The Short Report - Nov. 17, 2021: Ontario invests in research facilities, UOttawa launches centre for Black health, a win for BrainBox AI at COP26, and more

Cindy Graham
November 16, 2021


Two teams from University of Manitoba's Max Rady College of Medicine have received funding for one year from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to study under-researched aspects of Covid-19. The first study, under the direction of Dr. Alan Katz, has received over $200,000 to study aspects of "long-haul COVID," including defining risk factors, determining who is more likely to get long COVID, and describing the long-term effects. The second study, under the direction of Dr. Ruey-Chyi Su, received $430,000 to examine how the binding of the spike proteins of coronavirus variants to the host-cell receptor known as ACE2 affects viral spread and mortality rates. – UManitoba

Meanwhile, a $1.5-million grant from the Public Health Agency of Canada earmarked for McMaster University's Platelet Immunology Laboratory (MPIL) will support studies on vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT). – McMaster


Projects selected by Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) for its Shovel-Ready Challenge program will share $176 million to accelerate economic recovery and support environmental sustainability. The bulk of the stimulus funding ($126 million) is being sourced from the carbon price paid by large emitters in Alberta through the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) fund while the remaining $50 million will come from the federal Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund (LCELF). The 16 projects represent a total investment of more than $2 billion in public and private funding. Among the pilots and demos chosen are ConocoPhillips Canada's Surmont Steam-Additives Pilot (project value: $28,200,000); Canadian Natural Resources Limited's In-pit Extraction Process Demonstration (project value: $99,700,000) and Suncor Energy's Inc. Suncor PURE Demonstration Facility (project value: $52,500,000). – ERA Alberta

The Government of Ontario is investing $48 million over two years to advance research, innovation and talent in several Ontario research institutes and universities. The funding includes $24 million over two years for the Perimeter Institute (Waterloo); $12 million over two years for Advanced Research Computing (ARC) facilities at research institutes in Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, London, Oshawa, St. Catharines, Toronto, Waterloo and Windsor; and $12 million over two years for the SNOLAB (Sudbury). – Ontario Government

Operational funding for the national advanced research computing (ARC) platform is transitioning from the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) Major Science Initiatives (MSI) Fund to the Digital Research Alliance of Canada (the Alliance). In response, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), the Compute Canada Federation (CCF), the CFI and the Alliance are updating the guidelines for integrated hardware (contributed systems). The renewed guidance will take effect for CFI funding decisions after March 31, 2022. – Canada Foundation for Innovation

Early stage agri-food companies in Saskatchewan are the focus of $1.5 million of support from the Global Agri-Food Advancement Partnership (GAAP), a not-for-profit established by Ag-West Bio, University of Saskatchewan's Global Institute for Food Security, Innovation Place, and the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre. The funding will be delivered through Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan) under the Regional Innovation Ecosystem (RIE) program for agri-businesses who need support advancing their technologies to market. – GoC

Meanwhile, PrairiesCan is contributing $1.35 million to help oil and gas tech engineering company C-FER Technology to upgrade one of its Edmonton facilities for testing hydrogen fuel infrastructure and equipment technologies. – GoC

A challenge to small businesses to modernize tree seedling production and make tree planting more cost-efficient and sustainable has been launched through the Innovative Solutions Canada program. The challenge is led by Natural Resources Canada; winning businesses may receive up to $150,000 to refine R&D and, if accepted into phase 2, up to $1 million to develop a working prototype. The deadline for applications is Dec. 21, 2021. – GoC

The Arthritis Society is looking for ideas for its Arthritis Ideator Program, part of the Arthritis Society’s new Innovation Strategy which includes Ignite Research Grants for high-risk, high-reward research and Social Impact Projects for deploying innovative therapies, programs and interventions. The deadline for applications is Dec. 21, 2021. Four innovations will each receive a $50,000 grant to help them grow their venture. – Arthritis Society


The 2022 edition of US News & World Report's Best Global Universities Rankings placed the University of Toronto first in Canada and 16th in the world in academic research performance, moving it up one spot from a year earlier. Among public universities, U of T continues to be ranked fifth in North America and seventh globally. University of British Columbia and McGill University placed second and third in Canada and 35th and 51st globally, respectively. – US News

The University of Ottawa has launched the Interdisciplinary Centre for Black Health (ICBH), the first Canadian research centre entirely dedicated to studying Black health in Canada, including the biological, social, cultural and economic determinants of Black health. The centre features researchers from five different faculties of UOttawa, five research institutes from hospitals affiliated with the University, and five research chairs who will lead a specific research axis in Black health. – UOttawa

Air Canada and Carbon Engineering (Squamish, BC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to identify potential opportunities for advancing aviation decarbonization. They plan to explore potential cooperation activities in sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and permanent carbon dioxide removal and innovation, including opportunities for Air Canada to purchase SAF using CE technology. – Cision

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and, an Ottawa-based intelligence management software firm, have teamed up on a pilot program to develop an artificial intelligence (AI) governance framework with software that supports the ethical and transparent governance and measurement of AI deployments. –


Dr. Dan Breznitz has been appointed Clifford Clark Visiting Economist for the 2021/22 academic year at the federal Department of Finance. Breznitz is a fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research where he co-directs the program on Innovation, Equity and the Future of Prosperity, and holds the Munk Chair of Innovation Studies and is the co-director of the Innovation Policy Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy. – Munk School

Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne joined representatives from 18 Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) member countries and the European Union for the second annual plenary of the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) in Paris, France, last week. GPAI was launched in June 2020 under a Canada-France partnership and aims to bridge the gap between theory and practice on AI by supporting cutting-edge research and applied activities on AI-related priorities. Champagne highlighted the GPAI's progress in its first year under Canada’s chairmanship and passed the torch to France, which is taking over as GPAI Council Chair for 2021-22. – GoC 

Montreal-based BrainBox AI has been announced the winner of the Tech For Our Planet program challenge at COP26 following president Sam Ramadori's presentation on BrainBox's AI-enabled technology for reducing building emissions. The challenge was a partnership program run by UK-based government technology company PUBLIC and the UK Cabinet Office to showcase startup digital solutions for global climate efforts. BrainBox AI was one of ten companies selected to present at COP26’s Tech For Our Planet program. – LinkedIn

Conservative Party of Canada and Opposition Leader Erin O'Toole has announced his Shadow Cabinet. Science, technology and innovation appointments include: Hon. Ed Fast (Innovation, Science & Industry), Luc Berthold (Health), Hon. Michelle Rempel Garner (Natural Resources), Rick Perkins (Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard) and John Barlow (Agriculture, Agri-Food and Food Security). – CPC


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