Cancer biologist wins prestigious African-Canadian Award: McMaster University researcher Dr.
Juliet Daniel received the Harry Jerome Award in technology and innovation this spring from the Black Business and Professional Association. Daniels, who was born in Barbados, and her team are currently working on aggressive and difficult to treat, triple-negative breast cancers that are most prevalent in women with African and Hispanic ancestry. Her research team seeks to identify unique DNA mutations or markers in cells that may explain this racial disparity and which can then be developed for diagnostic tests or therapeutics for women diagnosed with the disease worldwide, regardless of ethnicity.
Canada fast tracks global skills visa
Canada is pushing hard for international talent. On June 12, the government officially opened its global skills visa program – part of its Global Skills Strategy – which shortens the time it takes for high-growth firms to bring in intern
ational talent, from a year to 10-14 days. The government has committed to fast-track visa and work permit applications for “low-risk, high skilled talent for companies doing business in Canada”. The new strategy also sees the government boosting its base immigration targets to 300,000 immigrants and refugees in 2017.
Canada spending $50M to teach kids code
The Government of Canada has launched CanCode, a $50 million program dedicated to helping
young Canadians learn coding and other digital skills. Over the next two years the program aims to train 500,000 students from kindergarten to grade 12, with emphasis on young women, Indigenous Canadians and other under-represented group. Navdeep Bains, minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, said, “Coding teaches our young people how to work as a team to solve difficult problems in creative ways.”
Canada joins SESAME synchrotron project
Canada has become one of 16 observer states for the Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME) — the region’s first major international research centre. Canada’s participation will facilitate scientific collaboration on the third-generation synchrotron, which was launched under the auspices of UNESCO in 2002 and officially opened for users last month by King Abdullah II of Jordan. SESAME is modelled on the massive particle physics CERN laboratory which assisted in its construction. Full SESAME members include Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Cyprus, Pakistan and the Palestinian Authority.
High school wins use of CERN accelerator
For the first time, a Canadian high school will conduct an experiment at CERN with the help of a University of Alberta professor and some technology from the SNOLAB underground neutrino lab in Sudbury, ON. CERN’s Beamline for Schools competition, which began in 2014, names two winning schools each year. This year, the Charging Cavaliers (École Secondaire Catholique Père-René-de-Galinée in Cambridge, ON) and TCO-ASA from Italy were selected from a total of 180 teams from 43 countries around the world. The winners have been selected to travel to CERN in September to carry out their own experiments using a CERN accelerator beam.
Trudeau delivers on deal to stop muzzling
Government researchers in Canada are now guaranteed the right to speak freely about their work, regardless which political party is in power. Their union, the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), describes the deal as an “historic and unprecedented achievement”. A scientific integrity in the collective agreement ensures that members can speak about their work without being designated a departmental spokesperson. The deal also requires that departments develop scientific integrity policies and procedures in the coming months. The Research Group of PIPSC is the second to enshrine scientific integrity into its collective agreement. Negotiations are still underway by members at the National Research Council, Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals made three key promises to the scientific community during their 2015 election campaign: to appoint a chief science offer; ensure scientists are able to speak freely about their work; and that scientific analyses are considered when government makes decisions.
Photo: March for science
Caption: Thousands of scientists from 500 cities around the world, including Calgary (pictured here) and 17 other Canadian cities, took part in the March for Science in April to protest what they say are attacks against science. (Photo: JMacPherson, Calgary, licensed under CC-BY-2.0)
Canada expands agricultural research with Germany
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has signed an agreement to boost agricultural research collaboration in four key areas as the recently approved Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement comes into force. Canadian and German researchers will increase their collaboration in the areas of sustainable agriculture and climate change (soil and water protection, crop breeding), agri-food (crop breeding and food waste reduction), best management practices (knowledge and technology transfer) and personnel exchange. Canada and Germany have long collaborated on agricultural research under an S&T agreement originally established in 1971. Current ag-based projects focus on crop genetics and diseases, agro-ecosystem resilience, horticulture, pork production and micro-organism collections.
Arctic Council inks deal on scientific cooperation
The Arctic Council wrapped its 10th Annual Council Ministerial meeting in Fairbanks AK in May with the signing of Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation and the passing of the chairmanship from the U.S. to Finland. The group also signed the Fairbanks Declaration, which calls for action “at all levels” to combat activities that contribute to climate change and pollution, as well as climate change mitigation and adaptation actions to strengthen resilience. A week prior to the meeting, Science minister Kirsty Duncan made her third official trip to Washington, meeting with top science officials to discuss cross-border research and collaboration in “supporting a robust culture of scientific excellence including how to further scientific cooperation in the Arctic and polar regions”.
Genomics consortium receives $33-million boost
The Canadian government is investing $33 million to support the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) – a Canadian-led, international public-private partnership that conducts basic science on the structures of human proteins and releases the research to the public to accelerate drug discovery and help patients worldwide. This latest investment in the fourth phase of Canadian-based SGC activities, conducted principally at the University of Toronto, includes $11 million in federal funding through Genome Canada, $5 million through the Government of Ontario, and an additional $17 million through pharmaceutical companies.
UNB home to new 3D metal printing centre
The University of New Brunswick is capitalizing on innovation offset obligations of two major companies to establish Canada’s first research centre for 3D metal printing for the defence and marine industries. The Marine Additive Manufacturing Centre of Excellence is being established with $2.7 million from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics as part of its industrial and regional benefits obligation related to the CP-140 Aurora Structural Life Extension Project. Irving Shipbuilding Inc is contributing $750,000 as part of its Value Proposition commitments under the National Shipbuilding Strategy for the navy and coast guard. The centre plans to build core expertise in 3D technology by developing new manufacturing methods, procedures and training programs.
Ontario launches global climate change challenge
Ontario is challenging local and international companies to develop the next generation of transformative clean technologies to help fight climate change. The Solutions 2030 Challenge encourages companies to develop breakthrough technologies that will help Ontario’s industrial plants reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and increase innovation and entrepreneurship in the province. Eligible teams can apply through the Solutions 2030 online application portal by September 22, 2017. International applicants are expected to establish a significant presence in the province and help Ontario meet its greenhouse gas targets beyond 2030.
Calgary opening centre for carbon conversion
The Canadian and Alberta governments are putting $20 million into a new test facility for technologies that convert CO2 emissions into usable products, like building materials, alternative fuels and commercial goods. The first users of the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre (ACCTC) will be the finalists of a global contest, the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, which has 27 teams vying for the final 10 spots. “The ACCTC will be one of the few places in the world where carbon conversion technologies can be tested at a real life scale,” said Dan Wicklum,
Chief Executive, Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA). The ACCTC will be owned by InnoTech Alberta, a subsidiary of Alberta Innovates, a research and development organization in the province.
Investment Attraction Accelerator to Launch in Atlantic Canada
When investors and market ready entrepreneurs come together, the outcomes can be significant. Time and again we’ve heard about great startup success for those companies who were able to secure necessary funding to move the idea into a commercializable opportunity.
The problem tends to be matching the right investors with the right start-up at the right time.
That’s why Springboard Atlantic CEO Chris Mathis and Nova Scotia-based Jameson Group (organizers of Invest Atlantic) CEO Bob Williamson are finalizing details around the first-of-its-kind investment attraction accelerator being launched soon in Atlantic Canada.
The Program will identify the best investable opportunities from Atlantic Canada and pair them with identified investors in key target markets.
“The program will seek out those best opportunity start-ups that also meet the criteria outlined in the input and feedback we’ve received from potential investors,” says Mathis.
This market-driven pilot program will soon be accepting applications for entry into the programs first cohort scheduled to kickoff this Fall. The information will be published at
Credit: Springboard Atlantic