an expanded role with the business. Top Hat sells courseware used by more than 24,000 educators and three million students across more than 750 North American colleges and universities. BetaKit

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan promoted Stephen McLennan and Gillian Brown to chief investment officer roles, after previous CIO Ziad Hindo announced his departure in September. McLennan will become CIO, asset allocation, overseeing Ontario Teachers’ overall asset mix. He has been serving as acting head of investments since September 2023. Brown will become CIO, public and private investments, accountable for the execution and management of investments across public and private markets. She has served as head of the Capital Markets department since 2018. Jonathan Hausman was appointed to the newly established role of chief strategy officer, to lead a cross-organizational approach to advance the strategic objectives of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. He will also continue to lead the Global Investment Strategy department. Nick Jansa, executive managing director, was appointed to Ontario Teachers’ executive team. Ontario Teachers’ is a global investor with net assets of $249.8 billion as of June 30, 2023, and has earned an annual total-fund net return of 9.4 per cent since the plan’s founding in 1990. Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan

Life Sciences Ontario (LSO) announced the recipients of its 2024 Awards, recognizing outstanding individual and companies contributing to the success of Ontario’s life sciences sector. The awardees are:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award – William (Bill) Mantel, retired assistant deputy minister, research, commercialization and entrepreneurship; director of strategic projects, Centre for the Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine.
  • Volunteer Award –  Benjamin Rovinski, managing director, Lumira Ventures
  • Community Service Award – Dr.Christine Allen, professor at Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy; cross-appointment in Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, University of Toronto
  • Leadership Award –  Durhane Wong-Rieger, president and CEO, Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders.
  • Company of the Year Award – Satellos Bioscience, a regenerative medicine company dedicated to developing novel therapeutics that stimulate or restore muscle regeneration in severe disorders.

The awards will be presented during LSO’s Celebration of Success Awards Presentation on Wednesday, May 15, 2024 at the Liberty Grand, Exhibition Place, Toronto. LSO

A cross-disciplinary University of Alberta research team has uncovered a biological marker for scleroderma that can predict which patients will develop severe disease and could also lead to new treatments. Scleroderma is a rare condition that affects about 17,000 people in Canada. An overproduction of collagen leads to a hardening of the skin, and in severe cases, blood vessels and internal organs are also affected. Approximately 40 per cent of patients die within five years of diagnosis. Medication, diet and exercise may slow progression and ease symptoms, but there is no cure, and until now there has been no way to predict who will develop the most severe form of the disease. In published research, the U of A team found that polysialic acid is elevated in both the skin and blood of patients with systemic sclerosis and correlates with the level of fibrosis. Polysialic acid is a glycan, or sugar modification, on the surface of cells in the immune, reproductive and nervous systems, and is known to be associated with aggressive cancer cells as well. Study co-principal investigator Lisa Willis, assistant professor in the Faculty of Science and an expert on glycans, developed the blood test for polysialic acid in her laboratory. Willis and Mo Osman, rheumatologist and immunologist and associate professor in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, will continue testing the biomarker as a diagnostic tool by looking at skin and blood samples from a broader cross-section of patients from across Canada and other parts of the world. The research was supported by GlycoNet, Scleroderma Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research - Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis, and Arthritis Society Canada. University of Alberta

The National Air Force Museum of Canada (NAFMC) in Trenton, Ont., is collaborating with Mohawk College to explore the responsible use of artificial intelligence technology to preserve the history of Canadian military aviation. The NAFMC and IDEAWORKS, the applied research division of Mohawk College, will jointly conduct research focusing on the ethics behind using facial recognition AI to catalog and index archival images of members of Canada’s air forces from the NAFMC’s collection. Working in partnership with NAFMC curators, professor Stephen Adams of Mohawk College’s School of Engineering Technology and Aviation will lead the project with the help of a team of student research assistants. The NAFMC houses thousands of historic photos in its expansive archival collection. Facial recognition AI and crowd-sourced data could be used to generate valuable, searchable annotations for the NAFMC’s collection. However, because these annotations will encompass biographical details of the individuals depicted in the photographs and descriptions of the contextual elements within each image, there are privacy and ethical concerns that need to be addressed before AI can be used. Project researchers will delve into the ethical considerations surrounding the creation and implementation of facial recognition systems, collaborating with the NAFMC and cultural organizations to explore privacy standards. The objective is to establish guidelines that carefully balance individual privacy rights with the public’s right to access historical knowledge. The project received a Partnership Engage Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Mohawk College


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