Bio-technology and Bio-manufacturing Acceleration Centre , Biologics Manufacturing Centre (BMC) , Canadian government , Dutch Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation , Flash Forest , French Ministry of Higher Education and Research, Government of Alberta , Government of Canada, Government of Ontario , Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada , Knowledge Park , Maverix Private Equity , Miovision Technologies , Mitacs , National Research Council of Canada , Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council , Research Nova Scotia , TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good , UBC Okanagan , UK Space Agency (UKSA) , University of British Columbia, University of Michigan, University of Victoria , Alberta government, AllosteRx Advanced Therapies, Amplitude Ventures, asterX, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Brightspark Ventures, Business Development Bank of Canada, Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM), Concordia University, Council of Ontario Universities, CTI Life Sciences Fund, Dalhousie University, Dalhousie University, Deloitte Ventures, Desjardins Capital, Energi Simulation Centre for Geothermal Systems Research, Export Development Canada (EDC), Federal Environment and Sustainable Development Commissioner, federal government, Forestry Innovation Transition Trust, French National Research Agency, Genesys Capital, Genome Canada, Global Traffic Technologies (GTT), Government of British Columbia, Hearst Ventures, Ignite, McGill University’s Macdonald campus, McMaster University, Mitacs, National Digital Excellence Centre, Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Ontario Poultry Research Centre, Opportunities New Brunswick, Optable, OurCrowd, Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, Pender Ventures, Protein Industries Canada, Saskatoon Rare Earth Processing Facility, Sectoral Asset Management, Simon Fraser University, TD Economics, TELUS Ventures, Thales Canada, Toronto Metropolitan University, University of Alberta, University of Alberta, University of Birmingham, University of British Columbia, University of British Columbia, University of Calgary's Schulich School of Engineering, University of New Brunswick’s McKenna Institute, University of Northern British Columbia, University of Saskatchewan, Verschuren Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment, Vital Metals Limited (VML), Wageningen University & Research, and Western University



The Short Report - April 26, 2023: New Frontiers in Research Fund competition; Alberta's funding for PTSD; B.C.-Mitacs internships; genomics research partnerships, and more.

Cindy Graham
April 26, 2023


The Government of Canada is investing more than $200 million in interdisciplinary and high-risk research through the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF). The investment will support 195 projects through three NFRF competitions: the NFRF 2022 Exploration Competition, which supports projects that bring disciplines together to reach beyond traditional disciplinary or common interdisciplinary approaches by research teams (more than $31 million for 128 research teams); the NFRF 2022 Transformation Competition (more than $142 million for six research teams), and the NFRF Special Call on Research for post-pandemic recovery Competition (almost $30 million for 61 research teams). Canada Research Coordinating Committee

The National Research Council of Canada has announced that the not-for-profit corporation Biologics Manufacturing Centre (BMC) has assumed responsibility for its operations, in accordance with the federal government's decision to have the facility operated through a public-private partnership. The NRC will continue to own the infrastructure and provide annual funding to ensure the facility's maintenance and preparedness for future public health emergencies. The Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM) has been selected to work with the NRC in setting up the not-for-profit corporation to operate the facility. National Research Council

The Government of Alberta is accepting applications for a new tax credit program called the Agri-processing Investment Tax Credit, which offers a 12 percent, non-refundable tax credit to corporations investing $10 million or more to build or expand agri-processing facilities in the province. The tax credit is based on eligible capital expenditures, and aims to diversify the economy by encouraging corporations from across North America and the world to expand their operations in Alberta. To be eligible, companies must be incorporated, registered or continued under Alberta's Business Corporations Act, and the project must be physically located in Alberta and directly support an eligible value-added agricultural activity. Government of Alberta

The Alberta government is investing more than $3 million to support research into rehabilitation and therapy for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at the University of Alberta. The Heroes in Mind, Advocacy and Research Consortium (HiMARC) program is set to receive $750,000 per year for the next five years to support its work on innovative treatment options for military members, veterans, public safety personnel, and others with PTSD. The program uses a structured, repetitive, psychotherapeutic process called 3MDR, which involves treadmill walking, proven psychotherapy interventions, and virtual reality technology to process traumatic events into memories. Initial trials have shown it to be clinically effective in treating PTSD. Government of Alberta

The Energi Simulation Centre for Geothermal Systems Research at the University of Calgary's Schulich School of Engineering has received a $3-million funding boost for a four-year project focusing on capturing heat from geothermal energy systems. The project aims to evaluate and improve the efficiency of heat-to-power systems and reduce waste heat emissions while improving geothermal systems' efficiency. The funding, which comes from the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council  and Mitacs, will also help improve public knowledge about geothermal energy. University of Calgary

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The Government of British Columbia has allocated $50 million to Mitacs to fund 10,000 paid internships in priority sectors over five years. These sectors include clean technology, life sciences, emergency management, advanced timber, and agritech. The Mitacs Accelerate and Elevate programs connect student researchers and post-doctorates with innovative companies, providing real-world experience in applied research, with a minimum $10,000 stipend for students at B.C.'s public post-secondary institutions. Government of B.C.

The Canadian government has announced more than $18 million in federal support for 13 late-stage R&D projects through Genome Canada's Genomic Applications Partnership Program. Through research partnerships with industry, healthcare organizations, provincial and other federal partners, the projects aim to generate solutions for precision health, new treatment and diagnosis options, public health innovation for pathogen surveillance, environmental protection, ecosystem health, and pest management. The announcement represents a total investment of $56.7 million for Canadian genomics R&D, including $38.6 million provided by provincial governments, businesses, and other research partners. Academic leaders and institutions funded include Dr. Philip Awadalla (Ontario Institute for Cancer Research; $6.1 million to enable personalized genomics in health); Dr. John DeCoteau (University of Saskatchewan; nearly $4 million for the implementation of oncogenomic testing and synoptic reporting for improved ovarian cancer patient care in Saskatchewan), and Dr. Steven Jones and Dr. Peter Lansdorp (the University of British Columbia; more than $6 million for a parent-of-origin aware genomic analysis for hereditary cancers). Genome Canada | UBC

The Government of Ontario is investing $13.5 million in a new poultry research centre in Elora to conduct research on animal welfare, reproduction, nutrition, meat quality, and safety. The Ontario Poultry Research Centre will also encourage the adoption of innovative, safer, healthier, and more efficient animal and on-farm production practices. The centre is expected to begin construction in 2024 and be completed by 2026. Government of Ontario

Trustees of Nova Scotia's Forestry Innovation Transition Trust have approved two projects worth more than $2.5 million. The Verschuren Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment will receive $926,500 to further support the development of the Bio-technology and Bio-manufacturing Acceleration Centre in Sydney. The project aims to accelerate the commercialization of forestry and biomass sector technologies. Research Nova Scotia will receive approximately $1.6 million for a five-year research and knowledge mobilization program led by Dalhousie University, helping the forestry sector transition to the ecological forestry model. The trust has committed more than $28 million of the $50-million fund to support forestry and biological resources sectors, as well as funding for training for forestry workers. Government of Nova Scotia


The UK Space Agency (UKSA) has launched a £20 million International Bilateral Fund to build and strengthen the UK’s space-focused international partnerships, and says it is "particularly interested in proposals involving the USA, Canada, Australia, and Japan." The fund will support approximately 30 projects with up to £75,000 each in its first tranche of funding, with more funding available over the next two years. The projects will build relationships between UK organizations and international counterparts and stimulate knowledge exchange, engagement, and collaboration. Phase 1 of the fund will be split into two phases — Concept Call and Implementation Call — and is expected to be judged based on the proposal's strength, background, experience, and relevance to the UK strategy. Phase 1 applications close at noon on June 9th, 2023. UK Space Agency

Protein Industries Canada and Wageningen University & Research (the Netherlands) have formed a partnership  promoting plant-based foods to find solutions to pressing issues, such as climate change and human health. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation is also involved in the partnership, which seeks to build economic engines in the Netherlands and Canada based on sustainable protein production and consumption. Planetary boundaries, which describe limits to the impacts of human activities on the Earth system, serve as a framework for this collaboration. Protein Industries Canada

Simon Fraser University (SFU) and the University of Victoria (UVic) are partnering with BC Housing, Technical Safety BC, and the First Nations Housing and Infrastructure Council to investigate climate solutions for rural, remote, and Indigenous communities in British Columbia. The Serving Rural & Remote Communities project will study how these communities can create low-carbon resilience, reducing their carbon footprint and vulnerability to the effects of climate change, thanks to $1 million in funding from the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, which is led by the University of Victoria in collaboration with the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, and the University of Northern British Columbia. Researchers will determine what policies and innovations in housing practices and technical safety are needed for communities outside of urban centres. The project will also design practical frameworks to help build climate resilience and capacity in these communities over the next four years. PICS

Thales Canada is partnering with the University of New Brunswick’s McKenna Institute and economic development agency Ignite to  develop a National Digital Excellence Centre (NDEC Canada) at Fredericton’s Knowledge Park to strengthen its cybersecurity capabilities in industrial systems. The project is supported by Opportunities New Brunswick (ONB) and the Government of Canada through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA). The centre is the second of its kind and aims to enable small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to test and develop digital transformation projects alongside larger corporations. ACOA will support NDEC Canada through two projects: a contribution of more than $1.8 million to help the McKenna Institute develop new cybersecurity and digital resilience to strengthen the region’s SMEs and educational programming, and more than $1.2 million to support Ignite in the design and establishment of the NDEC Canada facility. NDEC Canada is expected to contribute up to $63 million in direct provincial GDP over a five-year period. Thales

McMaster University and the University of Birmingham (UoB) have created a seed fund to support collaborative research projects at both institutions. The BIRMAC Project and Ideas Fund is designed to identify, establish and develop research projects and student outcomes. The 2022/23 fund will help drive forward nine research projects and strengthen the broader UoB-McMaster institutional relationship, as well as academic collaboration into the future. The projects include investigating and addressing key questions in areas such as age-friendly cities, quantum materials, digital authoritarianism, forced migration and gender-based violence, entrepreneurship support for Ukrainian refugees, and urban sustainability. McMaster | UBirmingham


Health Canada has updated its policy on restricting the advertising of food and beverages to children. The new policy proposes prioritizing such restrictions with advertising on television and digital media, where "children spend much of their time and where they are highly exposed to food advertising, including ads that air during a children's program or on a children's website." Health Canada says consultations and engagement were undertaken with industry and partners between 2016 and 2019 and that it continued reviewing international initiatives and new evidence, as well as the results of its monitoring activities, which showed the average child and teen viewed an average of nearly five ads per hour in 2019. Health Canada

Health Canada has opened a 60-day public consultation period, seeking comments on its proposed approach to updating guidance on microbiological sampling and analysis for water sampling at recreational areas. The purpose is to solicit feedback on the potential impacts of implementing the recommendations. The document was reviewed by external experts and subsequently revised, and comments received from the consultation will be shared with federal and provincial recreational water quality working group members. The guideline technical document will be revised following the evaluation of comments received, and the recreational water quality guidelines will be updated if required. Health Canada

A report tabled by Federal Environment and Sustainable Development Commissioner Jerry DeMarco says the  federal government is falling short of its environmental targets, including a campaign promise to plant two billion new trees. It also found that the environmental benefits will not be realized for decades, even if the program were to hit its target. CPAC | CBC

Thales has released its 2023 Data Threat Report, based on a survey of almost 3,000 IT and security professionals in 18 countries, which reveals that ransomware attacks have increased and there are increased risks to sensitive data in the cloud. More than a third of respondents (37 percent) had experienced a data breach in the past year, with 22 percent having been victim to a ransomware attack. Respondents cited their cloud assets as the biggest targets for cyberattacks. Misconfiguration or human error was identified as the leading cause of cloud data breaches, followed by the exploitation of a known vulnerability. The severity of ransomware attacks appears to be declining, and spending on ransomware tools is increasing, with 61 percent of respondents stating they would shift or add budget to prevent future attacks. Thales

TD Economics has released a report comparing the financial support Canada is offering for the clean energy transition to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of the United States. The report reveals Canada has spent $139 billion since budget 2021, or 5 percent of the country’s nominal GDP, on supports for clean energy development. This is competitive with the estimated $393 billion spending on the IRA of the US, which is 1.5 percent of that country’s nominal GDP. The report suggests that Canada’s financial support for the clean energy transition is yielding positive results and has established a competitive position relative to the US. The report also states that Canada must focus on expediting project assessments, speeding up mine development times, and refocusing policy on labour force skills and training, if it wants to attract clean energy investment. Toronto Star

Australian mining company Vital Metals Limited (VML) has halted construction of its Saskatoon Rare Earth Processing Facility due to cost and sales issues, and says it will focus on conserving cash and seeking alternative funding sources and partners to build a sustainable business model. The company plans to complete a strategic review of the Saskatoon project within three months. Vital had planned to complete a circuit to produce an intermediate rare earths oxide product for potential sale to a third party, but has been unable to secure such sales on "commercially satisfactory terms." The construction of the full Saskatoon processing facility, which is about 50 percent complete, will remain paused until the Saskatoon business model is established. Vital Minerals| CBC


The Government of Canada is investing $50 million through the renewed Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative in VC funds focused on the life sciences sector to improve access to capital for early-stage companies. The recipients were chosen by a private sector selection committee as well as experts at the Business Development Bank of Canada and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and include the following six funds: AllosteRx Advanced Therapies; Amplitude Ventures; CTI Life Sciences Fund; Genesys Capital; Pender Ventures, and Sectoral Asset Management. ISED

Kitchener-based traffic management platform developer Miovision Technologies, which uses computer vision, AI and advanced analytics to help cities reduce traffic congestion and vehicle emissions, has acquired fellow traffic management company Global Traffic Technologies (GTT; Minnesota) backed by a $260-million investment from Telus Ventures, Maverix Private Equity (Toronto), and Export Development Canada (EDC). The investment is being used to back the acquisition of GTT, as well as provide secondary and growth capital. This is Miovision’s fourth acquisition to date; its combination with GTT brings the total number of intersections using its technology to nearly 100,000 in North America. Miovision 

Montreal-based Optable, a data collaboration platform and clean-room solution provider for the advertising ecosystem, has secured $20 million in a Series A funding round. The round was led by Hearst Ventures, with participation from Deloitte Ventures, Desjardins Capital, Brightspark Ventures, and asterX. Optable will use the funds to broaden its sales and marketing team and expand its global presence to support its growing customer base. The company is focused on building new data collaboration solutions to address the needs of the industry, especially in the wake of changing privacy legislation and the disappearance of third-party cookies. Cision

Reforestation company Flash Forest (Mississauga) has raised $11.4 million to develop and expand its post-wildfire reforestation solution throughout North America. The round was co-led by the TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good and online global venture investing platform  OurCrowd. The firm uses drones and technology to regenerate post-wildfire areas that are too unsafe for human tree planters. The funding will help the company work towards its goal of planting one billion trees by 2028. Flash Forest


PEI BioAlliance CEO Rory Francis has received the Purvis Memorial Award, presented by the Society of Chemical Industry to an individual for significant strategy development and successful implementation within the Canadian chemical industry. Since 2004, he has headed up the Charlottetown-based not-for-profit partnership of bioscience businesses, academic and research organizations, and government agencies, which includes 60 companies earning more than $600 million in annual sales, making the bio sector the second largest industry in the province. Francis also founded the Emergence Bioscience Business Incubator, Natural Products Canada, a national natural products ecosystem and business accelerator, and the Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences (CASTL). PEI BioAlliance

Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François‑Philippe Champagne and the French  Minister of Higher Education and Research, Sylvie Retailleau, announced the creation of a joint committee between Canada and France to strengthen their partnership in science, technology and innovation (STI). The committee will encourage the identification of thematic priorities for Franco-Canadian cooperation in STI and promote opportunities for Canadian and French researchers and innovators to work together to find evidence-based solutions to global challenges. The committee will be co-chaired by Canada's Chief Science Advisor Dr. Mona Nemer, and Dr. Claire Giry, Director General of Research and Innovation at the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research. The committee has identified quantum science and artificial intelligence as its first priority research area. Meanwhile, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the French National Research Agency (ANR) have also formed a partnership to create a framework to support new and existing collaborations between researchers in both countries, which will allow it to launch joint calls for proposals in the priority fields identified by the committee. NSERC and ANR expect to issue its first call for proposals in the coming year. ISED

Dr. Alan Shepard has been reappointed Western University’s president and vice-chancellor. Shepard began his first term on July 1, 2019, and led the process resulting in the university’s new strategic plan. He has held various senior positions throughout his career, including as president and vice-chancellor of Concordia University as well as provost and vice-president, academic, at Toronto Metropolitan University (then Ryerson University). Dr. Shepard is chair of the Council of Ontario Universities. Western

Dr. Deborah Buszard has been appointed interim president and vice-chancellor of the University of British Columbia. Dr. Buszard replaced Dr. Santa J. Ono, who left to take up the position of president of the University of Michigan. Dr. Buszard was deputy vice-chancellor and principal of UBC Okanagan between 2012 and 2020. Prior to joining UBC in 2012, she was a founding member of the college of sustainability at Dalhousie University. She also served as dean of agricultural and environmental sciences and as associate vice-principal of McGill University’s Macdonald campus. UBC

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