The Short Report - Oct. 28, 2020: UWaterloo targets Japanese market, Calgary breaking venture capital record, and more

Cindy Graham
October 28, 2020

VENTURE CAPITAL                                                                  

Calgary will break its record for attracting venture capital in 2020, reports the Calgary Economic Development Agency. More than $200 million in venture capital investments were generated by the end of August. – Calgary Herald


The Alberta government has announced several awards through its Major Innovation Fund. The University of Alberta will receive $4.5 million to coordinate artificial intelligence (AI) projects from post-secondary institutions across Alberta that are related to automation in transportation, surgery, manufacturing and industry. An additional $1.8 million will support research on laser treatment for skin disease and cancer, remote sensing solutions for the oil sands, the roles of carbohydrates in disease, and the creation of a data portal for research on the care of seniors. Major Innovation Fund investments at the University of Calgary include $3 million for the Quantum Alberta network to commercialize quantum research in molecular chemistry, large-scale biological research, geological exploration, space technology and quantum satellite communications, and $3.9 million for research on antimicrobial resistance. An additional $4.9 million will go to the university’s SMILE-UVI satellite project and to study the impact of space radiation on various infrastructures and technologies. – The Gateway, Government of Alberta

The Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN) and Japanese accelerator Landing Pad Tokyo (LPT) are partnering to bring University of Waterloo-developed technologies to the Japanese market, and accelerate R&D through partnerships with Japanese businesses. The Waterloo Commercialization Office will work with WIN and LPT to accelerate this opportunity for more WIN-affiliated startups. – UWaterloo


Dorval-based Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada has launched The Canadian Biome Digital Innovation Hub (the Novartis Canada Biome) to develop scalable, digital solutions for patients and healthcare providers. The hub will be based at Mila, the Montreal artificial intelligence institute that formed an alliance with Novartis in 2019. – Novartis

Ottawa has announced $4.3 million for the Stem Cell Network’s competitive research funding program. This investment will support 16 projects from across Canada that will address health challenges including type-1 diabetes, cancer, blood disorders, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy. – GoC


Vancouver Island University (VIU) and North Island College (NIC) have created Vancouver Island Work-Integrated Learning (VIWIL), an online hub where employers in the region can access student talent. Mitacs and the Royal Bank of Canada Foundation will fund a new business development specialist position to collaborate on the project and engage with at least 50 employers to offer tailored support in accessing student talent. VIU


The Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN) will receive $100 million over four years from Ottawa’s Strategic Innovation Fund to reduce the impact of emissions from the oil and gas industry. CRIN will call for project applications related to ecosystem growth, enhancement, and long-term sustainability. At least half of the funding will go to small and medium-sized businesses. – CRIN

Canadian Nuclear Labs (CNL) of Chalk River, Ontario, has been awarded a contract through Transport Canada’s Clean Marine Funding program to transition away from fuels that contribute to marine pollution and climate change. The three-year project will assess and pursue the use of hydrogen and other clean energy technologies as they apply to marine operations in Canada and internationally. – CNL

The Alberta Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the province’s Results Driven Agriculture Research agency have reached a $37-million annual agreement that will give farmers and ranchers more say over what research is conducted. The agreement will focus on four research priorities: enhanced productivity, profitability and competitiveness; sustainable and responsible agricultural production; market demands: food safety, quality, value-added products and diversification; and extension and knowledge transfer. –  Government of Alberta

The Canadian Wheat Research Coalition and Manitoba Crop Alliance have committed $22.6 million over five years to a core breeding agreement with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) for the development of wheat varieties. The new wheat cultivars would provide farmers with higher yields, resistance to diseases such as fusarium head blight, rusts, and common bunt, and resistance to pests such as the orange wheat blossom midge and wheat stem sawfly. – CWRC


The National Research Council of Canada and Red River College’s Technology Access Centre for Aerospace and Manufacturing are partnering to create a training and applied research centre that will develop advanced composite materials for aerospace applications at the college’s Winnipeg campus. Western Economic Diversification Canada is funding the centre, which will serve as a composite-forming training hub for small- and medium-sized enterprises and develop skills for the aerospace workforce. – GoC

Genome Canada will receive $16 million from the federal government for 10 projects related to genomic research (health, agriculture and the environment) and an additional $40.9 million in co-funding from provincial governments, businesses and research partners to support nine projects within its Genomic Applications Partnership Program and one Structural Genomics Consortium project. – Genome Canada


The Public Health Agency of Canada is receiving $5.4 billion in additional funding for medical research and to help develop and purchase more vaccines and COVID-19-related treatments for the Canadian market. The funding is detailed in the government’s 2020-21 fiscal year Supplementary Estimates, released Oct. 22. These are the second of three Supplementary Estimates planned for this fiscal year. – Newswire

Two Alberta programs designed to help the province’s tech-focused small and medium firms impacted by COVID-19 will receive $1.3 million from Western Economic Diversification Canada, as part of the Innovation Release and Recovery Fund. The funding will allow the Alberta Innovation Network to launch GrowthX—a six-month program focused on strengthening product management knowledge and the marketing and sales plans for post-revenue technology-based companies. – Alberta Innovates

COVID-19 Resources Canada has received a $250,000 grant from the Trottier Family Foundation that will allow a hub of multidisciplinary volunteers to continue to support research, internal operations, public health responders and community needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. – COVID-19 Resources Canada


Minister of Northern Affairs Daniel Vandal appointed 13 members to a post-secondary education task force studying ways to close gaps in education and skills training between the North and the rest of Canada as detailed in the government’s Arctic and Northern Policy Framework. – GoC

Tim Lougheed has been appointed the interim executive director of the World Federation of Science Journalists, having been involved with the organization for the past 20 years and serving as treasurer for the past three. Lougheed is stepping down from that position now to assume his new duties and Sharon Oosthoek is replacing him as treasurer. – WFSJ

Marek Sipowicz has been appointed chief medical officer of Vancouver-based WPD Pharmaceuticals. Sipowicz will lead Phase I and Phase II of WPD’s clinical trials for a number of drug candidates in its portfolio. – WPD Pharmaceuticals


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