Canada Research Coordinating Committee , Acuitas Therapeutics, Alphawave Semi, Amazon, Âsokan Generational Developments, Association of Consulting Engineering Companies-Canada , Atlas Public Policy, Bayside Corporation , BC Cancer Foundation, Bloomberg, Bulletproof Solutions, C.D. Howe Institute, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canadian Space Agency, Carleton University, CIBC Foundation, CIFAR, City of Regina Procurement, Climeworks , Communitech, Compufix, Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq, Conference Board of Canada, Convrg Innovations , Council of Canadian Academies, CQDM, Creative Fire, Dalhousie University, Dapper Labs, Datasys Group Inc., Deep Sky, Deloitte Canada, DIGITAL, European Commission, European Space Agency, Evidence for Democracy, EXACT Technology Corporation , French National Research Agency, GE Hitachi, GoBolt, Government of Alberta, Government of British Columbia, Government of Canada, Government of New Brunswick, Government of Ontario, Government of Saskatchewan, Gwich'in Development Corporation, Hostaway, House of Commons, Huawei Canada, Hydrogen Technology & Energy Corporation (HTEC), Impact Investments, Indigenous Institute , Indigenous Leadership Circle in Research , Indigenous Manufacturing and Contracting Network, Indigo Arrows , Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, Institute of Corporate Directors, International Energy Agency, Invest Ottawa, Jobber, Kinterra Capital , KPMG Canada, Lafarge Canada Inc. , Lakehead University Agricultural Research Station, Laurentian University, Laurentis Energy Partners, MDA Ltd., Memorial University of Newfoundland, Metis Settlements Development Corporation , Michael Smith Health Research BC, Microsoft, Natural Resources Canada, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Neo Financial, Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc., Next Hydrogen Solutions Inc, North Forge , Northern Computer, Northvolt, NPower Canada, Ontario Power Generation, Openmind Research Institute, Opportunities NB, Prime Minister's Office, Proptech Collective, Protein Industries Canada, SAP Canada, SaskPower, SatixFy Communications Ltd. , Science Council of Canada, Seneca Polytechnic College , Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Square Peg Communications, Syncsys, TELUS, TransAlta Corporation, U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research, Université de Saint-Boniface, Université du Québec à Rimouski, Université Laval, University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, University of Calgary, University of Ottawa, University of Toronto, and WORK Microwave


AI applications in agriculture, airborne and spaceborne satellite communications equipment, Alberta Sovereignty within a United Canada Act, Canada First Research Excellence Fund, Canada's deficit in cybersecurity talent, Canada's fastest growing companies, Canadian astronauts' missions, Canadian space industry expansion in U.K., climate-tech seed funding, Critical Minerals Infrastructure Fund, Cybersecurity, Deloitte Canada's Technology Fast 50, Enterprise—Industry leaders, Clean Technology, and Companies-to-Watch awards, developing more effective treatment strategies for cancer, development of Canada's critical minerals industry, development of sodium-ion battery, digital solutions for the concrete industry, diversifying the agricultural industry, electric vehicle sales in U.S., European Commission subsidies for hydrogen production, Falling Walls Lab Pitches competition, Future of Artificial Intelligence forum, global oil and natural gas sector's lack of contribution to a clean energy system, Horizon Europe research funding program, hydrogen-powered commercial trucking, importance of "threshhold" firms to Canada's economy, importance of U.S. mega-firms in innovation, Indigenous Institute's 5th Annual Indigenomics 2023 “10 to Watch List” , integrating hydrogen into electrical grid, international research collaborations, IP support for businesses, Laboratoire de recherche Fondation Richardson, large-scale direct air capture and storage technology, methane emissions from Alberta's oil and gas industry, Microsoft investment in cloud computing and AI infrastructure in Quebec, problems with Digital Charter Implementation Act, protecting post-secondary institutions from insolvency proceedings, provinces' opposition to Clean Electricity Regulations, raising capital for battery metals mining, regulating artificial intelligence, research on ocean's role in climate change, Research on Research Institute (RoRI), Seneca Centre for Innovation in Life Sciences, shift to renewable energy from coal, small modular nuclear reactors, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council 2023 Impact Awards, state of property technology firms in Canada , Strengthening Indigenous Research Capacity Strategic Plan, support for Indigenous, Black and other racialized entrepreneurs, technology adoption on farms, and Transforming Climate Action: Addressing the Missing Ocean

The Short Report: November 29, 2023

Research Money
November 29, 2023


Natural Resources Canada announced the first call for proposals under the Critical Minerals Infrastructure Fund (CMIF). With up to $1.5 billion available over seven years, the CMIF will support clean energy and electrification initiatives, as well as transportation and infrastructure projects to enable the sustainable development of Canada’s critical minerals. This call for proposals is the first of several under CMIF, with up to $300 million in contribution funding available under two streams: the Pre-construction and Project Development Stream; and the Infrastructure Deployment Stream. Applicants can seek access to up to $50 million per project for non-governmental applicants and up to $100 million per project for provincial and territorial governments investing in public projects. NRCan

Prairies-based Protein Industries Canada opened an expanded call for projects under the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy, with up to $20 million from the global innovation cluster for co-investment in eligible projects. This call will consider projects that span the entire agriculture and food value chain, from seed genetics to on-farm production through to ingredient manufacturing, food processing and logistics. Under the call, projects from consortiums of companies that use AI to contribute to the following outcomes will be considered:

  • Development of tools that accelerate commercialization of seed genetics
  • Improvement of on-farm information gathering to support advanced, real-time production decisions and improve sustainability (e.g. visual and other sensory technologies)
  • Technologies that maximize production and improve yields
  • Supply chain optimization
  • Ingredient development and food formulation
  • Quality assurance and food safety protocols. Protein Industries Canada

The Government of Alberta announced its new Alberta Carbon Capture Incentive Program (ACCIP), which will provide major industries with up to 12 per cent of eligible new projects costs. The ACCIP will help businesses in multiple industries, such as oil and gas, power generation, hydrogen, petrochemicals and cement, reduce their emissions by incorporating carbon capture, storage and utilization (CCUS) technology into their operations. CCUS is currently the only viable option available for these industries to significantly reduce their emissions, according to  the provincial government. The incentive program is reportedly expected to cost between $3.2 billion to $5.3 billion by 2035, depending on the number of projects. However, by 2025, CCUS development is expected to generate about $35 billion in investment in Alberta and add up to 21,000 jobs, the provincial government said. Provincial funding will be available once the federal government has legislated its CCUS investment tax credit and related operating supports, such as contracts for difference. The federal government, which in its fall economic statement released earlier this month, committed to tabling legislation for the CCUS credit before the end of the year, introduced the legislation this week.  Parliament stops sitting on December 15. Ottawa also said it's allocating $7 billion of the current $15 billion in the Canada Growth Fund to be used for contracts for difference that pay the industrial carbon price, which will provide compensation to companies if the level of the price is cancelled or weakened from its scheduled in increases each year. Govt. of Alberta 

The Government of Ontario is investing an additional $15 million over three years in the Racialized and Indigenous Supports for Entrepreneurs (RAISE) program to provide free access to business coaching, training and grants. The RAISE program will prepare more than 1,200 Indigenous, Black and other racialized entrepreneurs, including 450 entrepreneurs in 2023-24, to launch and grow successful businesses. The government is now accepting applications for the 2023-24 intake which will provide eligible entrepreneurs with online business development training (in partnership with DMZ at Toronto Metropolitan University), culturally responsive coaching, networking supports and a one-time grant of $10,000. Govt. of Ontario

The Government of British Columbia invested $16.5 million for a pilot project that uses hydrogen fuel to power commercial trucking in the province. B.C.-based hydrogen energy company HTEC will procure six different heavy-duty fuel-cell trucks and complete upgrades to a hydrogen-fuelling station in Tsawwassen and a maintenance facility in Abbotsford. The B.C. Pilot Hydrogen Truck Project aims to kick start the use of hydrogen, which unlike diesel fuel doesn’t produce any harmful emissions, in the commercial transportation sector. B.C.’s new Clean Energy and Major Projects Office, announced in March 2023, is now fully operational and supporting projects such as HTEC’s hydrogen trucking pilot. Govt. of B.C.

The Government of Ontario invested $5.9 million through the Hydrogen Innovation Fund  in nine new projects that will integrate hydrogen into the province’s electricity grid. As part of funding, Atura Power is receiving $4.1 million to blend hydrogen with natural gas to produce electricity at Halton Hills Generating Station, making it the largest electricity-based, grid-connected, low-carbon hydrogen blending project in Canada’s history. The Niagara Hydrogen Centre will utilize excess water that would otherwise have been spilled over Niagara Falls to create clean electricity that will be used to produce clean hydrogen for the project. Govt. of Ontario

The Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia will provide up to $3 million – through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership – over the next two years through the new BC On-Farm Technology Adoption Program. The funding will support farmers accessing new technologies, including robotic and automated equipment, farm-management software and digital sensors, to help them increase production, efficiency and profitability. Applications for the first year of the program will open on November 27, 2023, and will be accepted until December 22, 2023, or until funds are fully allocated. Innovate BC, through the Integrated Marketplace initiative, will deliver the program. Govt. of B.C.

The Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen) global innovation cluster is contributing $2.08 million to Montreal-based Geomega Resources Inc. for the construction of Geomega's rare earths recycling demonstration plant in St-Hubert, Quebec.  The funding is part of a total envelope of $2.96 million awarded to Geomega and a private Quebec based R&D company to perform the project, “Recycling and Production of Rare-Earth Oxides from Permanent Magnet Scrap.” The project will see magnet scrap supplied to Geomega to be recycled using its technology in the plant. The resulting rare earth oxides then will be used to produce rare earth metals by the project partner. Globe Newswire

The Government of New Brunswick, through the Crown corporation Opportunities NB, is providing Bulletproof Solutions, a global information technology and cybersecurity company headquartered in Fredericton, with up to $1.8 million in the form of a payroll rebate to help the company create 240 fulltime jobs – tripling its workforce by 2027. The new positions will include security analysts in the security operations centre, bilingual service desk agents, Microsoft Cloud security experts, Microsoft Cloud security specialists, and security pen testers. Govt. of New Brunswick

The Government of Canada and Government of Ontario are investing up to $1.65 million over five years to support research programming, knowledge transfer and the operations and management of the Lakehead University Agricultural Research Station. This multi-year funding through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership will help improve the viability and yield of crops in Northern Ontario, develop and diversify the agricultural industry, and position it for continued growth. The research will focus on areas such as best management practices for Northern agriculture, soil health, environmental sustainability and climate change, as well as research and knowledge co-developed with Indigenous researchers and communities. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada


Dalhousie University will receive $154 million from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) program to embark on the most intensive investigation ever into the ocean’s role in climate change. The Dalhousie-led research program receiving the funding, Transforming Climate Action: Addressing the Missing Ocean (see YouTube video here), is set to bring an ocean-first approach to climate science, innovation and solutions. It unites more than 170 researchers spanning diverse disciplines across Dalhousie and its partner institutions: Université du Québec à Rimouski, Université Laval and Memorial University of Newfoundland. Additional investment activated by this CFREF grant brings total funding for the initiative to nearly $400 million. The scientific strategy for the Transforming Climate Action program has three key objectives: reducing uncertainty about the ocean’s role in climate change; positioning Canada as the global leader in ocean-based carbon dioxide removal science and innovation; and advancing people-centric adaptation to ocean and climate change. The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq is a partner of Transforming Climate Action, which will allocate significant funding for Indigenous-led research. Dalhousie is Canada’s leading ocean research university, with more than 100 ocean-focused researchers and world-leading ocean research centres, including the Ocean Frontier Institute. Dalhousie University

Oil and natural gas companies in Alberta are underreporting their methane emissions by 50 per cent, according to Canada’s first-ever methane inventory for conventional oil and gas operations in the province. Major sources differ starkly from official estimates, the study found, with venting of methane from storage tanks, unlit flares and other oilfield equipment comprising almost two-thirds of emissions. Based on the research, the derived inventory for 2021 of 1,337 kilotonnes of methane emissions per year is 1.5 times the methane emissions reported in the official federal inventory, said Dr. Matthew Johnson, PhD, engineering professor at Carleton University’s Energy and Emissions Research Lab, who led the country’s first-ever upstream oil and gas methane census. The lab’s research is published in the peer-reviewed Nature journal Communications Earth & Environment. The research team, supported by $2.5 million in funding from international, federal, provincial, industry and non-governmental sources, measured emissions at surface level, from a plane and from satellite data. They looked at 3,500 different oil and gas facilities and 5,600 wells. Methane gas is nearly 83 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year span and on its own is responsible for raising the global average temperature by over half a degree. To address this threat, 150 countries, including Canada, signed a Global Methane Pledge at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in November 2021. The federal government is finalizing regulations on methane regulations. Carleton University

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the French National Research Agency (ANR) announced the first joint collaborative research opportunity to support researchers from both countries working on quantum computing hardware and software. Research projects supported through this partnership will enhance scientific collaborations and knowledge exchange between leading-edge researchers in Canada and France. NSERC

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and Michael Smith Health Research BC have become core partners in the Research on Research Institute (RoRI), with the goal of maximizing the benefits of Canada’s research investments informed by evidence of what works best. RoRI is an international consortium of research partners that examines how research is funded, practised, communicated and evaluated. RoRI’s mandate is to help funders and other key players transform research systems and cultures to deliver on the full potential of research. As core partners, SSHRC, CIHR and Health Research BC will engage in key projects and provide input on RoRI’s strategic direction. SSHRC

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce launched the Future of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Council, a 30-member forum representing a diverse cross-section of organizations from across the country, including council co-chairs Amazon and SAP Canada. The Future of AI Council supports government policies that establish AI as a positive economic driver, while also acknowledging the need for policies that consider the potential of risk. At the top of the council’s agenda is the federal government’s Bill C-27, the Artificial Intelligence and Data Act (AIDA), which the House of Commons is currently studying. During its inaugural meeting on November 6, the council determined that AIDA would be a core focus of its advocacy until the proposed legislation receives royal assent. Canadian Chamber of Commerce

The Government of Canada and the European Commission concluded an agreement for Canada to join Horizon Europe, the EU’s biggest research and innovation funding program with an EU budget of €95.5 billion for 2021-2027. The signing of the agreement is expected to take place in 2024, pending the completion of all necessary validations on both sides. Once signed, researchers and organizations in Canada will be able to receive funding under Pillar II of the Horizon Europe. Pillar II is the largest collaborative part of the program that is primarily focused on shared global challenges: climate, energy, digital economy and health, with a budget of €53.5 billion (Cdn$80 billion). Joining Horizon Europe will enable researchers and organizations in Canada to collaborate in calls under Pillar II on equal terms with entities from  EU member states. Canada will also have access to networks of researchers in the EU and 18 other countries associated to Horizon Europe as of 2024. Canada and the EU also launched a new Green Alliance, which includes cooperating on expanding the use of carbon pricing globally, and on carbon border adjustments which impose duties on emissions-intensive imports from countries with no or lower carbon prices. Canada and the EU also announced a new Digital Partnership, which includes coordinating the governance of artificial intelligence and regulating online platforms. European Commission, PMO’s Office

Communitech, Invest Ottawa and North Forge launched the federally funded ElevateIP initiative in Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. ElevateIP provides startups with three tiers of support: understanding IP, designing an IP strategy for your specific business, and implementing that strategy. Services include: education offerings and awareness resources; strategy development including patent mining, prior art searches, trademark searches, agreement review and more; and strategy implementation such as patent drafting/filing/prosecution, trademark registration, licensing agreement creation, open-source audit, and more. ElevateIP is a nationwide initiative funded through Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. It was announced in the 2021 federal budget, which included a commitment for $90 million over four years, BusinessWire

Laurentis Energy Partners, a subsidiary of Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and SaskPower  entered into a five-year agreement which will support deployment of small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) in Saskatchewan. Under the agreement, Laurentis Energy Partners will leverage Ontario’s nuclear knowledge and expertise to support SaskPower’s nuclear program management, project licensing and operational readiness. The agreement builds on recent international partnerships on SMRs, with numerous companies joining Ontario in advancing GE Hitachi’s BWRX-300 SMR (to be deployed at Darlington, Ontario) for international deployment – including in Poland and Tennessee, the Ontario government said. OPG and other Ontario nuclear supply chain providers have already signed major agreements valued at approximately $1 billion to export nuclear products and services to countries including Poland, Estonia and the Czech Republic. Government of Ontario

Montreal-based carbon dioxide removal startup Deep Sky has partnered with Climeworks in Zurich, Switzerland, to explore development of large-scale direct air carbon capture and storage projects in Canada, with a goal of removing up to one million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the air. Climeworks is the world’s first, and currently only, CO2 removal company to operate a large-scale commercial direct air capture and storage facility that verifiably removes CO₂ from the air. Deep Sky has multiple partnerships, including with California-based direct-ocean-capture startup Captura, as well as Svante, Mission Zero and Equatic. Climeworks

Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc., a consumer-packaged goods firm (which owns several health and wellness brands) based in Laval, Quebec, announced it entered into a non-binding letter of intent to acquire Datasys Group Inc., a U.S.-based data-marketing and artificial intelligence firm. Neptune’s proposed US$112-million purchase includes US$20 million in cash when the deal closes, US$32 million in restricted equity, and other payments over time. Neptune said it anticipates becoming a U.S. corporation in the context of the deal, which is subject to the negotiation of definitive documentation between the parties. Neptune Wellness Solutions

Brampton, Ontario-headquartered MDA Ltd., which provides advanced technology and services to the space industry, announced plans to more than double its workforce and operational footprint in the U.K. over the next 12 months. MDA plans to hire 75 new employees in the U.K. by the end of 2024, doubling its current U.K. workforce of 75 existing staff. MDA also will:

  • lease of a new facility in Stevenage with capacity for up to 100 digital satellite payload specialists
  • integrate and expand an existing facility in Manchester that will house up to 40 digital satellite communications staff
  • expand its existing facility in Didcot, with the lease of additional space on the Harwell Campus to accommodate engineering staff working on a range of exploration and in-orbit servicing missions.  

In October, MDA completed acquisition of the U.K.-based payload division of SatixFy Communications Ltd.  MDA

Ottawa-based Square Peg Communications, which provides airborne and spaceborne satellite communications products including test equipment, was selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) to implement an emulation environment that reliably tests a variety of scenarios across multiple satellite constellations as part of ESA’s Space for 5G and 6G Strategic Programme Line. Square Peg teamed up with European technology firm WORK Microwave, with support from the Canadian Space Agency and ESA. The project will enable ESA to realistically test a range of 5G scenarios across multiple satellite constellations in a more flexible and affordable way, and with better performance levels than any other solution on the market, Square Peg said. Square Peg Communications

Calgary-based TransAlta Corporation announced plans to spend $3.5 billion on delivering up to 1.75 gigawatts of renewable energy, including onshore wind, solar and battery storage, by 2028. The company expects that in five years, renewables will represent about two-thirds of its profits. TransAlta, which has brought online more than 800 megawatts of wind and solar power since 2021, will add an additional 1,750 MW of clean power within the next five years. It is a major transformation for a company that once operated a large fleet of coal-fired power plants and was one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases in Canada. TransAlta also announced a joint prospecting agreement with Hancock Prospecting to define, develop and operate clean energy solutions in Western Australia. TransAlta, barchart

Kelowna, B.C.-based Northern Computer, a cloud computing and cybersecurity company, has expanded into the Alberta market by acquiring Syncsys and Compufix in Edmonton. The expansion broadens Northern Computer’s presence from predominantly Kelowna, the Okanagan Valley, the Interior, the Lower Mainland and the Yukon. Techcouver

Lafarge Canada Inc. announced an investment (the amount wasn’t disclosed) in Toronto-based EXACT Technology Corporation which offers digital solutions for the concrete industry. EXACT’s technology monitors and controls concrete processes through an integrated suite of hardware and software, enhancing client efficiency and quality. Lafarge Canada said EXACT’s technology bolsters digital offerings available to its customers. Lafarge Canada

Ability to access capital along with attracting and retaining a qualified workforce remain significant business challenges among Canada’s fastest growing companies, according to Deloitte Canada’s annual survey of Technology Fast 50 program executive leaders. Sixty-one per cent of respondents felt their ability to access capital has worsened over the last five years, compared with 23 per cent of the companies surveyed in 2022. Twenty-four per cent ranked the labour market as the most pressing issue they face. The survey also identified technology advancements and new competition as growing concerns for businesses. On a positive note, respondents were optimistic about Canada having the highest immigration rate (as a percentage of existing population) of any G20 country, with 63 per cent agreeing that this influx has a strong or moderate positive effect on the availability of talent in the sector. An emerging trend among the Technology Fast 50 program winners is generative AI, with 52 per cent of respondents indicating  they are experimenting with it at some level in their own operations. In addition, 24 per cent of companies report they are already deploying generative AI, while 24 per cent have active pilots in place. Deloitte Canada also announced the winners of its Technology Fast 50, Enterprise—Industry leaders, Clean Technology, and Companies-to-Watch awards. Now in its 26th year, the Technology Fast 50 program recognizes the world-class achievements of Canada's leading technology companies – highlighting their commitment to innovation, strong leadership, and rapid revenue growth. This year, the average three-year growth of the Technology Fast 50 winners is 2,213 per cent. Winners are:

  • Dapper Labs, top-ranked with a three-year growth of 16,910 per cent, is a Vancouver-based Web3 firm using the power of play to deliver blockchain-based experiences and digital collectibles to fans around the world.
  • Alphawave Semi, best ranking in the Enterprise-Industry leaders category with a three-year growth of 1,547 per cent. The Toronto-headquartered company builds industry-leading wired connectivity solutions that enable data to travel faster, more reliably, and with higher performance at a lower power.
  • Convrg Innovations ranked No. 1 in the Clean Technology category, with three-year growth of 6,000 per cent. The Calgary-based company offers emissions reduction solutions for companies aiming to operate sustainably in oil and gas work sites.
  • Neo Financial,  winner in the Companies-to-Watch category, with the highest revenue growth at 81,732 per cent. The Calgary-headquartered company is building a smarter financial experience for all Canadians using the latest technology. Deloitte Canada

The Indigenous Institute announced its 5th Annual Indigenomics 2023 “10 to Watch List” at the Indigenomics on Bay Street conference in Toronto. The list is an annual award for businesses, partnerships and initiatives that are demonstrating excellence and leadership in the emerging $100-billion Indigenous economy. The awards recognize leaders who stand out for successfully building unique and strategic businesses, partnerships and initiatives that are impacting the way we interact and create value within the Indigenous economy. The winners are:

The conference heard that in the U.S. there are 30 to 40 First Nations with multibillion-dollar economics, and many others with economies that tally in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Indigenous Institute

See also: The potential $100-billion Indigenous economy must be incorporated into Canada’s future, author argues

Northvolt, a battery development and manufacturer based in Stockholm, Sweden, announced what it called a “breakthrough in battery designed and manufacturing” – a state-of-the-art sodium-ion battery, developed for the expansion of cost-efficient and sustainable energy storage systems worldwide. The company said its validated battery cell is more safe, cost-effective and sustainable than conventional nickel, manganese and cobalt or iron phosphate chemistries, and is produced with minerals such as iron and sodium that are abundant on global markets. The battery is free from lithium, nickel, cobalt and graphite. The sodium-ion technology, which has been developed together with research partner Altris, is intended to provide the foundation for Northvolt's next-generation energy storage solutions. Northvolt

Electric vehicles sales are expected to hit a record nine per cent of all passenger vehicles in the U.S. this year – up from 7.3 per cent of new car sales in 2022, according to Atlas Public Policy. It will be the first time more than 1 million EVs are sold in the U.S. in one calendar year, probably reaching between 1.3 million and 1.4 million cars, the research firm predicts. Several factors are behind the EV sales increase, including lower prices from EV manufacturers and generous tax credits offered through the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act. Although the numbers show significant progress for electrification, the U.S. is still lagging behind countries like China, Germany and Norway. EVs reached 33 per cent of sales in China, 35 per cent in Germany, and 90 per cent in Norway for the first six months of 2023, according to a BloombergNEF EV outlook published in June. These figures include both battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid EVs. In those countries, ambitious government zero-emissions targets, vehicle tax incentives and subsidies, and affordable options play a role in a consumer’s decision to adopt a plug-in vehicle. Associated Press

The European Commission opened the first auction under the European Hydrogen Bank, with €800 million  available now to subsidize production of hydrogen and a further €2.2 billion to come early next year. Producers will bid for a fixed premium per kilogram of hydrogen produced, to help them cover the additional costs of producing clean hydrogen. Europe has set a target of producing 10 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen per year in Europe and importing 10 million tonnes by 2030, but high costs of production and a lack of infrastructure are holding the sector back. Currently 95 per cent of hydrogen is produced using fossil fuels. Science Business


Microsoft announced it will invest US$500 million in expanding its hyperscale cloud computing and AI infrastructure in Quebec over the next two years. This investment will also increase the size of Microsoft’s local cloud infrastructure footprint by 750 per cent across Canada.  Microsoft said its digital infrastructure investment will expand its computing capacity by approximately 240 per cent over the next three years. The investment will accelerate the pace of artificial intelligence innovation and enable Quebec organizations to further build on the significant capacity already in place across the province – including an existing datacentre region, launched in 2016. New datacentre locations will be built in L’Ancienne-Lorette, Donnacona, Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures, and Lévis. KPMG Canada and Microsoft Canada recently launched the Operational Risk Skills Development Centre, an investment of $1.7 million over three years, which will offer free and hands-on French-first training to help businesses and governments build cybersecurity protections, navigate the opportunities and challenges of generative AI, and implement it responsibly. Also, NPower Canada, in collaboration with Microsoft Canada, is expanding its Canadian Tech Talent Accelerator in Quebec to provide new digital training and career development opportunities. With significant investment from DIGITAL, Microsoft and the CIBC Foundation, the Canadian Tech Talent Accelerator expanded in the fall of 2022, allowing NPower Canada to establish its first bilingual site for in-person training in Quebec. Microsoft’s investment announcement coincided with the launch of an economic and social impact report from Ernst & Young LLP, and commissioned by Microsoft, which found that Microsoft and its ecosystem in Quebec, which includes more than 3,200 partners and substantial cloud infrastructure accounts, supports over 57,000 jobs and contributes more than $6.4 billion annually to Quebec’s GDP. Microsoft

France-based PASQAL, which develops neutral-atom quantum computers, announced the launch of a $90-million quantum technology initiative over five years in Sherbrooke, Quebec, including R&D collaboration with academic and industrial partners in quantum computing with DistriQ, a quantum innovation zone. The Government of Quebec is providing a $15-million loan in connection with the investment, to establish PASQAL's subsidiary in DistriQ. PASQAL plans to open in 2024 a facility at the heart of DistriQ, within Espace Quantique 1, aimed at manufacturing neutral-atom quantum computers and the next generation of machines. Quantum Space 1 will also provide a collaborative space of nearly 5,000 square meters dedicated to quantum innovation. Equipped with advanced quantum computers, it will be utilized, among other purposes, by PASQAL as an R&D centre, for prototype testing, and for business activities in Canada. PASQAL also announced a contribution of $500,000 to the creation of a research chair within the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Sherbrooke, HPCwire

Toronto-based Kinterra Capital announced the closing of  its debut fund, the Kinterra Battery Metals Mining Fund, LP, with committed capital of US$565 million, surpassing its US$500 million target. Kinterra targets asset-level investments in stable jurisdictions – primarily in North America, Western Europe and Australia – that both source critical minerals and process them into chemicals required for EV batteries and other end products like energy storage solutions and renewable technologies. According to McKinsey, investments in mining, refining, and smelting will need to increase from approximately $3 trillion to $4 trillion by 2030 to “bridge the great raw material disconnect” set to arise from the energy transition. Kinterra Capital

Vancouver-based Active Impact Investments, a climate-tech seed fund VC firm, announced it has raised more than $70 million for its third fund. The raise includes a diverse group of new institutional investors, including co-anchor Northleaf Capital Partners through its Canadian venture capital strategy, Co-operators Corporate Venture Capital Fund, and Deloitte Ventures. Fondaction labour-sponsored fund returned as a co-anchor and the University of Victoria reinvested for Fund III. Impact Investments plans to add 20 companies to its portfolio. Building off of its first two funds, the third fund will continue to invest in early-stage, private companies across North America that are capable of achieving venture scale and profitability while solving urgent environmental issues. Active Impact Investments

Abaxx Technologies Inc., a Toronto-based financial software and market structure company, raised  $30.7 million from a group of institutional investors including BlackRock Inc. and Wellington Management Co., moving the company closer to launching a futures market aimed at meeting the needs of the global transition to low-carbon energy. Abaxx plans to begin its trading operations early next year in Singapore, Initially, the company will offer futures contracts for liquefied natural gas, carbon offsets and nickel sulphite, used in the manufacture of batteries. The money raised is expected to enable Abaxx to complete its final applications for "recognized market operator" and "approved clearing house" licenses for, respectively, Abaxx Exchange and Abaxx Clearing -- enabling the company to operate in Singapore. Abaxx, The Globe and Mail

Acuitas Therapeutics, a Vancouver-based biotech company, announced a $1-million gift to the BC Cancer Foundation. The donation will bolster the launch of a groundbreaking, multidisciplinary program led by Dr. Pamela Hoodless, PhD, at BC Cancer, dedicated to developing innovative technologies and exploring more effective treatment strategies for liver cancer. Due to the persisting stigmas around this disease, research efforts in this area have historically been underserved compared with other types of cancers. Techcouver

Toronto-based Pillway announced a minority equity investment of $9.5 million from Sun Life. Pillway said the investment will accelerate Pillway's mission of integrating cutting-edge technology with personalized care. Sun Life partnered with Pillway earlier this year to co-develop the Lumino Health Pharmacy app, which launched in June and connects users with a live pharmacist by chat or a phone call and allows them to order medications for fast delivery. Pillway

Toronto-based Birdseye secured $4.1 million in seed funding for its AI-powered marketing personalization platform.  The seed round featured sole investor Drive Capital, which also provided Birdseye with $685,000 in pre-seed  funding earlier this year. Masha Khusid, partner at Drive Capital, will be joining Birdseye’s board of directors. Using an AI algorithm trained on vast amounts of retail transaction data, the startup helps retailers hyper-personalize their marketing campaigns, matching potential customers with products they are likely to be interested in.  BetaKit

Victoria, B.C.-based fintech Peleton Technologies announced it secured $2 million in seed funding, just three weeks after acquiring Nanaimo, B.C.-based KIS Payments. Peleton offers an all-in-one payments platform to help Canadian small and medium-sized businesses process payments, complete transfers, exchange currency, and store payment data. The new capital will be key to the startup's acquisition strategy, Peleton said. Peleton

Huawei Canada is providing $4.8 million in funding to launch a new non-profit research laboratory at the Openmind Research Institute in Edmonton, after the federal government restricted the Chinese company’s ability to work with publicly funded universities. Richard Sutton, a professor of computing science at the University of Alberta and a pioneer in the field of reinforcement learning, launched the Openmind Research Institute which will fund researchers following the Alberta Plan, a 12-step guide he co-authored last year that lays out a framework for pursuing the development of AI agents capable of human-level intelligence. All  the work done by Openmind, which is separate from Sutton’s role at the University of Alberta, will be open-source and the institute will not pursue intellectual property rights. Canada banned the use of equipment from Huawei in 5G networks last year, citing the company as a security risk because of its connections to the Chinese government, which could use the company for espionage. Huawei has long denied the accusation. The Globe and Mail

REPORTS & POLICIES            

The Government of Saskatchewan, in its response to the federal government’s public consultation on the proposed Clean Electricity Regulations (CER), urged Ottawa not to proceed with the regulations as currently proposed. “The federal government's approach, in an attempt to regulate Saskatchewan's electricity system, is unaffordable, unconstitutional, and technologically and logistically unattainable,” Crown Investments Corporation Minister Dustin Duncan said. SaskPower estimates that families, communities, businesses and industries will see electricity rates more than double by 2035 to cover the costs associated with the CER and federal coal regulations. The federal net-zero power system plan is expected to cost Saskatchewan about $40 billion from now until 2035, according to the Saskatchewan government. Duncan also introduced The SaskEnergy (Carbon Tax Fairness for Families) Amendment Act, which the government said will protect Saskatchewan families from the “unfair and unaffordable” federal carbon tax. On October 30, Premier Scott Moe announced that SaskEnergy will stop collecting the carbon tax on January 1, 2024, in response to Ottawa’s decision to stop charging the carbon tax on home heating oil, which primarily benefits families in Atlantic Canada. Moe said the federal government should extend the exemption to all forms of home heating, but if they refused to do that, the province would stop collecting the carbon tax on SaskEnergy bills. The Alberta government also opposes the Clean Electricity Regulations. Premier Danielle Smith's United Conservative Party government on Monday introduced the first resolution under the Alberta Sovereignty within a United Canada Act in the province's legislative assembly. The resolution asks Alberta's cabinet to order all provincial entities not to recognize the constitutional validity of, enforce, or cooperate in the implementation of the CERs in any manner, "to the extent legally permissible." The order wouldn't apply to private companies or individuals. Alberta doesn't have enough applications for new natural gas-fired power plants to provide the substantial generation the province needs, primarily due to the investor uncertainty caused by the federal government's "extreme policies" the Alberta government maintained. Smith said her government would, as a last resort, consider establishing a provincial Crown corporation to manage the province's electricity supply and that could defy Ottawa's desire to limit electricity generation from natural gas. Govt. of Saskatchewan, CBC

There are now more than 500 property technology (prop-tech) firms founded in Canada, according the third annual report by the nonprofit Proptech Collective. Prop-tech companies are those innovating with technology in the commercial real estate, residential real estate and construction technology sectors. More than three-quarters of these firms are concentrated within five major hubs: Toronto (with approximately 46 per cent of all prop-techs in Canada), Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary and the Kitchener-Waterloo corridor. Collectively, these companies have raised $1.5 billion since June 2022, the report says. The top three proptech startups in Canada, ranked by amount of capital raised, are: Hostaway (hospitality segment), Jobber (home improvement and maintenance), and GoBolt (storage and logistics) Over the last decade, between 30 and 55 new prop tech firms have been founded in Canada each year, according to the report. Prop-tech ecosystem support appears robust, with several Canadian accelerators targeting innovation in the sector, including Creative Destruction Labs, Highline Beta, Communitech Hyperdrive, and Harvest Builders. Proptech Collective

Current efforts to regulate artificial intelligence – which focus primarily on reducing harms and mitigating risks – have an incomplete focus that doesn’t account for unprecedented economic and social change caused by AI, according to a new policy brief by CIFAR. AI could challenge the conventional targets and tools of regulation, which would have far-reaching implications, said the three co-authors of the report, “Regulatory Transformation in the Age of AI.” They propose a practical tool – “regulatory impacts analysis” – that is designed to: (1) assess the likely impact of AI on the targets and tools of regulation; and (2) assist policymakers in adapting governance institutions to the new and changing conditions arising from AI. The questionnaire-based tool is illustrated with case studies of how it could be used. CIFAR

Canada’s deficit in cybersecurity talent presents a serious threat to the country’s digital economy, but post-secondary institutions can play a vital role in training cybersecurity professionals, according to a new report by the Conference Board of Canada. The demand for cybersecurity skills has surged, driven by the rapid digitalization of businesses and the increasing frequency of cyberattacks, said the report’s authors. While the demand for cybersecurity professionals is widespread across the country, its geographical distribution is heavily concentrated in Ontario, specifically Toronto, which represents more than one-third of Canada’s cybersecurity labour market demand. Over the next five years, demand for cybersecurity professionals is projected to grow by an estimated average annual rate of 2.9 per cent. Post-secondary institutions should focus on developing cybersecurity programs that cultivate a diverse talent pool, the authors recommended. Doing so will promote a diverse workforce, enriched with different backgrounds and a broad range of perspectives, which is known to benefit workplace productivity. Global Newswire

An update to Canada’s federal privacy legislation is much needed, but legislators should be wary of proposed amendments that could increase the costs and uncertainty around implementing the new law, according to a policy brief by Daniel Schwanen, vice-president, research at the C.D. Howe Institute. Parliament is currently examining Bill C-27, the Digital Charter Implementation Act. Governments and companies should make wide-ranging efforts to help Canadians understand the benefits and risks for themselves of sharing (or not sharing) their personal data, including establishing a joint federal government-business body dedicated to an education campaign, Schwanen said. The federal government should contemplate leveraging its trade and commerce power further to seek harmonized privacy laws in Canada, with ideas and mechanisms for harmonization around reasonably robust standards, or for mutual recognition of these standards, he said. Legislators and governments should specifically allow and encourage the use of streamlined privacy requirements and procedures, as well as a longer phase-in for small businesses not dealing with sensitive information, he recommended. To help guide implementation of the new privacy legislation and development of harmonized privacy protection technologies, Canadian governments should establish an advisory Privacy Council comprising the relevant federal and provincial regulators, consumers, and those in the business and the research community that pledge to a duty of care with respect to privacy, Schwanen said. C.D. Howe Institute

The federal government is proposing to amend legislation to exclude public post-secondary institutions from becoming the subject of insolvency proceedings, according to the fall economic statement released earlier this month. Ottawa proposes amending both the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) and the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, so colleges and universities can avoid the same fate as Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario. In February 2021, Laurentian filed for insolvency, and under CCAA proceedings it closed 58 undergraduate degree programs, cut 11 graduate programs, and eliminated 194 full-time positions, including 116 full-time faculty, 41 unionized staff and 37 non-union jobs. The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations said it welcomed the government's move, as did Tom Fenske, president of the Laurentian University Staff Union. CBC,

The oil and natural gas sector – which provides more than half of global energy supply and employs nearly 12 million workers worldwide – has been “a marginal force at best” in transitioning to a clean energy system, according to a new special report by the International Energy Agency. Oil and gas companies currently account for only one per cent of clean energy investment globally – and 60 per cent of that comes from just four companies, it says. The IEA’s report, “The Oil and Gas Industry in Net Zero Transitions,” also warns that carbon capture, storage and utilization (CCUS) technology, “currently the linchpin of many firms’ transition strategies, cannot be used to maintain the status quo.” If oil and gas consumption were to evolve as projected under today’s policy settings, limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5º C “would require an entirely inconceivable 31 billion tonnes of carbon captured for utilization or storage by 2050," including 23 billion tonnes using direct air capture technology, the report said. The amount of electricity needed to power these CCUS systems would be greater than the entire world’s electricity demand today.. “The industry needs to commit to genuinely helping the world meet its energy needs and climate goals – which means letting go of the illusion that implausibly large amounts of carbon capture are the solution,” said Fatih Birol, IEA’s executive director. Every company’s transition strategy can and should include a plan to reduce emissions from its own operations, he said. To align with a 1.5º C scenario, the global industry’s own emissions need to decline by 60 per cent by 2030, the report said.  The US$800 billion currently invested in the oil and gas sector each year is double what is required in 2030 on a pathway to limit warming to 1.5º C, according to the report. “In that scenario, declines in [oil and gas] demand are sufficiently steep that no new long-lead time conventional oil and gas projects are needed. Some existing oil and gas production would even need to be shut in.” The report found that producers looking to align with the aims of the Paris Agreement would need to put 50 per cent of their capital expenditures towards clean energy projects by 2030, on top of the investment required to reduce emissions from their own operations. The report was released ahead of the United Nations COP28 climate summit, which begins this week in Dubai.  IEA

 The importance of mega-firms in generating “novel patents” – innovations that introduce new combinations of technology components for the first time – had been declining in the United States until about 2000, but has strongly rebounded since then, according to a study by the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research. The timing of this turnaround coincided with the ascendance of firms that newly became mega-firms in the 2000s, and a shift in the technological contents, characterized by increasing integration of information and communication technology and non-ICT components, the study's authors said. Mega-firms (the 50 publicly traded firms in the U.S. with the highest annual sales) also generate a disproportionately large number of “hits” – novel patents that lead to the largest numbers of follow-on patents (subsequent patents that use the same combinations of technology components as the first novel patent) – and their hits tend to generate more follow-on patents assigned to other firms compared with hits generated by non-mega-firms, according to the study. It is important to understand whether mega-firms are “clogging” the technology frontier and causing a slowdown in knowledge diffusion using patents and intellectual property regulations, the authors said. However, if mega-firms are the key actors in generating novel technologies – as the study suggests – then government regulatory intervention with mega-firms (such as limiting their size or market influence) may backfire, they said. National Bureau of Economic Research

A report by the Science Council of Canada – similar to the study of mega-firms by the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research cited above – noted the importance to Canada’s economy of what it called “threshold” firms: medium-sized Canadian companies, many of which have emerged as world-class competitors, operating in technology-intensive sectors. This threshold group of companies, including distinctive regional clusters, constitutes a promising core of innovative firms that warrant better assistance by government to accelerate structural adjustment, advance industrial growth and grasp emerging opportunities in the face of intense competition, according to the report. Written by Guy Steed, then science advisor with the Science Council of Canada, the report was released in 1982. But many of its observations are still relevant – and some of its recommendations are still waiting to be acted on – more than 40 years later. Steed called on government to build on strengths, particularly to nurture and support those sectors and firms currently or potentially competitive internationally. “Selective promotion [of threshold firms] is warranted when the market fails to support risky innovation and export efforts by technology-intensive SMEs. These SMEs need better access to capital markets,” his report said. “Developing more large Canadian-controlled firms may also be the key to expanding the market potential for small indigenous firms.” Among the report’s 14 recommendations was one that foreshadowed critics’ ongoing calls today for changes to the federal Scientific Research & Experimental Development tax credit program. Steed recommended that Revenue Canada, for tax purposes, should reconsider its interpretation of what constitutes R&D. “The current definition is heavily oriented to scientific research. Its interpretation leaves much room for bureaucratic discretion,” he said. According to Revenue Canada, interpretation problems can be resolved only by reference to the facts of each case, he noted. However, past interpretation has not readily incorporated the type of exploratory development work, trial production and engineering follow-through (including field and software experiments and shop-floor trial and error often undertaken by engineers and technicians, particularly in machinery and transport-equipment firms) that should, legitimately be considered R&D, according to his report. “A broader interpretation would more accurately reflect the spirit of current policy, which aims at increasing R&D in order to strengthen our international competitiveness.” Steed concluded that “probably the best investment Canadians can make in their industrial future is to nurture new threshold firms and to back existing ones.” R$

THE GRAPEVINE – News about people, institutions and communities

Dr. Eric M. Meslin, PhD (photo at right) who has led the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) for the past eight years, will be stepping down as president and CEO effective December 31, 2023, the CCA’s board of directors announced. Meslin is the longest-serving president in CCA’s 19-year history. More than 40 per cent of  CCA’s total assessments were completed under his leadership – on topics ranging from marine shipping to MAID, to climate change and artificial intelligence. Dr. Tijs Creutzberg, PhD, who currently serves as CCA’s director of assessments, will assume the role of interim president and CEO to oversee the organization’s daily operations and maintain its commitment to delivering impartial, evidence-based assessments to inform Canadian policymakers. The board of directors has initiated a search for a new president and CEO to lead the CCA. CCA 

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council announced the recipients of the SSHRC 2023 Impact Awards, the highest honour bestowed by SSHRC. The awards recognize outstanding Canadian researchers and their research achievements, research training, knowledge mobilization and outreach activities funded partially or entirely by SSHRC. The award winners are:

  • David Dyzenhaus, professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto, received the Gold Medal, SHRC’s highest research honour, for his profound impacts on the field of legal philosophy and on defending the rule of law globally.
  • Jessica Davis, PhD candidate at Carleton University’s Norman Patterson School of International Affairs, won the Talent Award for her research focusing on the effects and outcomes of counterterrorism policy, specifically counterterrorism financing legislation, policies and practices.
  • Kang Leeprofessor at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, received the Insight Award for his research on lying in children and how this differs in various social and cultural contexts. His work has contributed to reforms in Canadian law regarding legal evidence obtained from children, and their role as witnesses in criminal courts.
  • Andrew Martindale, professor in the anthropology department at the University of British Columbia, won the Connection Award for his interdisciplinary and collaborative work with Indigenous communities on legal systems and rights, as well as his application of geo-archaeology for the location of unmarked graves in efforts to locate missing children from Indian Residential Schools.
  • Jeremy de Beer and Chidi Oguamanam, both professors in the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa, were recognized with the Partnership Award as co-leads of the Open African Innovation Research (Open AIR) Network. Open AIR connects dozens of researchers across African countries, Canada and elsewhere to scale up innovation by easing tensions between intellectual property and access to knowledge. Alongside de Beer and Oguamanam, partners also recognized as part of this award were: Erika Kraemer-Mbula (University of Johannesburg, South Africa); Caroline Ncube (University of Cape Town, South Africa); Nagla Rizk (The American University in Cairo, Egypt); and Tobias Schonwetter (University of Cape Town, South Africa). SSHRC

The University of Calgary appointed Martha Hall Findlay (photo at right) as the new director of the School of Public Policy at the university. She’ll begin her five-year term starting January 8, 2024. Most recently, Findlay served as chief sustainability officer and chief climate officer for Suncor Energy, and prior to that was president and CEO of the Canada West Foundation. She was a Liberal MP for Willowdale from 2008 to 2011. As a corporate lawyer and executive, she developed extensive experience in energy, telecommunications, sustainability, trade (international and internal) and global markets. Findlay will replace Dr. Jackie Sieppert, PhD, who has served as interim director of the policy school over the last 18 months. UCalgary

The Indigenous Leadership Circle in Research (Leadership Circle) is looking to fill vacancies with new members who have a deep understanding of Indigenous research and want to contribute to improving the research landscape for Indigenous students and researchers in Canada. Deadline for applications is March 31, 2024. The Leadership Circle advises the presidents of Canada’s three federal research funding agencies on implementation of the Strengthening Indigenous Research Capacity Strategic Plan. Current members of the Leadership Circle include First Nations, Inuit and Métis researchers at various career stages and from a variety of research communities, including postsecondary institutions and Indigenous not-for-profit organizations with a research mandate. Canada Research Coordinating Committee

Canadian astronauts Jenni Gibbons and Joshua Kutryk received new assignments from the Canadian Space Agency. Gibbons will serve as the backup astronaut to Jeremy Hansen for the historic Artemis II mission to the Moon. Her work will include defining and validating the astronauts’ training and processes for future Moon missions. Kutryk was assigned to a six-month mission, launching aboard Starliner-1 no earlier than early 2025, on the International Space Station (ISS). Gibbons and Kutry were recruited as CSA astronauts in 2017 and completed their basic training together in 2020. Since then, their work has included guiding spacewalks from Mission Control and overseeing commercial vehicles procedures and daily ISS operations. CSA

Dr. Catherine-Alexandra Grégoire, PhD, has joined CQDM, a non-profit biopharmaceutical research corporation in Montreal, as a project manager, scientific affairs. Most recently, she held the position of research associate at the EPIC Centre of the Montreal Heart Institute. Her research focused on the impact of a healthy and active lifestyle to help prevent cognitive decline associated with aging and cardiovascular diseases. Also joining CQDM as a project manager, scientific affairs, is Dr. Annie Bernier, PhD. She spent more than two years in Paris where she worked as a laboratory manager at the Institut Curie, a cancer research and treatment centre. Her area of research focused on immune cell dynamics in solid tumors and cancer immunotherapy strategies modulating the tumor microenvironment. CQDM

CIFAR appointed Dr. Paul Dhalla, PhD to its board of directors. Dhalla is director of environment, climate and sustainability at the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), with global responsibility for AKDN’s environment and climate initiative. As vice-chair of AKDN’s Environment and Climate Committee, he facilitates the organization’s objective of making the environment and climate a cross-cutting theme and common priority across the AKDN’s agencies and institutions in all countries of operation. CIFAR

Joseph Bedard, a PhD candidate in the chemistry department at Dalhousie University, won the top prize in the Falling Walls Lab Pitches competition, a world-class interdisciplinary research pitch competition for students, researchers and early-career professionals, held in Berlin, Germany. His presentation (available here on YouTube) was about constructing plastic using nitrogen, one of the building blocks of air. Petrochemicals currently comprise 85 per cent of all plastics in the world. Typically, nitrogen is explosive when condensed into materials. But through his research, Bedard has found a way to employ phosphorus reagents to stabilize a high density of nitrogen into plastic materials. Dalhousie University

Sarah Laframboise is the new executive director of Evidence for Democracy (E4D), a non-profit organization that advocates for government policy decisions informed by the best available evidence. Over the last two years, Laframboise led E4D’s Support Our Science campaign, and was recently named to Canada’s Chief Science Advisor’s Youth Council. While completing her PhD in biochemistry at the University of Ottawa, she served as president of her graduate student association and founded the Ottawa Science Policy Network. Laframboise takes over from former executive director Rachael Maxwell. E4D

The Association of Consulting Engineering Companies-Canada (ACEC-Canada) elected Allyson Desgroseilliers, PEng., to chair its board of directors for the 2023-2024 term. She succeeds Tim Stanley, who led the development and adoption of a 2023-2026 strategic plan. Desgroseilliers, vice-president of environmental management for engineering and professional services firm WSP Canada’s Prairies and North markets, is the second woman in the association’s history to hold the position. The first was Anne Poschmann for 2014-2015, who was at the time a geotechnical engineer and principal of Golder Associates, which is now part of WSP. Canadian Consulting Engineer

Mississauga, Ontario-based Next Hydrogen Solutions Inc. appointed Rob Campbell as chief commercial officer. Prior to joining Next Hydrogen, Campbell served as CEO of First Hydrogen Corp’s energy division, chief commercial officer of Ballard Power, and president and CEO of SoloPower Systems Inc. Nex Hydrogen is a designer and manufacturer of water electrolysers that use water and electricity to generate clean “green” hydrogen. Next Hydrogen Solutions

Seneca Polytechnic College in Toronto opened its $9.4-million Seneca Centre for Innovation in Life Sciences (SCILS),   for  industry-focused research in biotechnology, cosmetic science formulations and life sciences diagnostics. The 3,000-sq-ft research and development laboratory, located at Seneca@YorkCampus (on York University‘s main campus), and with all applied research projects overseen by Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences & Applied Chemistry, was designed to expand the college’s capacity for applied research, testing and development of new products in controlled operating environments. The facility includes a BSL-2 containment room, a specialized room for the storage of controlled substances and a GMP-certifiable clean room. Funding for the facility included $2 million from the College and Community Innovation program managed by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, $1 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s College Industry Innovation fund, $1 million from the Ontario Research Fund, and $5.4 million from industry research partners and institutional investments. Seneca College

Université de Saint-Boniface in Winnipeg unveiled its new chemistry laboratories, including the Laboratoire de recherche Fondation Richardson. The $4-million-plus lab renovation consists of three distinct spaces: a teaching laboratory, a research lab and a preparatory and storage room. The spaces were designed to maximize efficiency and user safety, and feature modern equipment including speakers, televisions and individual ventilation systems. The laboratories are also suitable for people with reduced mobility to use. The project was supported by funding from the Government of Canada, Richardson Foundation, National Bank of Canada, and other donors. Université de Saint-Boniface


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