The Short Report – March 10, 2021: Federal funding for applied genomics, investments in plant-based proteins, the death of a renowned Alberta ecologist, and more

Cindy Graham
March 10, 2021

COVID-19 & HEALTH NEWS

The Government of Canada will invest $8.6 million, combined with an additional $17.8 million from provincial, business and research partners, towards applied genomics research. The funding will support five projects: detection and treatment for atrial fibrillation (Ottawa Hospital and Roche Diagnostics); profiling to understand the progression of breast cancer (Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and Thermo Fisher Scientific); children in the Prairies with inherited metabolism issues (University of Manitoba with Shared Health); breeding better soybeans (Université Laval) and identifying complex gill disease in salmon farms in the Pacific and North Atlantic (University of PEI). – Genome Canada

Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy lab Numinus Wellness (Vancouver) received amendments to its federal licence to allow the possession, production, assembly, sale, export, and delivery of psychedelics including Ketamine and Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) to amplify its psychedelics research. – Numinus

After completing an oversubscribed $20.7 million initial public offering last month, functional mushroom brand Optimi Health (Vancouver) is partnering with Numinus Wellness on a lab agreement that will see Optimi accelerate R&D of Canadian-grown psilocybin-producing mushrooms for the psychedelic industry. – Optimi

COLLABORATION, INNOVATION & FUNDING

The Government of Canada is providing a $4.8-million funding top-up to over $32 million previously provided to 16 Ontario recipients of the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) Ecosystem Fund. The investment will facilitate collaboration for women entrepreneurs in Ontario through coaching, mentorship and networking opportunities. – GoC

Markham, Ontario-based VentureLABs is receiving a $4.7-million non-repayable contribution from FedDev Ontario to strengthen its domestic supply chain and expand its hardware and semiconductor lab — the first in Canada — while addressing increasing global demand for chips and sensors used for next-generation electric vehicles, robotics in precision agriculture, 5G communications and mobile devices. – VentureLAB

Protein Industries Canada (Regina), GrainFrac (Edmonton), Tomtene Seed Farm (Birch Hills, SK) and Ripple Foods (Emeryville, California) are investing $4.3 million to develop a technology that will yield a higher protein content while lowering the cost and energy of processing pulse-based, non-dairy beverages. Protein Industries Canada is committing half of the investment with GrainFrac, Tomtene Seed Farms and Ripple Foods investing the remaining half. – PIC

In related news, Eat Beyond Global Holdings (Vancouver), an investment issuer focused on the global plant-based and alternative food sector, has joined Protein Industries Canada to support new ventures in the plant-based protein industry. – Cision

Related: Protein Industries Canada Supercluster targets billions in GDP growth

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) is planning to restructure and decolonize its archives with an investment of more than $2.4 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s Innovation Fund. Raymond Frogner, head of archives at NCTR, will lead the national project to rebuild the centre’s digital architecture. – NCTR

Deloitte Canada announced the Canadian launch of the Deloitte AI Institute, part of a global initiative with partner artificial intelligence (AI) institutes in the US, UK, Australia, Japan, Singapore, China, and Europe. The Institute will help mid-market and large Canadian organizations in the private and public sectors start or scale their AI capabilities. – Deloitte

Next Generation Manufacturing Canada is co-funding three projects at the pilot and feasibility stage: development of an AI-powered inspection system of manufacturing processes for various industries including automotive, plastics, and food and beverage manufacturing; an advanced manufacturing process to remove various coatings from metal surfaces using laser technology; and a study to identify production problems to address increasing levels of automotive recalls. – NGEN

The federal government's Advisory Council on Artificial Intelligence Public Awareness Working Group, together with the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and Algora Lab (Université de Montréal), is launching a series of virtual workshops to better understand the public’s perception of AI that will be held from March 30 to April 30, 2021. Data gathered will be included in a final report submitted to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry and made public on the Advisory Council on Artificial Intelligence website in summer 2021. – GoC

The Government of Canada has launched an online tool to allow Canadians and Indigenous communities to access data and scientific publications to understand the cumulative effects of human activities on the environment. The Open Science and Data Platform will allow users to contribute to and access cumulative effects information, which until recently was widely dispersed across numerous government websites and repositories using geospatial data from the government's federal geospatial platform. – GoC

REPORTS & CALLS FOR APPLICATIONS

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) is launching a call for applications for projects to improve internet access in Canada after a landmark study found there is limited funding for organizations working on internet-related projects. Over $1 million in grants is available to community groups and researchers working on infrastructure, cybersecurity, digital literacy and community leadership projects. Preference will be given to those that benefit students as well as northern, rural and Indigenous communities. – CIRA

Statistics Canada has updated its multinational enterprise activity data to include R&D for expenditure and personnel for 2018. Data show that R&D spending grew 3.2% over the previous year and R&D personnel grew by 3.4%. – StatsCan

The Government of Canada has released Canada’s Oceans Now to highlight the state of Canada’s oceans and key challenges. The report is based on scientific research principally conducted by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada (seabirds), with some information also based on community and Indigenous knowledge and work by universities and non-governmental organizations. – GoC

 THE GRAPEVINE

Dr. David Schindler, the renowned ecologist, limnologist and conservationist who was a professor emeritus at the University of Alberta, has died. Schindler was a co-founder and director of the Experimental Lakes Project in Ontario from 1968 to 1989. His work was widely used to help formulate ecologically sound management policy in Canada and beyond, including the reduction of the release of harmful phosphates in lakes, reducing emissions that cause acid rain and improved monitoring of the Alberta oil sands. – U of Alberta

Craig Norris has been named the acting chief executive of the Centre for Ocean Applied Sustainable Technologies (COAST), a marine innovation hub in Victoria. Norris has been given a mandate to secure the hub’s next stage of funding and find it a permanent home base. – Times Colonist

Dr. Allen Eaves, founder, president and CEO of STEMCELL Technologies (Vancouver), ranked second among Healthcare Technology Report’s top 25 list of biotechnology CEOs and companies for 2021. Eaves launched STEMCELL in 1993 to meet demands for a standardized and cost-effective way of growing blood-forming stem cells. It has become the largest biotech company in Canada. Charles Brown (LifeLabs, Ontario and BC)) and Michael Cammarata (Neptune Wellness, Quebec) were also among the top 25. – Healthcare Technology Report


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