Numbers

Number 6 / Volume 36 / June 22, 2022

Editorial

Purveyors of 5G hardware are eager to tell us how important this technology will be for Canadian innovation, but new goods and services arising from this technology are likely to come from its users, not necessarily its manufacturers. Although the Chinese firm Huawei was banned as a manufacturer, it remains an active partner with many of the early adopters of 5G systems, which raises questions about whether Canadians will enjoy any of the economic benefits generated by innovation carried out and supported by Canada. It is a tale as old as the inventor of fire, who reaped few rewards compared with those learned how to work with fire.

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Bringing Indigenous-led ocean science into Canada’s “blue” economy

Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans has begun funding projects that bring Indigenous knowledge into the development of the country’s “blue” economy, which is based on a sustainable use of marine resources. Their work is part of a larger initiative to help First Nations become more self-sufficient in gathering and using information about such resources.

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The Short Report - June 22, 2022: A big investment in CCRM's OmniaBio, feds seek to advance digital charter, forging a new oil sands alliance, launching a climate impact accelerator, and more.

South Korea’s Medipost acquires OmniaBio for contract development and manufacturing; Ottawa introduces legislation to bolster trust in the digital economy; a new oil sands alliance combines Canada’s three major oil producers, KPMG Canada and MaRS Discovery District launch a climate impact accelerator program, and more.

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Novel energy source has its ups and downs

Canada is well positioned to develop a proposed new technology that could turn high-rise buildings into giant “gravity batteries” for producing and storing energy, improving buildings’ energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Dr. Julian Hunt, PhD, research scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, says in an op-ed.

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Lessons learned and points to ponder — a fading pandemic's legacy

Sound government policy is required to guide the major forces shaping Canada’s post-pandemic future, including: digitization; managing debt; role of government; expectations of business; behaviour and values; and environment and energy, Arden Brummell and Greg MacGillvrary, managing editors at Calgary-based Scenarios to Strategy Inc., say in an op-ed.

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The Short Report - June 8, 2022: Support for dozens of Research Chairs, a centre of excellence for sports and sports medicine, protocols for researchers and policymakers in the Arctic, and more.

Feds announce $102 million for new, renewed chairs at 35 Canadian research institutions; U of T receives a 20-million donation for research, innovations and clinical programs in sports and sports medicine, new protocols for Arctic research and policymaking from the Inuit Circumpolar Council, and more.

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Debating decrim: hard drugs and hard decisions

Researchers are touting B.C.’s pilot initiative to decriminalize hard drug possession as a model to be applied across the country. They suggest studies to determine the efficacy of this approach to managing the harmful effect of addiction.

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Canada looks to own another podium

Waterloo-based business accelerator Communitech has announced the roster of Team True North, which consists of Canadian firms that are poised to grow to at least $1 billion in revenue by 2030. The methodology for identifying these enterprises is similar to the highly successful Own the Podium initiative, which dramatically increased Canada’s Olympic medal count.

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Indigenous health at the heart of new research network

Indigenous people in Canada have much higher rates of heart disease than the national average, yet they are underrepresented in cardiovascular research initiatives. A new health research network intends to correct this problem by integrating Indigenous community members into investigative work.

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Use it or lose it, says report on Canada's AI advantage

The explosion of artificial intelligence innovation will transform the way research is done, but Canada must expand existing its strengths in AI or risk losing its competitive advantage in the technology, according to a new report by the Council of Canadian Academies.

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Alberta Innovates provides $9.1-million boost for the province’s tech SMEs

Alberta Innovates is investing more than 9.1 million in 15 projects aimed at supporting Alberta’s SMEs and addressing gaps in the innovation continuum from ideation to commercialization. The largest grant — nearly $1.35 million — went to Calgary-based Cybera Inc. for its newly established Applied Data Science Lab for Economic Development program.

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Championing a charter to facilitate health data sharing

A group of experts charged with providing strategic direction and roadmap for the maximizing the impact of health data is calling for the establishment of a Canadian Health Data Charter — one of 10 recommendations released this month as part of the Pan-Canadian Health Data Strategy.

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News Bites

Number 5 / Volume 36 / May 25, 2022

Editorial

Innovations once seen as threatening can turn out to be immensely useful and welcome, as circumstances change to enable them to provide positive economic or social benefits.

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Health Research Foundation supports health system resilience in wake of COVID

The Health Research Foundation, created by the pharmaceutical industry consortium Innovative Medicines Canada, has created two research chairs at the University of British Colombia and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. The two posts are dedicated to exploring how to make Canadian health care more resilient to major challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic.

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New vaccine shows how Canada can tackle TB

A team of Canadian researchers at McMaster University is developing an inhalable TB vaccine that would act as a booster to strengthen immune protection right at the site of infection — the lungs. If successful, it would be among the first new effective TB vaccines in the world.

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Federally funded project aims to build collaborative network of SMEs to grow B.C.’s ag-tech sector

The “AGtech Innovation Sandbox” in British Columbia — which received $10 million in federal funding — aims to build a collaborative network of SMEs to grow the province’s ag-tech sector, based on an innovation model used to support companies developing digital health technologies. Meanwhile, Vancouver is ranked No. 9 in the world’s top 35 “ag-tech and new food” ecosystems, according to a new report from Startup Genome.

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Opinion Leader:
Joe Zink

Competitiveness and courage point the way to greater food security

Stricter competitiveness — including changes to Canada’s anti-competition laws — are required in agriculture-related industries to help address issues of food security and food quality, longtime farm manager Joe Zink says in an op-ed.

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Quebec supports quantum leap for enterprises

The Quebec government has established a $20 million fund to help companies build working relationships with the research community, so that these enterprises can develop their IT platforms to handle the latest digital or even quantum technology.

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New resource promotes fair compensation for women in STEMM

A database launched this month aims to normalize compensation for expertise in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) fields. It makes public crowdsourced data on speaker fees and honoraria — small but significant forms of reward and recognition in academia. 

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The Short Report - April 27, 2022: Canada-EU research partnership talks, CIHR's new clinical trials fund, a nationwide platform to study Covid's impact on children, U de M's natural life sciences boost, and more.

The EU and Canada move toward formal negotiations on research partnership; CIHR to meet health challenges with a clinical trials fund; a nationwide research network to improve pediatric outcomes, the Courtois Foundation donates $159 million to UdeM for the discovery of new materials, and more.

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News Bites

News Briefs

Number 4 / Volume 36 / April 20, 2022

Editorial

If academia wants more federal funding for discovery-related research, it will need to do a better job at persuading political leaders and policymakers that post-secondary research is as important as industrial innovation when it comes to driving productivity and growth.

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The Short Report - March 30, 2022: Ottawa releases $9.1B emissions reduction plan, Montreal's CDL surpasses $1B in equity value creation, Canada's tech performance blooms in 2021, and more

Government of Canada releases a $9.1 billion emissions reduction plan, Montreal’s Creative Destruction Lab doubles its $500 million target within first 5 years of opening, US dollars driving Canadian technology’s investment surge in 2021, four provincial governments agree to a joint strategic plan on small modular reactors, and more.

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Opinion Leader:
Ling Huang

Changes to government policy could enable SMEs to deliver effective and meaningful workplace inclusion programs

Changes to government policy could enable small and medium-sized businesses to offer meaningful workplace inclusion programs for people often excluded from the labour force such as youth with autism, to help address Canada’s labour shortages, Ling Huang, co-founder and CEO of Edmonton-based Technology North, says in an op-ed.

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Canada’s first “credible” climate plan requires rapid policy implementation and massive investment, independent experts say

The federal government’s new climate plan is the most credible ever produced with the policies needed to meet Canada’s climate goals, but it will take accelerated policy implementation, massive private and public investment, and unprecedented technology deployment to actually achieve carbon emissions-reduction targets in 2030 and 2050, according to two independent think tanks.

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What will ocean-based industries and the Blue Economy look like in 2050?

Forecasted changes in ocean-based industries and the Blue Economy from now to 2050 will present many new opportunities for Canada, but more knowledge is needed to make sound decisions and build a stronger and more sustainable blue economy, says Dr. Bente Pretlove, the program director for ocean space in DNV Group, in an op-ed.

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News Bites

Number 3 / Volume 36 / March 23, 2022

Editorial:
Sebastian Leck

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has affected the entire world — and the effects are being felt in the world of science and technology, writes Sebastian Leck, Research Money’s managing editor.

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The Short Report - March 9, 2022: Sunsetting the Collaborative Health Research Projects program, $195M to support B.C. health research, Ontario's first Genome Data Science fellowships, Lululemon founder invests $100M into muscle disorder research, and more

CIHR and NSERC terminate Collaborative Health Research Projects program, BC’s government invests in life sciences to boost health research, Ontario Genomics and CANSSI Ontario award inaugural postdoctoral fellowships in genome data science, Lululemon founder gives $100 million for muscle disorder research, a strategy to make Manitoba a leader in sustainable protein production, and more.

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Lessons from long-term care can inform innovation across Canada's healthcare system

Lessons learned in the long-term healthcare sector during the COVID-19 pandemic — including rapid innovation, sharing knowledge and partnership — can be applied to improve health systems across Canada and meet the growing need for safe, high-quality care for older adults, say Health Excellence Canada’s Jennifer Zelmer, president and CEO, and Tanya MacDonald, director of innovations and strategic development, in an op-ed.

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Opinion Leader:
Darren Gresch

How do we future-proof the Canadian economy?

Given the changing nature of work in Canada, governments, employers and educational partners will need to get creative with their support for reskilling and upskilling workers. This includes collaborating to build and modify the content of training and educational programs and incentivizing workers to retrain, says Darren Gresch, Senior Research Associate, Innovation and Technology, at the Conference Board of Canada, in an op-ed.

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News Bites

Number 2 / Volume 36 / February 23, 2022

Editorial:
Sebastian Leck

Canada’s dependence on a single bridge in Windsor turned out to be a liability during the convoy protests this month. We can learn from it to avoid similar complacency in the future, writes Sebastian Leck, Research Money’s managing editor.

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Opinion Leader:
Ömer Kaya and Daniel Katz

The Liberal government needs to prioritize its staggering list of mandate letter commitments

In December, the new federal ministers’ mandate letters made a total of 645 specific commitments. That’s a “staggering” list that needs to be prioritized and consolidated, Ömer Kaya, Chief Executive Officer, and Daniel Katz, Lead Research Analyst, at Ottawa-based Global Advantage Consulting Group, say in an op-ed.

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Canada showed strong growth in patents for pandemic prevention technology in last two decades, CIPO report finds

Canada ranked eighth globally in the number of patented pandemic mitigation technologies filed by institutions worldwide between 1999 and 2018, according to a report by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office done in collaboration with the National Research Council. The report found that Canadian institutions had a high relative specialization for pandemic mitigation technologies, especially in the therapeutics and vaccine development research area.

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The Short Report – Feb. 9, 2022: Quebec getting Canada’s first universal quantum computer, Canadian cleantech companies receive more than $52 million in SDTC funding, Ocean Supercluster announces largest project to date, public servants learn about AI, and more

The Short Report – Feb. 9, 2022: Quebec gets Canada’s first universal quantum computer, Canadian cleantech companies receive more than $52 million in SDTC funding, Ocean Supercluster announces largest project to date, public servants learn about AI, new VP of research programs at CIHR, and more.

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Incoherent approach to managing health data in Canada urgently needs fixing

Canada’s incoherent approach to managing health data urgently needs fixing because it is hurting health outcomes, escalating sector costs and expanding inequities, Ewan Affleck, senior medical advisor, health informatics, with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta, and Vivek Goel, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Waterloo, say in an op-ed.

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News Bites

Number 1 / Volume 36 / January 26, 2022

Editorial:
Sebastian Leck

Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne finally received his mandate letter last month — and with it came a very long list of to-do items, writes Sebastian Leck, the managing editor of Research Money.

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More interdisciplinary training in science, engineering and business could boost innovation

Providing more interdisciplinary academic programs and training in science, engineering and business to students in post-secondary institutions could break disciplinary silos and boost Canada’s lagging innovation, says Dr. Alexandre Navarre, PhD, associate researcher at École de technologie supérieure in Montreal and past director of technology transfer units at McGill University and Western University.

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New advanced research agency high on federal innovation minister’s lengthy to do list

Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne is facing a very busy year, with a mandate letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that includes more than 30 assigned tasks. They include establishing a new advanced research projects agency, launching a Canadian critical minerals strategy and a national quantum strategy and creating a global centre of excellence for eliminating methane gas emissions.

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The Short Report – Dec. 22, 2021: Trudeau releases mandate letters, a promising brain diseases partnership, a national survey of young people’s attitudes towards science, and more

A new Quebec neuroscience partnership may advance drug discovery for brain diseases through AI and Open Science; a CFI national survey shows most young adults have confidence in science; Dr. Leah Cowen has been named the University of Toronto’s vice-president, research and innovation, and strategic initiatives, and more.

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Opinion Leader:
Eric Newell and Perry Kinkaide

Canada needs a climate strategy that leverages wealth of hydrocarbons to transition to low-carbon energy systems

Canada needs to broaden its climate strategy and streamline energy decision making, to leverage the nation’s wealth of hydrocarbons to help transition to low-carbon energy systems, Eric Newell, Chancellor Emeritus at the University of Alberta and former CEO at Syncrude Canada, and Perry Kinkaide of Kinkaide Enterprises, say in an op-ed.

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New federal Earth Observation strategy prioritizes open data

Canada’s new strategy for satellite Earth Observation (satellite EO) aims to ensure government, researchers and industry have the data they need to monitor the health of the planet and respond to climate change and security threats. There was no new funding attached to the strategy, but it supports Canada’s vision for space, which prioritizes harnessing space science and technology to solve important challenges on Earth.

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Alberta's major universities hit pause on new research initiatives with China

Alberta’s four major universities have put a hold on developing new research initiatives and renewing existing research agreements with entities in China, as directed by the provincial government. All four universities also have submitted reports to Alberta Advanced Education detailing all agreements, research relationships, institutional relations and joint ventures under way with entities connected to the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party.

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News Bites