Atlantic Canada’s commercialization and industry liaison network


Mount Allison University to join the SHAD program

In July 2018 Mount Allison University (MtA) will host its first Shad cohort, therefore be joining the University of New Brunswick offering Shad programs in New Brunswick.

Shad is known as the number one incubator for innovation and entrepreneurship with high school students who have a passion for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) and Entrepreneurship. Students from grades 10, 11 and 12 can apply to the program. Applications for summer 2018 are due November 20.

MtA is one of the smallest campuses and communities participating in the Shad program. The program will allow students to connect with academic and business leaders and support the growing culture of innovation there.  The students will see how big change can originate from a small place.

Shad recently also announced that it would bring its program to the University of Prince Edward Island. 

To read the full article in Entrevestor, click here.

To read the full article in Huddle, click here.

Canadian Foundation for Innovation awards Infrastructure Funding to Acadia, Dalhousie and Memorial

The Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) Infrastructure Funding will support work on reusing composite materials to build and repair equipment in the aerospace industry, detecting and studying dark matter, working toward the next breakthrough in non-invasive brain surgery to treat diseases such as Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis, environmental monitoring, modelling and forecasting infrastructure for instream tidal energy in the Bay of Fundy, the development of autonomous marine observation systems (DAMOS), and the Harsh Environment Research Facility (HERF), one of the most advanced icing wind tunnel and wave tank integrated laboratories in the world.

The funding for the Atlantic Canadian universities is part of the more than $554 million announced by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan yesterday. The CFI funding will support 117 new infrastructure projects at 61 universities, colleges and research hospitals across Canada.


"Our government understands that scientists need to have the best labs and tools if they're going to make discoveries that will pave the way to a brighter future for all people. That's why this funding announcement is so important; it gives scientists and their students the opportunity to further their research in areas where Canada has a competitive advantage. The discoveries, innovations and skills developed in these new, state-of-the-art labs will go a long way in improving our lives, our economy and our future prosperity." 
– The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science

To read the full article on Market Insider, click here.

To read the full article on Cision, click here.

To read the full article on the Hants Journal, click here.

To read the two articles in the Gazette, click here and here.

Atlantic Facilities and Research Equipment Database (AFRED) received ACOA funding

Science Atlantic will receive $280,000 from ACOA to support the development and implementation of the Atlantic Facilities and Research Equipment Database (AFRED). AFRED was launched in March 2017 and helps businesses access publicly funded research and development tools. The database provides quick and affordable access to 400 sophisticated technical instruments from more than 80 research facilities from across Atlantic Canada that can be contracted by companies in need of specialized testing.

If a search in the AFRED database for a research and development tool comes up empty, an email request for this equipment is sent to Springboard Atlantic. Springboard will then reach out to our members and network to see if anyone in our ecosystem is able to help. This mechanism serves two purposes, it extends AFRED's reach and it also helps researchers becoming aware of AFRED and to consider if they have research and development tools that they are willing to enter into the AFRED database.

“AFRED has tremendous potential to showcase specialized research infrastructure in Atlantic Canada and provide researchers with opportunities for partnerships with colleagues in academia and industry,” said Christian Lacroix, Chair-Elect of Science Atlantic and Biology Professor, University of Prince Edward Island.

First Angel Network will receive a grant of $948,000 over three years and Venn Innovation will receive ~$177,000 from ACOA. The goal for the First Angel Network is to develop the angel investor community in Atlantic Canada and to improve access to private capital for early-stage companies in the region. Venn Innovation will provide 60 Atlantic Canadian startups with access to MaRS market intelligence services over the next year, including access to industry-leading research reports and expert analysts.

To read the full Entrevestor article, click here.

Looking into the hearts of galaxies - Halifax researchers are working on deep space telescope

A $13-million project involving eight Canadian universities and the National Research Council will allow researchers to look into the heart of galaxies billions of light-years away. The Halifax researchers involved, Marcin Sawicki, Canada research chair in astronomy at Saint Mary’s University and Scott Chapman, a professor in Dalhousie’s faculty of science (co-leader of GIRMOS with faculty at the University of Toronto) will help build the instrument, the GIRMOS spectrograph. It will combine existing technologies into a powerful and efficient galactic probe.

Saint Mary’s scientists will create data-processing and simulation software that will be crucial to the operation of the Gemini InfraRed Multi-Object Spectrograph. GIRMOS will be a souped-up infrared spectrograph with “adaptive optics” technology, which compensates for distortions in the Earth’s atmosphere to create a sharper image. This component of the spectrograph, will be developed by scientists at Dalhousie.

The software to be developed at Saint Mary’s will be able to answer questions about what astronomers will see before they actually use the spectrograph, which will be attached to the eight-metre Gemini telescope in Chile. The data streaming through the spectrograph and telescopic optical system ends up on a detector similar to the one in cellphone cameras. Collected in the form of binary data — zeros and ones — it must be translated into a visible image and Saint Mary’s researchers will create data-processing software to perform that crucial task.

Currently, in the planning stages, the work on the project will begin in early 2018 and over the next five years, the various sites will work on their part of the project, collaborating through video conferences and annual face-to-face meetings. Saint Mary’s will dedicate one full-time researcher to the work, who will be supported by graduate and undergraduate students. The university will receive $300,000, shared by the federal government and the Nova Scotia government.

To read the full article in the Chronicle Herald, click here

Pilot Program works to address Investment Challenges in Atlantic Canada

Over the last few years, we have seen significant changes in the funding landscape.  Early stage start-ups and small SMEs who make up the bulk of the industry in the region, are subjected to changes in programs and investment behaviors which impact their ability to grow a business. The issue of increasing investment attraction in Atlantic Canada has been on our radar for a while

 Meanwhile, our companies have a global economy to compete with and need to let policy work its process – which means using the programs as they exist, and increasing access to private capital.

The challenge is that regional private capital rarely engages early enough compared to some of the above example programs. So our private sector capital gap just gets bigger.  Enter The Investment Opportunities Program (IOP) stage left. The goal of this program is to help offset this gap.

This pilot, which is funded by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) aims to select an initial group of 16 of our most promising early-stage companies, provide training and mentorship and groom with up to 12 companies being selected to attend an to attend an investment attraction mission to Toronto, where they will have the opportunity to meet with angels and early-stage investors looking for new opportunities. 

This pilot program aims to show that putting processes in place that facilitate matches between investors and investable companies can yield great results and help bridge the private sector capital gap. 

To learn more about the details of the program you can check out our FAQs. The deadline to apply is October 26th, get your application in NOW, to be part of this great opportunity. 

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Atlantic Canadian Universities involved in 2 short-listed Superclusters

The Canadian government received 50 proposals, involving more than 1,000 companies and 350 participants and has now announced the shortlist for a piece of the $950-million supercluster program to nine projects invited to submit a full application. The government anticipates that it will announce the five projects that will be chosen at the end of the fiscal year in March 20018.

The government defines superclusters as collaborations between companies and universities, colleges or not-for-profit organizations "to turn ideas into solutions that can be brought to market."

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, was at Dal’s Steele Ocean Sciences Building to make the announcement, his first stop in a cross-country tour announcing the nine finalists.

Supercluster short list:

  • From the Atlantic region: an oceans supercluster to invest in digital ocean technologies for industries such as aquaculture, the fishery, offshore oil and gas, and clean energy. Proponents include Petroleum Research Newfoundland and Labrador, Emera Inc., Clearwater and several regional universities including Dalhousie, MUN, UNB, UPEI to name a few – Canada’s Ocean Supercluster.
  • From Quebec: an artificial intelligence supercluster to bolster Canadian leadership in AI and data science. Proponents are led by Optel Group and include more than other 80 firms, including AgroPur, Aldo and Polytechnique de Montreal - The AI-powered Supply Chains Supercluster. 
  • MOST21 - A mobility supercluster focused on innovation and commercialization in the aerospace, ground transportation, and advanced manufacturing. Proponents include CAE Inc., Pratt & Whitney Canada Corp. and Polytechnique Montreal and institutions and companies from the Atlantic region.
  • Ontario supercluster looking at transforming Canada's mining sector and focusing on clean resources, clean technology and responsible sourcing of metals. Proponents include Canada Mining Innovation Council, Barrick Gold Corp. and the University of British Columbia – CLEER Supercluster.
  • Ontario supercluster promises to speed up Canada's manufacturing competitiveness. Proponents include Communitech Corp. and MaRS Discovery District, Maple Leaf Foods and the University of Waterloo. 
  • From the Prairies: A protein supercluster to capture the export market opportunity for safe, nutritious plant-based food. Proponents include Ag-West Bio Inc., AGT Food and Ingredients and the University of Saskatchewan – Protein Innovations Canada supercluster. 
  • A supercluster to invest in technologies related to Canada's crop, livestock and agri-food processing sectors. Proponents: Agrium, Telus, and Olds College - Smart Agri-Food Super Cluster. 
  • An infrastructure supercluster promising to change how Canada's infrastructure is designed, built and operated using advanced digital communications, cutting-edge tools and interconnected applications and services. Proponents include Stantec Consulting Ltd., PCL Construction Management Inc., Athabasca University and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. 
  • From British Columbia: a digital technology supercluster dedicated to making Canada better at inventing, developing and applying health and manufacturing. Proponents include Telus, Microsoft Canada Development Centre and six post-secondary institutions. 

To read the full article on CBC, click here.

To read the full article on Dal News, click here.

To read the full article on Entrevestor, click here.

To read the full article on Huddle, click here.

UPEI engineering students are #springboarding the oyster industry

Jordan Sampson, Brett McDermott and Dylan MacIsaac, UPEI engineering students are working to flip over the oyster industry in Atlantic Canada, while opening up a new business opportunity for themselves. The three students designed specialized equipment that gently guides oyster cages in a rollercoaster-like flip.

The business opportunity is huge. Farmed oysters grow over 5 years in cages which can weigh up to 200 pounds each. During the maturation process, the cages need to be turned once or twice a week to discourage mussel, barnacle and algae build-up. Turning the cages improves the appearance and the size of the matured oysters. Currently, this process involves manual labour of up to 10 hours a day (depending on the size of the farm) and requires employees to be strong enough to do that work.

During their second year of their studies, the students were given the task to work with an industrial client to come up with an automated solution to the oyster cage flipping. Fast forward a year later and the student team applied under their own company name Island AquaTech for the provincial government award for students and received a $25,000 Ignition Fund grant for their entrepreneurial spirit.

This entrepreneurial team also sought help from UPEI's Synapse (a Springboard member turning ideas into solutions) to work on their technology and to file for a patent and in the summer Springboard Atlantic came behind their technology by providing Proof of Concept and patent funding from our Innovation Mobilization program. 

We are excited to not only see this project #springboarding forward but also to keep track of this entrepreneurial team and Island AquaTech in the years to come. 

The students anticipate that a full-sized prototype will be used in November and with the money the students received from the Ignition Fund they will build a production model that the industry can use.

To read the full article in The Gazette, click here.

UPEI receives funding for high-tech science equipment

Providing support to the biosciences, the ACOA funding will be used to purchase equipment to look into the chemical makeup of materials for natural health products and the other equipment piece will be used by the Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC).

AVC will be able to provide detailed toxicology testing on fish and mammals to detect pesticides, toxins and antibiotics that could be harmful for human consumption.

The total price tag of the equipment is estimated at $820,000 and UPEI and AVC will be covering the remaining $200,000.

To read the full CBC article, click here.

Boosting Innovation Success

Having passion is a key ingredient of business innovation and success, but it can also be a quality needing to be mitigated to successfully launch new products, says Michelle Jones, executive vice-president of Stage-Gate International, a management consulting firm based in Burlington, Ont.

On December 7, 2017, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Michelle Jones will be sharing the Stage-Gate process, being used by successful companies like High Liner Food and Starbucks to name a few. This one day workshop is organized and co-hosted by Acadia University, NSCC and Université Sainte-Anne and will be held in Wolfville at the K.C. Irving Centre, Acadia University.

Stage-Gate provides a roadmap and it is not a program participants have to buy with money, it is an internal business process and risk model companies are encouraged to adopt in order to accelerate innovation and success.

“What will be truly innovative about this session, is that Michelle has agreed to develop a customized workshop format that integrates both researcher expertise and local company (new product development) experiences into the day,” said Leigh Huestis, Director of Acadia’s Office of Industry and Community Engagement, or ICE. Researchers from all three institutions (who are members of Springboard) with specialized skill-sets will also present at the workshop and the presentations will highlight how to leverage available resources to support product development and getting it to market.

Collaboration and the approach taken are key to success and ICE’s has doubled Acadia’s research collaborations over the past few years over a broad range of areas from value-added food and beverage products to software, fulfilling its mandate to connect researchers with companies, government, and community groups.

Early-bird registration by November 15, 2017, is recommended.

To read the full article in The Chronicle Herald, click here.

Cybersecurity Centre created in Fredericton

To address the growing concern of the cybersecurity of industrial control systems, especially in the nuclear industry, establishing a cybersecurity research facility by the Canadian Nuclear Laboratory (CNL) in Fredericton, NB is essential. The research facility can leverage the cybersecurity expertise available in Fredericton and is going to partner with UNB's Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity (CIC) and UNB's faculties of Engineering and Computer Sciences.

Tha lab will be located at Knowledge Park and the facilities will be ready in 2018.

With this facility and their research, CNL will be well positioned to fill the void that exists in the cybersecurity of industrial control systems and is looking to expand its capabilities into more conventional industries.

To read the full story on Huddle, click here.

Moving Nova Scotian and Atlantic Canadian Agriculture Forward

Food security and food sovereignty is an important field of research and conversation in Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada. The use of Controlled-environment agriculture (CEA) as a technology based approach in agriculture could be the means to achieve just that with more year-round local food production.  

To further this goal the Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture is partnering with the Government of the Netherlands and a group of Dutch agri-food companies, Greenhouse industries and organizations, are teaming up to explore the possibilities of supporting more local food production and related R&D using innovative CEA in Atlantic Canada.

On September 28, 2017 AIM to Grow — an initiative of the Dutch Government and partner organizations — was launched in collaboration with the Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture. The potential for improvements to the Canadian Agri-food sector by expanding production through modern local greenhouses is attractive by lengthening the growing season and providing new opportunities to produce more locally grown, year-round, pesticide-free food.

Further advantages of this approach are the benefits to the economy with the creation of local jobs and decreased pollution with shorter transport distances. Currently nearly 86 per cent of all fresh fruits and 39 per cent of vegetables consumed in Canada are imported and in 2015, prices for imported fresh produce increased approximately 12 per cent due to the drop in the value of the Canadian dollar. Further, due to the high costs of imported produce, Atlantic Canada’s ‘end of the line’ transportation and distribution challenges and costs pose an extra burden for ensuring fresh produce in the region.

A world leader in greenhouse produced food, the Dutch Agri-food greenhouse sector and its representatives are eager to collaborate with the Faculty of Agriculture, seeing it as an ideal partner for the AIM to Grow initiative for research and development, education and training and outreach.

To read the full article in the Dal News, click here.

Celebration September: Agile Technologies - Soaring to New Heights

Click on the link below to read the full article.

Highlights from this story include: 

  • Agile Sensor Technologies is a start-up out of Memorial University (MUN) focused on the commercialization of robotics technologies. 
  • The company and the underlying tech came out of a multi-year Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) project with Dr. Nick Krouglicof who is now Agile's Chief Technology Officer.
  • Its first technology - a motor control system for drones was released onto the market in 2015. 
  • A partnership with Solace Power (another NL startup), and a strategic partnership with Gaitech International Ltd. of Shanghai, China is enabling new growth. The partnership with Gaitech includes a strategic investment in Agile and an agreement to co-develop new products for distribution in the global robotics market. Their first joint project is to produce a plug-and-play development platform for robot makers. 
  • Memorial's Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office aided Agile in protecting its intellectual property portfolio, which now consists of over five issued patents.
  • Key stats: 1 new company, 1 license, 9 new jobs. 

We are very proud of the ways that Memorial is #springboarding Atlantic growth. This type of support is available to you and your business too. Contact us to start #springboarding. 

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Research Cluster is Budding in Fredericton

The two cannabis research chairs created at St. Thomas University (STU) and the University of New Brunswick (UNB) are the first two such chairs in Canada. The creation of these two chairs is supported by the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation (NBHRF), who is providing $500,000 over five years for each chair. Private industry, via Shoppers Drug Mart at St. Thomas and the pharmaceutical company Tetra Bio-Pharma at UNB. are also each providing $500,000 each over five years.

STU's strength lies in the social sciences and the humanities and the STU research chair's work will help inform government policy on a complex moral and legal issue.

The UNB the research chair will focus on the biochemistry, medicinal use, and pharmacology of cannabis.

This is a great opportunity for both Springboard members to collaborate on this important project and to potentially combine their expertise with other players in the industry.  

To read the full article on University Affairs, click here.

To read our previous coverage of this topic, click here.

Celebration September: Pest Fighting Pheromones

Click on the link below to read the full article.

Highlights from this story include: 

  • Pest management using pheromones is key to helping the agriculture and forestry sectors continue to grow in ecologically responsible ways. 
  • Dr. Kirk Hillier and the Office of Industry and Community Engagement were able to build new partnerships around Atlantic Canada's considerable expertise in fighting insect pests. They were successful in receiving $4.42 million from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency's  (ACOA) Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) to help foster this innovation. 
  • The project has generated:  2 full patents, 2 more patents pending and 9 technologies licensed for commercialization.
  • The project has enabled Sylvar Technologies to launch a complete line of pheromone pest management products on the market. 
  • The work has proven so promising that a second AIF has been awarded to continue this development of this technology for $2.93 million.

We are very proud of the ways that Acadia is #springboarding Atlantic growth. This type of support is available to you and your business too. Contact us to start #springboarding. 

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Dr. Beth Mason named a winner of Canada’s 2018 Clean50 Awards.

Dr. Beth Mason, an Industrial Research Fellow Bio-products at the Verschuren Centre, has built a team of bio-products researchers at the Verschuren Centre. She has helped over 20 companies in Atlantic Canada to recover valuable co-products from unused agri-food and marine byproducts, thereby reducing the amount and potential pollution that would otherwise go into the landfill or the ocean.

High efficient "green" enzymatic fermentation extraction is the core technology of her work. The process leaves out the use of noxious chemicals and does not produce further waste. The concept has been proven at pilot scale, transforming byproducts into high value feed, plant and food bioactive compounds for health applications.

“I am very honoured to be selected to receive this prestigious award and share the recognition with my Verschuren Centre team,” said Mason. “I look forward to meeting with other honourees later this month to further the centre’s sustainability mandate and continue our work toward developing industry solutions and opportunities to grow a sustainable economy.”  

Later this month Dr. Mason will travel to Toronto to attend the Clean50 Summit 7 where she will be meeting with approximately 120 past and incoming Clean50 Honourees.

To read the full article in the Cape Breton Post, click here.

Nova Scotia Community College receives $6.5 million from Sobeys Family

The Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) is now able to provide access to education for all Nova Scotians thanks to a generous gift from the Sobey's family.

The $4 million gift from the Donald R. Sobey Foundation is intended to directly recruit and assist individuals who are facing barriers to attaining a post-secondary education. Together with the Donald R. Sobey Foundation Fund at NSCC, NSCC will work with community agencies and law enforcement organizations from across Nova Scotia to enable individuals who have never considered a college education to attend NSCC. 

With the $2 million gift from the Sobey Foundation, six NSCC campuses, that hold Sobeys Culinary Centres will be refurbished to evolve food services education at NSCC and will also provide a dedicated fund to finance bursaries for students who choose to study Culinary Arts at NSCC.

The  $500,000 gift from Frank, Heather, Karl and Ann Sobey will establish a legacy of access to education in memory of their parents, Doe and Bill Sobey. Students at the NSCC Marconi and Pictou Campuses who are in financial need can apply for the Doe and Bill Sobey Inspiration Awards to help cover tuition and related college expenses.

"The generosity of the Sobey Family will make an extraordinary impact on those who wish to embrace and benefit from post-secondary education," says NSCC President Don Bureaux. "Their support will serve as a catalyst, making a new beginning possible for deserving students in need. As NSCC starts a new school year, the timing of this commitment is inspiring."

To read the full article on NSCC News, click here.

Addressing mental health in the classroom

We are very happy to see that Springboards Innovation Mobilization (IM) Proof of Concept funding has provided the initial push to get Teacher Help into the classroom, promising to provide help to Canadians on a daily basis.

Developed from over 10 years of research led by Dr. Penny Corkum (professor in the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience, and in Psychiatry), her team worked with one Nova Scotia school board on a solution to provide the information the classroom teachers need, in the moment they need it and not at the next professional development day, when the situation has long passed.

With the support from Dalhousie's Industry Liaison office and Springboard's IM funding, Dr. Corkum was able to explore this novel and innovative approach, which in March 2016 has led to a successful application to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) eHealth Innovation Partnership Program (eHIPP) for $300,000 which was industry matched by Velsoft Training Materials, a private e-Learning company based in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia for a total project value of $600,000. This Nova Scotia-based eHealth professional development program was ranked first in Canada and was the only successful application from Nova Scotia in the CIHR eHIPP competition.

This fall, a Canada-wide randomized controlled trial (RCT) is set to launch, which will test the effectiveness of the Teacher Help program in Canadian school systems. It is hoped that the final tested program will on the market by the 2019/2020 school year with the help of Velsoft Training Materials Inc.

To read the full article in the Dal News, click here.

Creative Destruction Labs Atlantic has named 24 mentors for the program

Creative Destruction Lab-Atlantic (CDL-Atlantic) will begin with its first cohort in December with the first group of early-stage startups from various sectors, focusing on nurtuting comapnies in ocean tech, cleantech and agritech.

Generally, CDL starts each cohort with a few dozen teams. the Teams attend a one- or two-day mentoring session to receive a set of milestones from mentors, which they have to achieve over the next 2 month. When the cohort convenes again, teams who missed their milestones are asked to leave. CDL repeats the process several times, so each cohort ends up with a core of graduates.

CDL-Atlantic has now named its rooster of 24 mentors, which include national business leaders John Rislet and Ken Rowe. 

“This is a tremendous effort to help increase the regional prosperity of Atlantic Canada,” IMP Group founder and executive chairman Ken Rowe said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to mentoring and sharing my experiences with early-stage, high-potential companies.”

The list of mentors is a mixture of those who have been active and visible in backing Atlantic Canadian tech startups and those who are known more for their work in traditional businesses. The CDL could be luring a new host of investors into the startup space.

To read the full story on Entrevestor, click here.

Celebration September: Better Beer - A “Case” Study

Click on the link below to read the full article.

Highlights from this story include: 

  • CCNB is working with over 50 industry partners annually from Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI, and Maine to name a few. 
  • Being awarded 2.16 million in January 2017 to grow their applied research services. 
  • Keeping 14 young Highly Qualified Personnel working and living in rural New Brunswick and working with companies to help the area thrive.

We are very proud of the ways that CCNB is #springboarding Atlantic growth. This type of support is available to you and your business too. Contact us to start #springboarding. 

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ICYMI: Pushing the boundaries of innovation and knowledge with NSERC funding

On September 8, 2017, the Minister of Science, Kirsty Duncan, announced $515 million in support for fundamental research through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council's (NSERC) 2017 funding competition, representing NSERC’s largest annual investment. The funding assists researchers with financial support through scholarships, fellowships, research supplements, and equipment grants.

Springboard congratulates its members, Acadia University, Dalhousie University, Memorial University, Mount Allison University, Mount Saint Vincent University, Saint Francis Xavier University, Saint Mary's University, Université de Moncton, Université de Sainte Anne, University of New Brunswick and the University of Prince Edward Island for receiving a combined total of ~$24 million to advance Atlantic Canadian innovation and skills development.

Funding was received for NSERC's Discovery Grant, Research Tools and Instruments Grant, Student Scholarships and Fellowships grants and for Discovery Development Grants. The science investigated by Atlantic Canadian researchers extends across all fields of the natural sciences, from algae to robotics and everything in between. 

We also would like to extend our congratulations to Drs. Rodolphe Devillers (Memorial University), Aitazaz Ahsan Farooque (University of Prince Edward Island), Arunika Gunawardena (Dalhousie University), Kirk Hillier (Acadia University), Weimin Huang (Memorial University), Jan Reiney (Dalhousie University) and Peter Selinger (Dalhousie University) who were among the Canadian researchers that received the 2017 NSERC Discovery Accelerator Supplement for their outstanding research program. 

To read the full NSERC article, click here.

To read Acadia University's article, click here.

To read Dalhousie University's article, click here.

To read Memorial University's article, click here.

Celebration September: Springboard Impact

We are kicking the month off with a 'by the numbers' look at the impact of Springboard on the Atlantic Canadian economy in the last 3 years. 

You can see that our impact is significant. Let's dig into the numbers a bit further: 

- From 2014-2017 35 people did 6237 contracts with companies. So think again when you think about universities and colleges as ivory towers. Our network is out there working hard to ensure companies get a ton of value out of the research capacity in their backyards. This number is also 24% OVER the goal we set for ourselves in 2014. 

- Not impressed yet? Well, we also contributed over a BILLION in research dollars to the regional economy. Anytime you can put that B in front of -illion you can feel pretty good about going home at the end of the day. 

- In addition to contracts and dollars, the network was also responsible for 1300 intellectual property transfers in the last 3 years. We know intellectual property remains a controversial subject. But the fact remains that protecting ideas is a major part of building businesses. We've enabled the protection and transfer of over 1300 ideas into the hands of capable business owners large and small to help their businesses grow. 

- This intellectual property is the seed that many of our startups grow from. We are excited to see the startup growth in our ecosystem and we're proud to see how many of these ideas are being fostered at our member institutions. 149 new companies grown in the last 3 years is something to be very proud of. We continue to try and do more to facilitate start-up growth, including the launch of our Investment Opportunities Program. This pilot program will help startups partner with potential investors at that crucial stage when early seed investment can take a business to the next level. 

- One of the major tools we have to help facilitate the development of ideas is our Innovation Mobilization Program. This program is one of our core tools. It allows us to prove, protect, and develop new ideas at the final bench stage through to market prototyping. We've spent 1.5 million doing just that. You will see as we share more of our successes, many of our stories have theirs roots in this program. 

These numbers speak for themselves and we are very proud to celebrate the success and impact of this network. None of this would be possible without the continued support of the Atlantic Canadian Opportunities Agency (ACOA). We appreciate not only their financial contribution to Springboard but also our shared vision for the region. Which you can see articulated in the Atlantic Growth Strategy.

We hope we've peaked your interest in joining us in #springboarding Atlantic growth. Click here to chat with us about how we can help you grow. 

Sentrant’s assets taken on by Nielsen Holdings

Combating fraudulent online advertising, the Fredericton-based cybersecurity company Sentrant Solutions, the Fredericton cybersecurity company that combats fraudulent online advertising has made a deal with Nielsen Holdings.

Nielsen has not acquired Sentrant Security’s entire business, but has been buying key assets (technology) and has been hiring Sentrant's personnel. The companies technology specializes in detecting and fighting fraudulent online advertising schemes that use sophisticated botnets, allowing advertising campaigns to run without the worry of cyber-criminals influencing the messaging with hard-to-detect malware.

Originally named Ara Labs, the company (Sentrant Security) was co-founded by Ali Ghorbani, dean of computer science at UNB. Dr. Ghorbani was recently named the Canada Research Chair in cybersecurity and last week captured the regional Startup Canada Award for senior entrepreneurship. He also co-founded the social media monitoring company Eyesover.

It is the hope that the operation continues to grow in the Fredericton area. The city has a rich ecosystem for cybersecurity research and development, including the Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence at UNB. 

To read the full article in Entrevestor, click here.

Springboard seeks next President and CEO

As Springboard moves into its 12th year we are sad to say farewell to our current President and CEO Chris Mathis who announced at the Annual General Meeting on August 23rd, 2017 that he will be stepping down to pursue new opportunities.

"At different stages in an organization's growth it needs new leaders to help it continue to evolve and grow, I believe Springboard is at such a stage and it's time for a new leader to guide the organization into the future," said Chris Mathis. 

"I am proud of the Springboard team and the work we have done together," he added. "I know I am leaving the organization knowing that the network is strong. And I'm looking forward to seeing what the future holds for Springboard." 

Brian Lowe, Chair of the Springboard Atlantic Board of Directors expressed the board's appreciation for Chris' leadership saying, "We thank Chris for his tremendous contribution to Springboard and we wish him every success going forward."

The search for a new President and CEO is underway. Please click here to find out more about this opportunity. 

UNB receives $1.25 million from the McCain Foundation for Innovation Fellowship

To provide PhD graduates with the skills and resources to transform their research into market ready products, the McCain Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships in Innovation has been created at the University of New Brunswick (UNB). The university has received a $1.25 million gift from The McCain Foundation, which will fund the new fellowships. 

These fellowships will run for two- to three years and are valued at $50,000 per year. They will be awarded on an annual basis and are competitive. The aim is to attract the best early-career researchers, who over the course of their fellowship will advance their expertise in their field under the mentorship from faculty and industry leaders. 

"Linda McCain, chair of The McCain Foundation, said the fellowships will provide unique training opportunities for early-career researchers. “We believe that these fellowships will enhance the recipients’ specialized expertise and also give them valuable skills that will translate their ideas into more opportunities for themselves and others in New Brunswick,” she said." 

The first recipient of the McCain Fellowship is Edward Cyr from the University of Waterloo and at UNB since May 2017. He is currently building his research program to investigate at the 

The inaugural recipient of the McCain Fellowship is Edward Cyr. He came to UNB from the University of Waterloo in May, and began building his research program, studying the role that artificial intelligence and additive manufacturing play in the evolution of printed materials. His work is undertaken at the Marine Additive Manufacturing Centre. He anticipates that the results will have applications in the marine industry, the automotive, construction, and aircraft industries.

To read the full article on Entrevestor, click here.

To read the full article on Huddle, click here.

“ExACT” Technology is #springboarding forward with real world studies

In January 2017 StFX announced the signing of a collaboration agreement with Altus Geomatics (a Canadian Altus Group company) for the exclusive commercialization and usage rights of the technology. 

Now combining forces with Altus Gemoatics, faculty and students of Dr. Dave Risk’s Flux Lab, the group is currently field testing the (“ExACT”) gas leak detection technology for commercial use of their vehicle-based Emissions Attribution via Computational Techniques.

Springboard is very pleased that Dr. Risk's Flux Lab is #springboarding forward with Altus Geomatics and to see that through the support of Springboard's Innovation Mobilization Fund CleanTech technology is being commercialized. StFX Manager of Industry Liaison Andrew Kendall (StFX is a member of Springboard Atlantic) says that the ability to identify emissions in an efficient and cost-effective manner allows producers to minimize the economic cost of lost commodities and maximize environmental protection. “This is an excellent example of technology transfer,” he says. 

To read the full article in StFX News, click here.

First Ocean Choice International Research Chair in Stock Assessment and Sustainable Harvest Advice for Northwest Atlantic Fisheries

The new chair is only the second industry research chair of the Marine Institute (MI) and has received an investment of $2.5 million from industry, government, academia, donors and the Marine Institute (MI) to advance the way fish stock assessments for the Northwest Atlantic fisheries are conducted.

Ocean Choice International and the provincial government, through InnovateNL, will each contribute $500,000 and additional funding will be leveraged against the chair through the Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI) and MI while the Robert and Edith Skinner Wildlife Management Fund at the Fisheries and Marine Institute will provide $500,000 over the next five years. This money will support the work of the chair and the hiring of two research scientists in fish stock assessment.

With the formation of this chair, MI's leadership role in fisheries research will be furthered, a leadership role that was established with the Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research and will contribute to MI’s role in advancing unique, interdisciplinary ocean-related research and innovation within the Ocean Frontier Institute.

The goal of the chair is to further the state-of-the-art and current practice in fish stock assessment and focus on sustainability and requirements for Northwest Atlantic Fisheries and specifically those on the Grand Banks, N.L., including but not limited to American plaice, yellowtail flounder, Greenland halibut and redfish.

To read the full article in The Gazette, click here.

Low Cost, Efficient Water Analysis

Originally from Romania, Dr. Stephana Egli, came to Memorial University with a bachelor's degree in chemistry and environmental science from South Africa in 2009 to do her master's degree in analytical chemistry and quickly converted to the PhD program.

Her work, which started in Dr. Christina Bottaro's group, has led her to develop a cost-effective, portable water analysis method that is of great interest to the oil and gas industry as it can be used to assist in oil cleanup operations. The compound is a molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP), which when exposed to water, can absorb certain compounds that normally dissolve in water. Up until now, a one-liter water sample had to be brought to the laboratory to analyse for oil in water. The MIP, in contrast, is the size of a quarter and can also be deployed via a remotely operated vehicle if needed.

Dr. Egli also went through the Evolution Program with the Genesis Centre and came first in their Pitch & Pick competition and acknowledges the Genesis Centre, (MaRS on the Rock), and the Entrepreneurship Training Program in enabling her to learn the skills required to successfully commercialize the MIP.

Together with Drs. Christina Bottaro, Kelly Hawboldt and Carlos Bazan, she received an Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) in March 2017 to develop MIP-based systems for water quality assessment.

Already in December 2016 Drs. Egli and Bottaro were awarded a $248,400 provincial ArcticTECH grant to translate the MIP into a market-ready product. The result: Intelligent Materials, a Memorial spin-off company. The Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office (a Springboard Member) has worked with Dr. Egli along the way, supporting the commercialization of her research.

To read the full article in The Gazette, click here.

Chelation Partners Inc. is #springboarding forward in their Fight against Superbugs

Chelation Partners -  a Halifax company is working on solving the problem of superbugs and one of the major issues we must face in our healthcare system is the antibiotic-resistance that bacteria are developing. 

When Bill Cheliak was speaking with Sarah Conrod, the Manager of Industry Partnerships and Research Commercialization at Cape Breton University (CBU), a Springboard Atlantic Member, at the Atlantic Venture Forum 2015 a remarkable research relationship was formed. One of CBU's key researchers Dr. Matthias Bierenstiel was looking for new partners for his work and Dr. Bierenstiel and Mr. Cheliak began their research partnership with an NSERC Engage grant in 2015 and the collaboration continued from there: 

Currently, the company is running clinical trials on dogs to test a new chemical compound that acts like a magnet to break down the defences of antibiotic-resistant superbugs by depriving them of the one thing they all need — iron. The work at CBU has provided hands-on experience for undergraduate and honours students in Bierenstiel’s laboratory, helping develop manufacturing methods and studying how the compound works at the molecular level and currently Bierenstiel's lab is working on the scale up from the lab manufacturing to commercial manufacturing. 

At Dalhousie University, researchers in the faculty of medicine have also been involved with Chelation Partners and CBU, testing how the compound works at the microbiological level in blood. If the clinical trials on dogs are successful, it is hoped that human trials could be underway by the end of next year.

To read the full article in the Chronicle Herald, click here.

At Springboard Atlantic we are excited to see how our members are helping industry to solve their problems and are #springboarding forward. 

ICYMI: Springboard Members receive CFI infrastructure funding

On August 15, 2017 the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, announced the next round of funding, provided by the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF), which gives researchers the means to purchase state-of-the-art technology and equipment to allow universities and researchers across Canada to carry out ground-breaking research in world-class facilities.

In the Atlantic Provinces the recipients in New Brunswick were Mount Allision University (MtA), Université de Moncton (UdM) and the University of New Brunswick (UNB). Click here to read about the funding details. Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) received funding for 2 projects. In Nova Scotia the recipients were Acadia University, Cape Breton University (CBU), Dalhousie University (Dal), Saint Mary's University (SMU) and Saint Francis Xavier University (StFX). Click here to read about the funding details.

Congratulations to our members and their outstanding researchers.

To read the CIF press release, click here.

To read the Huddle article about UNB CFI funding, click here.

To read the Gazette article about MUN CFI funding, click here.

To read the Dal News article about Dal CFI funding, click here.

To read the StFX News article about StFX CFI funding, click here.

Attracting Customers in New Ways

To develop and innovate new digital and other strategies students and researchers at the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary's University are set to work with local producers and artisans, technology companies and others at the Halifax Port Authority's Seaport Farmers' Market.

The idea for this partnership was born when when Julie Chaisson, executive director of the Seaport Farmers' Market, and a colleague attended a new week-long certificate program at Sobey's retail innovation centre. Future research topics considered are small video screens on shelves to tell the story of local food producers and artisans whose wares are sold in The Shelf, the farmers' market retail store and to deliver an assessment of their value or  specially-fitted glasses worn by consumers to see what attracts their attention in the store. The farmers market also serves as an incubator for local businesses, working with as many as 250 vendors.

"This partnership gives us a living laboratory in a real store," say Ramesh Venkat, director of the business school's David Sobey Centre for Innovation in Retailing and Services, of a new agreement with the Seaport Farmers' Market. "It will allow us to test innovations, run experiments and gather data while the store is operating." 

To read the full Globe and Mail article. click here.

Turning Fish Waste into a Commercial Product

To divert potential landfill and to turn a profit in the process, the Verschuren Centre at Cape Breton University will receive $750,000 from ACOA to create a pilot facility. Fish and shellfish waste will be ground up and turned into value added products, like paint additives or diet supplements.

Beth Mason, CEO of the Verschuren Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment, said it's a practical solution to reducing waste that would normally be put in a landfill. The project will take two years to be completed.

In a second project ($300,000 from ACOA) the Verschuren Centre will work North Sydney's Northsyde Processing, a division of Louisbourg Seafoods Ltd., to implement a filtering system to remove shrimp shells from seafood waste.

To read the full article on, click here.

Springboard and Jameson Group Launch Investment Opportunities Pilot Project

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 have launched a new pilot program in Atlantic Canada with support from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency(ACOA). It’s called the Atlantic Investment Opportunities Program and its purpose is to help solve the problem of timing and match the right investors with the right start-up at the right time.

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 is accepting applications for entry into the programs first cohort now. Click here to find out more about participating in this unique opportunity.  

This story first appeared in the Canadian Innovation News

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CarbonCure to work on Californian Rail project

The Halifax-based startup has partnered with Outback Materials of Fresno, Calif., which will install CarbonCure’s technology at its Fresno plant. The installation of the technology will lead to the consumption of waste during concrete production instead of emitting it. Therefore not only making the high-speed rail project more environmentally friendly but also all other projects that make use of CarbonCure's Technology.

CarbonCure's Technology injects carbon into concrete to strengthen it, reduce costs and most importantly it reduces carbon dioxide emissions, where traditional concrete production produces huge amounts of CO2. The company began with a process for concrete blocks and last year launched a process to inject carbon into ready-mix concrete.

"It is truly an honour for CarbonCure to have the opportunity to partner with a great producer like Outback Materials and to partake in an infrastructure project with the magnitude of the California High-Speed Rail," said CarbonCure CEO Robert Niven. "If CarbonCure's technology were used to produce the concrete for the rest of the first construction package, spanning from Madera to Fresno, the carbon reductions would be equivalent to the amount of CO2 consumed by 3200 acres of American forest over a year."

To read the full article, click here.

Nova Scotia Community College receives $2.2M in ACOA funding

The funding of $1,207,500 NSCC, a Springboard Atlantic member, received from ACOA will support applied research in local clean technology, agriculture, fisheries, and in the marine and manufacturing sectors. This will include the purchases of new 3D printing technology and a mobile micro-grid capable of generating and storing wind and other forms of clean energy for the Dartmouth waterfront campus, a “visualization lab” to help researchers tap Lidar-based data for the Middleton campus and an integrated UAV crop-management system for precision viticulture for the NSCC’s Centre for Geographic Sciences, in Lawrencetown.

The remaining $948,000 will help NSCC support 40 Nova Scotian firms to improve their HR, occupational health and industrial engineering, will allow NSCC to hire a manufacturing technician to incorporate new technology into the curriculum and to help students build entrepreneurial skills across NSCC’s 13 campuses until June 30 next year.

To read the full article, click here.

St. Thomas University and UNB set to lead Canada’s Cannabis Research

New Brunswick is strengthening its position as a Canadian leader in Cannabis research, as well as a world leader, by creating the 2nd Heath Research Chair in Cannabis at UNB. This follows the first announcement in May of the creation of the first ever Health Research Chair in Cannabis at St. Thomas University.

St. Thomas' Health Research Chair received $1M in funding ($500,000 from Shoppers Drug Mart and the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation, respectively and the UNB chair will also receive $1-million in funding – $500,000 from New Brunswick Health Research Foundation and $500,000 from Tetra Bio-Pharma Inc.

The UNB chair will focus on the research of biochemistry, medicinal use and pharmacology of cannabis, further expanding the university’s commitment to research and innovation in the field of natural product and biomedical, health and life sciences. The St. Thomas chair will research policy development, socio-economic and health-related issues related to cannabis use.

The creation of these chairs are very timely, since the federal government is moving ahead with plans to legalize recreational marijuana use by July 2018.

To read the full Huddle article, click here.

To read the full CBC article, click here.

To read the full Global News article, click here.

To read the full Civilized article, click here.

MUN and UPEI receive ACOA AFI funding for cultured salmon research

MUN researcher Dr. Kurt Gamperl and UPEI researcher Dr. Mark Fast have been working for 15 years to improve the regions aquaculture production of salmon and other fish species, with the aim to reduce the impact of pathogens and changing environmental conditions. Both circumstances can lead to disease and poor health, directly impacting the industry.

This pan-Atlantic project will be using genomics and other biotechnologies to imporve the health and well-being of cultured Atlantic salmon and is lead by Drs. Gamperl and Fast, MUN Department of Ocean Sciences, Faculty of Science and UPEI’s Atlantic Veterinary College, respectively.

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) awarded $2.9 million in AIF funding, which is matched with $1.5 million in funding from Newfoundland's provincial government ($500,000), industry and other academic partners for the total project cost of $4.4 million.

Supported by MUN's Technology Transfer and Industry Liaison Office and UPEI's Synapse, members of Springboard Atlantic, the research and engagement with industry has been steadily #springboarding forward and Springboard Atlantic came further behind this pan-Atlantic initiative with Innovation Mobilization Marketing Support funding.  

To read the full article in The Gazette, click here.

To read the full article in The Telegram, click here.

To read the full article in The Guardian, click here.

To read the full article in VOCM, click here.

NS EEL Aquaculture business readying to launch with help from Dalhousie researchers

Aiming to raise market ready product in a sustainable and low-impact way by 2020, NovaEel a Nova Scotia company continues to work with researchers at Dalhousie University. Receiving access to various sophisticated equipment, for example, the Proteomics & Mass Spectrometry Core Facility at Dalhousie Medical School has helped the company to determine the sex of immature eels (glass eels) and to safely select and grow female eels, which can grow up to several kilograms and are the preferred product for export.

Dalhousie's Industry Liaison & Innovation office (Dal ILI), a Springboard member, played a key role to help obtained a $25,000 Engage Grant from NSERC and $5,000 from the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program, allowing the Dalhousie researchers to work with NovaEel to develop the methods for safely and reliably feminizing its glass eel supply. Dal ILI will continue to be involved in the project were needed. 

The work on all aspects of this project has also proven to be a great training ground for scientists and engineers and so far has involved more than 20 trainees.

To read the full article, click here.

Engaging Entrepreneurs - One Student at a Time

In 2014, the Province of Nova Scotia, as part of the One Nova Scotia Report,  launched the Provincial Sandbox Initiative designed to create a culture of entrepreneurism for students and communities  across the Province.  It came about as a result of the question - how and when do we get people moving through the start-up funnel? 

The sandbox idea lives at the top of the funnel with each location acting as a hub designed to leverage the brain power in the province’s universities and colleges to help drive knowledge-based businesses and to offer educational learning opportunities.

Jolene MacEachern runs Dalhousie University’s agriculture focused sandbox program Cultiv8 out of the university’s Truro Campus.  Cultiv8 is one of 7 sandbox programs in the Province designed to ensure all university students have access to resources necessary to help their ideas become reality.  MacEachern says the key with programs like Cultiv8 is to get kids excited about innovation and entrepreneurship in their chosen field.

“Agriculture is a global innovation driver in many other regions of the world,” says MacEachern. “We need to expose our students to these ideas.  They need to know robots are farming in Japan.  By getting people excited we will change the way we look at agriculture’s role in our emerging new economy.”

The sandbox program also offers an Innovation Summer Bootcamp which includes 16 weeks of entrepreneurship programming.

 “Once they’re engaged we see tremendous excitement,” says MacEachern.  “It’s because they’re learning that they can carve their own destiny and isn’t that what we want most for our students?”

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The Atlantic Canada Startup Ecosystem

“There’s never been a better time to be a start-up in Atlantic Canada”.  That according to Doug Robertson CEO of Venn Innovation in Moncton, New Brunswick.  Venn -  a globally recognized accelerator is a part of a growing group of Atlantic-based organizations committed to creating successful entrepreneurs and companies in the region.

Robertson’s position is not a unique one.  In fact it’s the current sentiment from many in the start-up ecosystem across Atlantic Canada

As Canada celebrates its 150th we tend to reflect on the past to determine its impact on the future.  Without a doubt, Atlantic Canada boasts a long and storied history of innovation.  The key opening can, the hot and cold water faucet, the thermal window pane, the pipeless furnace, and of course the snowblower.  Perhaps that’s where the start-up ecosystem started.  Innovation driven by necessity and the determination of a region to help itself forward. 

The modern-day start-up ecosystem, however, was a little later starting.  In fact, just  20 years ago there were only 2 centres focused on entrepreneurial start-ups emerging from research within the university (the TME program at UNB and Genesis at Memorial).  In the last 10 years however, the ecosystem has flourished.  Today the start-up network across Atlantic Canada boasts over 30 organizations in the sandbox, garage, incubator and accelerator space.

There is a network of support that has been strategically created by government, academia and industry that is allowing entrepreneurship and the commercialization of ideas across our region.

There’s also some unique characteristics that position Atlantic Canada differently than other start up regions across North America.

Atlantic Canada boasts a collaborative model that has been truly embraced by the start-up ecosystem.  This model not only celebrates working together but also failing together in terms of the learnings generated.  It then takes those learnings to help propel the next start-up idea.

Energia Ventures is the newest accelerator in Atlantic Canada.  Executive Director Edwin Rodriguez says the difference between the start-up ecosystem in Atlantic Canada and in other places he’s done business is the lack of Darwinian culture.  “While there are many other successful start-up environments across North America, for every success there are numerous roadkill.  In Atlantic Canada we are not driven by survival of the fittest but rather a culture of hands on, higher quality support that has created a higher success ratio for our start-ups in Atlantic Canada.”

As well, while Atlantic Canada may be short on seed investment it makes up for it with other types of programs and support networks (like Springboard Atlantic) that have been driven by industry in partnership with government and post-secondary institutions.  These allow the start-ups in this region the ability to compete on a global level. 

Springboard Atlantic CEO Chris Mathis says that “in some respect, Springboard’s greatest success is the planting of the seed that has changed the culture and sparked a belief that entrepreneurship, stemming from the commercialization of research and ideas, is the basis for a sustainable region moving forward.”

Finally, other trends are playing in Atlantic Canada’s favour.  Global connectivity means you can successfully run a business from really any corner of the world – especially a place as beautiful as Atlantic Canada. And the housing boom in major urban centres has ensured our younger entrepreneurs won’t be able to afford suitable housing any time soon – so again why not consider Atlantic Canada where your housing dollar gets you more.

In the end, Atlantic Canada’s emergence onto the global start-up scene may be later coming, but it’s an innovation renaissance that is as unique as the region itself and one that promises to continue moving the region and its players forward one success story at a time.

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Making Frozen Lobster Taste Great

A few years back Dr. Shah Razul (StFX, Dept of Chemistry) was cooking frozen lobster for relatives in Singapore and was very disappointed when he took his first bite. The difference in taste from the fresh product was so great that he decided to find a way to break with the age old lobster preserving tradition and to improve the culinary experience of eating frozen lobster.

Preserving lobster year-round 

Fast forward to today and Dr. Razul is now working with a team of students to boil, de-shell and freeze 90 kilograms of lobster as part of a yearlong research project to study his innovation to see whether it's possible to make lobster taste fresher longer. If proven that it works the goal is to provide a solution to the industry that has great commercial potential worldwide.

To ensure that the ultimate judge, the consumer, is satisfied with the end product, StFX has partnered with researchers at Acadia University to conduct sensory testing with the public at six and 12 month time. The sensory testing will take place in Acadia's Centre for the Sensory Research of Food.

The funding for this project comes from Springboard's Innovation Mobilization Program, Proof of Concept Fund and we are delighted to see our members collaborate on important research that will be #springboarding forward their innovations into the industry.

To read the full article on Yahoo News, click here.

To read the full article, click here.

11 Teams graduate from Dal’s LaunchPad

LaunchDal is helping students to start their own business and on Wednesday night, 11 teams completed the summer program by pitching their companies and ideas as part of their graduation from the program. Almost all the teams are working with or have lined up early adopters, and some have already raised capital from sources other than the university.

Three of the eleven teams are in the ocean tech space and several companies are producing hardware. Given that the Atlantic Provinces are applying for federal funding for the ocean super-cluster, it is significant to have more start-up companies in this sector that can be involved. Hardware producers face a different challenge than software producers and LaunchDal has been enhancing its program for hardware-makers over the last couple years. 

The companies that pitched the night of July 19, 2017:



Graphite Innovation & Technologies 

Trip Ninja 








To read the full article on Entrevestor, click here.

Holland College’s Canada’s Smartest Kitchen helps Cedar’s Eatery #springboarding forward

After owner Ryan Abdallah discovered that his father Maroun's original garlic spread recipe was so popular with customers in their restaurant and they learned all the way people use it, they decided to take it to the next level and work towards the goal to offer their well love product for sale at a major retailer. Reaching out to Holland College and with the help of an IRAP CTO the idea was further developed.

In order to ensure that the taste from the restaurant experience translates into the bought product, Mr. Abdallah spent countless hours perfecting the recipe for large scale production and enlisted the help from product development experts at both Bio Food Tech and Canada's Smartest Kitchen in Charlottetown.

The final push to establish a relationship with Sobeys came when Mr. Abdallah won the top prize of $30,000 in a contest by the Food Island Partnership designed to help P.E.I. food entrepreneurs develop new products. Supported by Springboard's Innovation Mobilization Industry Engagement Fund, organized and executed by Holland College's Canada's Smartest Kitchen and partners, the Food Xel Workshop Series goal was to introduce companies looking to innovate with research institutions, funders and food product development experts. It included working individually with each company to help them understand the food product development cycle including packaging, branding and market research.

The Original Maroun's is now available for sale on Sobeys selves.

Project partners in the Food Xel Workshop Series included Bio Food Tech, Maritimes Bioenterprise, Emergence, the Startup Zone, and Food Island Partnership

To read the full CBC article, click here.

Upstreet Craft Brewing rolls out its new Craft Sodas

After working with Holland College via IRAP funding Upstreets latest product line, Day Drift Craft Soda is launched.  

From the company's website: A conversation about the adventures that everyone has in themselves, Day Drift Craft Soda began as a vision and is intended to be a testament to the fun day at the beach, the camaraderie of a late night campfire, the epic end of summer road trip, or the place where the red dirt road ends and the sand dunes begin. 

The ingridients are sourced locally as much as possible from the Island and Day Drift Craft Soda's are modern and distinct.

To read more about Upstreet Craft Brewing, click here.


Helping seniors to live on their own

Peachy was started by Chrissy Rossiter, a Memorial University Business Commerce student, with the help of a paid work term by the Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship (MCE) and the Office of the Vice-President (Research). The company provides software solutions to enable seniors to better manage their health and be less reliant on outside support and the company won $10,000 already in Startup Cup, a business idea competition. 

“The Genesis Centre has also been a huge help through the Evolution program,” said Ms. Rossiter, who took part in the program previously with a different business idea.

Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship (MCE) is campus-wide and promotes entrepreneurship by supporting students, faculty, and staff in the development of their startup idea.

Any student doing a co-op term or Memorial-recognized internship can apply for an entrepreneurial work term with the MCE. The MCE supports students, faculty and staff in the development f their startup business idea, promoting entrepreneurship. The students own the IP they develop and to date, the MCE has had 11 work-term students from the faculties of engineering and applied science and business administration and the departments of computer science and folklore.

To read the full story in The Gazette, click here.

Selling Solutions

At MUN students have the opportunity to explore entrepreneurship as a viable career path, via the Memorial Centre for Entrepreneuship (MCE). At MCE students have the opportunity to sign up for a paid work term, that allows them to take their idea, start a company and not have to worry about the money to do it. What started out as a supported pilot project by Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship (MCE) and the Office of the Vice-President (Research) has been now officially launched in March 2017 and is a campus-wide partnership between Memorial’s Faculty of Business Administration and the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

“Through this unique partnership, Memorial is aiming to establish a university where entrepreneurship is seen as a viable career path,” said Tim Avis, director, Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office, at Memorial.

“As a champion of entrepreneurship, and a strategic unit within the Office of the Vice-President (Research), we are proud to partner with the MCE for this work-term pilot project.”

The purpose is to promote entrepreneurship and to support students, faculty and staff who are developing startup business ideas, and to contribute to developing an attractive entrepreneurial ecosystem in Newfoundland and Labrador. Through this support 3 engineering students were able to take 3 ideas and form them into one company - BlueBrick, an umbrella group for the 3 separate business ideas: Fitsu, Watermark and Grassroots Supply.

For this fall the MCE will take up to 10 students for paid placements.

To read the full story in The Gazette, click here.

10 Teams emerge from UNB’s Technology Management & Entrepreneurship program

On July 6th the Technology Management & Entrepreneurship program held its final pitching session and 10 teams (put together of 13 students) presented their businesses to mentors, local business leaders, and their peers. 

Throughout the program, the participating students have presented their ventures to a panel of entrepreneurs and coaches, every Thursday morning at the J. Herbert Smith Centre for Technology Management & Entrepreneurship. Dhirendra Shukla, director of the J. Herbert Smith Centre says that these are not student projects, but that all of these 10 teams have what it takes to be a significant business.

The 10 companies are:

Hinge Paintball 


ServeUs App 

Pfera Inc. 


Stash Energy 

Rabbit Town Whisky Co. 

PHYS Technologies 

Mbissa Energy Systems                                                    

Terra Toran 

To read the full story on Entrevestor, click here

To read the full story on Huddle, click here.

Preserving lobster year-round

Knowing what freshly cooked lobster tastes like, the disappointment was big for Dr. Razul when he cooked up some frozen lobster for relatives he visited in Singapour a few years ago. Experiencing first hand how the time old tradition of preserving the frozen lobster is diminishing the taste of this typical Atlantic Canadian food he set out to find a better way and use his expertise as a chemist to search for a solution for the industry.

To quantify the effectiveness of his formulation Dr. Razul is undertaking a yearlong study and has also received Springboard Innovation Mobilization Funding. The goal is to provide a solution to the industry that has great commercial potential worldwide, and it is his hope that his results can also be applied to other seafood species besides lobster.

Students and colleagues alike are very excited about this opportunity and enjoying their collaborative work with his lab.

To read "The News" article, click here.

Start-Up Zone in PEI is adding 3 new Teams

With the latest addition of Shoplaw, Local Legends Apparel, and Cradle Technology Design Inc., Start-Up Zone has now 18 resident companies and 12 alumni. The 3 newste addition have joined its business incubation residency program.

Doug Keefe, Interim CEO of Start-Up Zone says:“The value of the program is in our deep focus on customer needs and creating a network of entrepreneurs for support and collaboration. Our network only gets stronger the more it grows. We are incredibly excited to welcome these new founders.”

To read the full story on Entrevestor, click here.

Acadia University receives ACOA Atlantic Innovation Fund for green insect pest management solutions

After completing the first successful AIF for green insect pest management solutions last December, Kings Hants MP Scott Brison and Catherine McKenna, federal minister of environment announced on Friday, that Acadia University will receive almost $3 million from the ACOA Atlantic Innovation Fund to continue this important work for the forestry and agriculture sectors and the environment overall.

“It is important that we invest in research that's going to shape the future of our planet, and also the jobs of tomorrow,” Kings Hants MP Scott Brison said at the announcement Friday morning on the university campus. 

Lead by Dr. Kirk Hillier, a professor of biology at Acadia, the project partners in this 2nd AIF are Dalhousie University, University of New Brunswick, the Natural Resources Canada’s Atlantic Forestry Centres in Fredericton, NB and Corner Brook, NL, Forest Protection Limited, Sylvar Technologies and Agrifor Biotechnical Services, making it again a Pan-Atlantic project.

“The research being done here at Acadia has the potential to create effective and environmentally-responsible pheromone-based products that will be marketed in Canada and internationally,” said Catherine McKenna, federal minister of environment and climate change. 

The pest management tools are developed using the insects' pheromones and other naturally-derived products, which ensures that sustainable solutions for the future of Canada's agriculture and forest industries are used. The products will be commercialized by Sylvar Technologies, adding to their line of pheromone products for forestry and agriculture.

Springboard Atlantic came behind a number of the technologies developed and commercialized during the first AIF project with Innovation Mobilization Marketing Support funding and is looking forward to helping #springboarding the new technologies developed during this 2nd AIF.

To read the full story in Local, click here.

To read the full story in The Chronicle Herald, click here.

To read the full story in The Kings County Advertiser, click here.

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Made in Nova Scotia good news

Cape Breton entrepreneurs have a new hub to turn to. With $1.9 million of combined provincial and federal investment to suport Cape Breton startups, Momentum is offering that space to companies. This high-tech facility offeres shared office space, state of the art computer technology, a mill, welding equipment and other tools for ddriving innovation forward. Momentum will be located at the New Dawn Centre for Social Innovation and therefore enabling CBU and NSCC to offer information, learning, research and other services to the companies at Momentum.

Acadia University Laboratory for Agri-food and Beverages (ALAB) celenrated its grand opening on June 24, with a $1 million annpuncement in provincial funding. The investment will support for example the purchase of the lab’s information management software and testing equipment. This lab and its services (beverage testing for ethanol, sugar, total and free sulphuric acid, volatile acid, and sorbic acid, as well as trace analyses can be done) is of special interest to Nova Scotia's wine industry. Up until now the region’s winemakers had to send samples for analysis out of province to places such as Ontario, B.C. or California. It is anticipated that innovations in the lab and its services will have a positive ripple effect on the provincial economy. 

To read the full story in the Chronicle Herald, click here.

$1.3 million of venture capital for Envenio

Celtic House Venture Partners, Green Century Investments and New Brunswick Investment Foundation are providing the venture capital investment to the Fredericton-based software company.

The initial intellectual property was developed by UNB and licensed by 3 mechanical engineering graduates that created Envenio six years ago. The companies software lets engineers analyze and solve problems involving the flow of liquids and gases (computational fluid dynamics - CFD), its algorithms allowing general computers to simulate the flow of these substances. Originally created as a service company, Envenio expanded with the launch of products that would allow their clients to conduct their own studies at a fraction of the price offered by competitors. To continue the companies growth, Envenio will keep to its plans to increase the use of its cloud-hosted, on-demand CFD platform, EXN/Aero.

To read the full Huddle article, click here.

To read the full Entrevestor article, click here.

Springboard Atlantic program turns academics into entrepreneurs

Not seeking to take credit but wanting to achieve results, Springboard Atlantic, a not-for profit is finding commercialization success by helping turn college and university research into thriving businesses. Springboard's secret is, that it serves as a catalyst for the intellectual property (IP) coming out of the 19 Atlantic-region postsecondary institutions by combining them with commercial expertise and business resources. 

“These universities create IP [intellectual property] on a daily basis,” says Mathis, himself a mechanical engineer turned entrepreneur. “We help these educational institutions decide which ideas can best be commercialized, and then help them connect with the people and partnerships that can bring them to fruition.” - Chris Mathis, Springboard Atlantic CEO & President.

Starting a business out of university research requires specialized support since the researchers are initially driven by their curiosity and don't consider the commercial potential or the market need. Therefore most colleges and universities have technology-transfer offices, which specialize on commercializing postsecondary IP. Fortunately, in Atlantic Canada, these offices do not operate in isolation. 12 years ago with the financial support from the universities, colleges and the federal government’s Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), Springboard Atlantic was created. 

With a staff of five, Springboard serves clients directly and through the network of the institutional industry liaison and technology transfer officers. Its role is to help on-campus commercialization and develop solid relationships with faculty and to hone the technology-transfer officer's abilities to analyze IP and evaluate market potential. Springboard further helps the network explore the process of commercialization with their academic colleagues, to determine their interest in partnering with industry, licensing or venturing into business themselves.

Springboard's support spreads across Atlantic Canada, developing numerous Atlantic companies with global growth potential and impacts, from helping a Halifax firm that creates screens to protect pilots from exposure to lasers, to research in St. John’s that drew on Newfoundland’s population data to develop a technique for evaluating who should be screened for hereditary genetic heart issues.

To read the full Globe and Mail article, click here.

Holland College receives infrastructure investment from PEI and federal government

Holland College received $741,000 in funding for the enhancement and expansion of the trades training facilities at it Centre in Georgetown. This will include new electrical, mechanical and building envelope systems, which will enhance the student experience and improve environmental sustainability. $370,384 came from the Government of Canada and $370,384 from the Province of Prince Edward Island. The Centre in Georgetown provides programs for 250 full- and part-time students. 

Throughout Prince Edward Island universities and colleges will receive close to $23.3 million from the Government of Canada, the provincial government, the institutions themselves and private donors. Federal funding will be allocated through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, for the modernization of research facilities on Canadian campuses and improve the environmental sustainability of these facilities.

To read the full Newswire article, click here.

Dalhousie University developed cancer treatment technology receives ACOA Atlantic Innovation Fund

Developed by James Robar, Faculty of Medicine, chief of Medical Physics at the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) and director of Dal’s Medical Physics program and his team, Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament for Halifax, visited Dal's campus on June 23, 2017 to announce the new $2.1-million funding through the government’s Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF). 

This investment marks the beginning of a new partnership between the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA), where the Dal researchers are based, and Germany’s Brainlab AG — a medical technology giant that will commercialize the radiation treatment technologies in countries around the globe.

The goal of this AIF project over the next four years is to expand the work on developing and improving technologies that allow doctors to deploy cancer radiation treatment in more precise, less-invasive ways, improving patient outcomes. The technologies range from a capacitive patient-monitoring system that provides sensitive readouts many times a second about where a patient is during treatment to an algorithm that can enable more precisely target radiation treatments that result in less damage to surrounding healthy organs and tissue. The project will hire eight new employees, including a project manager, two medical physicists, an engineer and several PhD students. 

“Although there is currently no definitive cure for cancer, it is through the work of researchers like Drs. Robar, [Christopher] Thomas, [Mike] Sattivariand and [Alasdair] Syme that we can improve the quality of treatment for people coping with cancer,” - Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament for Halifax.  

To read the full story on Dal News, click here.

To read the full story on Entrevestor, click here.

New hub, Momentum to support startups in Cape Breton

Funded by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s business development program ($1.395 million over three years) and an additional $500,000 from the province through Innovacorp, the hub will be based at the New Dawm Centre for Social Innovation and if will have an an entrepreneur-in-residence, shared office space, a computer numerical control machine, a mill, welding equipment, a 3D printer, an electronics lab, a computer station for computer-aided design and other technology.

Momentum will be managed by Innovacorp and will receive support from the Cape Breton Partnership, Cape Breton University, Nova Scotia Community College and National Research Council of Canada.

To read the full Cape Breton article, click here.

Solace Power to expand its lab into a leading facility of its kind in the country

Solace Power has recently celebrated its 10th anniversary and is continuing going forward with big announcements. The company, that specializes in wireless power (delivering electrical energy to batteries or devices without any wires attached to them) has 30 employees and is set to expand to 35, outgrowing its current facilities in Mount Pearl, NL.

With the $2.55 million from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Atlantic Innovation Fund (repayable) and $245,000 from the Newfoundland and Labrador government’s Research & Development Corp, Solace Power is now developing a larger $4.2 million lab to continue its research and development in wireless technologies.

This announcement comes on the heels of last month US$ 2.3 million research contract from Lockheed Martin.

To read the full Entrevestor article, click here.

To read the full NATI article, click here.

Research Drives Growth - Atlantic Canada Startup Community looks at Dal

In 2014/2015 Entrevestor showed that startups from Atlantic Canada's universities and colleges gain revenue twice as fast as the rest of the startup community and all eyes will now look to Dalhousie University to see how they integrate their new partnership in the Creative Destruction Lab’s new CDL-Atlantic node in Halifax and the commercialization work that is already happening through Springboard Atlantic to commercialize more scientific research.

As Atlantic Canada's leading research university, followed by Memorial University and the University of New Brunswick, Dalhousie is now also in talks to be the first Canadian node of Innovation Corps, or I-Corps, the U.S. National Science Foundation’s program for commercializing scientific research. I-Corps specializes in teaching scientists how to commercialize their research, and in the past few years has worked with 1,500 of the leading scientists in the U.S.

Given that the region’s startup community is maturing and includes more companies than ever, the challenge is to keep those companies and new ones growing into mature companies that offer unique and impactful products which often requiring extensive scientific research. However, given Dal's research capacity and together with Springboard Atlantic, CDL-Atlantic, Launch Dal, ShiftKey Labs and the IDEA Project and hopefully I-Corps, Dalhousie is set to influence the startup community in a fundamental and far-reaching way.

To read the full Entrevestor article click here.

To read the Chronicle Heralds article on Entrevestor's article click here.

For the raw data from the Entrevestor chart in the picture, including the percentage changes, please visit their Facebook page. Just click here

A new diverse cohort of Entrepreneurs at UNB’s Summer Institute this year

The 8 businesses and 10 participants are now midway through the program at the J. Herbert Smith Centre for Technology Management and Entrepreneurship’s (TME) Summer Institute program at University of New Brunswick. This years particiants were chosen out of 113 businesses from 14 different countries that applied, with 60% of the applicants being female. 

The program includes a wide variety of businesses from different background, providing a very creative environment where each young entrepreneur learns to turn their passion into a living at a pace and scale that works for them.

The program is set to wrap up on July 21 with the final demo day and an evening celebration. 

“It’s been incredible to watch how quickly these businesses have developed in a few short weeks,” Program Manager Melissa Erin O’Rourke said. “This cohort has been super diligent about reaching and surpassing their major milestones. I’m excited to see how far they can stretch their limits and what they can accomplish before our final celebration.”

To read the full Huddle article click here.

Creative Destruction Labs Atlantic is open for the 2017/2018 cohort applications

Launched 5 years ago at the University of Toronto, the CDL is now offering three simultaneous programs in Toronto, and offering two programs in Montreal and one each in Vancouver, Calgary and Halifax. The program in Halifax will have 25 spots available, which will be held in collaboration with Dalhousie University’s Rowe School of Business, with a special strength in ocean and clean technology.

The application deadline is September 30, 2017, and the program will begin in November. 

To read the full Entrevestor article, click here.

Students at Cape Breton University to help companies to export to Europe

With the Canada European Union trade deal to come into effect on July 1st, Cape Breton Universities' (CBU) MBA program is offering free help to six local companies, who have identified an opportunity for them in the European market.

Currently, all EU countries viewed together, represent Canada's second largest trade partner. Through the reseources available at CBU, the MBA students will put together a report for each chosen company by mid-September, that shows their unique opportunities, their competition and where the quickest take up of their products/services are likely to occurr. 

Read the full CBC article here.

NBCC’s Oasis helps new small business owners to get on their way

The program started out as a pilot project in Miramichi in 2014 and once its success was proven NBCC expanded it to their campuses in Moncton and St John and is now adding the program to its Fredericton campus.

NBCC connects new alumni businesses and connects them with the right professionals and business owners in their communities. The program runs for 12-14 weeks and to date 18 small businesses were helped in Miramichi and 43 small businesses have been supported this way across the province.

For the full CBC article, please click here.

MUN’s Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation (CCFI) is springboarding forward, receiving its 2nd patent

The Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation (CCFI), was established by Memorial University as a not-for-profit cooperation for the purpose of working with industry and academia to identify opportunities and to help drive them to market. Starting in 2013 CCFI assigned the intellectual property (IP) of its sea cucumber processing technology to MUN via its Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office (TTCO). The TTCO supports the universities researchers by helping them to protect their IP, to navigate the commercialization process and to engage with industry. 

Springboard Atlantic and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency provided funding for this technology and Tim Avis, director, TTCO, presented the inventors on June 2nd with their second US patent for the sea cucumber processing machine. “Without funding from Springboard and the Atlantic Canadian Opportunities Agency, this patent application would not have been possible,” says Tim Avis. “Memorial, with the help of these funders, was able to successfully respond to an industry need. This sea cucumber processing machine is the first of its kind in the world.”

The sea cucumber processing machine also has two other patents pending approval in Canada and Europe. 

Sea cucumbers grow naturally in Canada and are raised in aquaculture farms in Asia, as they are a valued food source in Asia. However, the sea cucumbers can shape their soft bodies and leather-like skins to any form they wish or need to take (they are lacking a skeletal structure) and are therefore extremely difficult to process. Up until now, the processing has been very labour intensive, leading to repetitive strain injuries and sea cucumber asthma. This, in turn, has lead to difficulties for processing companies to retain their workforce.

The patented processing machine, developed by Joe Singleton and Stephen King, now allows the sea cucumbers to be easily flattened and processed quickly, reducing the repetitive strain injuries significantly. The integrated sea cucumber eviscerating machine, which takes away the toxic chemicals that some sea cucumber species discharge as a defense mechanism, reduces the occurrence of sea cucumber asthma dramatically.

To commercialize this machine, C&W Industrial Fabrication & Marine Equipment Ltd, Bay Bulls was licensed to build, market and sell them worldwide in 2013. With the perusal of the European patent, the company is hopeful that they can expand their sales territory to Europe. 

For the full article click here.

CFI publishes Case Study of Acadia Universities’ CARE Facility

Through the strategic use of combining five environmental research projects at Acadia University through CFI's John R. Evans Leaders Fund, the institution has created an internationally competitive centre for environmental research. The Acadia Centre for Analytical Research on the Environment (CARE) offers top level expertise that maintains its operations by leveraging opportunities and maximizing available resources through the co-located infrastructure. Together with the recent developments of the K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre, it has aided Acadia University in attracting and retaining top researchers, resulting in an outstanding multidisciplinary group of scientists at CARE. This has helped the centre to secure national and international collaborations and to solidify its reputation as a hub of expertise in environmental research and training.

Undergraduate and graduate students benefit from the training and learning opportunities provided by CARE and its researchers and the trainees gain multidiciplinary skills and knowledge needed in their future careers. 

Further, the CFIfunds have aided the CARE Centre to attract more than $5.2M is additional funding from multiple resources. 

The full CFI report can be found here.

Atlantic Biorefinery Conference takes over Fredericton says Canadian Biomass Magazine

Now in its 6th year, the annual Biorefinery Conference opens its doors to the biggest group of attendees yet on June 7th, with two different hands-on technology tours. Companies visited included The Huntsman Marine Science Centre, Cooke Aquaculture Salmon Farm, Envriem Organics, Forest Protection Limited and ADI Systems R&D Centre.

June 8 and 9 will follow with a full program of speakers from across Canada and Europe, focusing on new biorefining projects which transform Canada's (and the world's) natural resources into value-added products and business opportunities.

Biorefining encomapsses technologies that take natural materials and waste and convert them into high value products like building materials and biofuels foe example.

Read the full Canadian Biomass Magazine article.

Memorial University has a new Tier 1 Canadian Research Chair

With a total investment of $1.5 million of federal funding and $150,000 of porvincial funding, Dr. Kahn's research, which focuses on offshore operations in harsh environments, is set to help the industry to better understand, quantify and manage risk to enable safe and sustainable developments.

Through this program, MUN will be receiving $200,000 annually for seven years and Dr. Khan received another $100,000 for infrastructure associated with his Canada Research Chair through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund.

Read the full article here.

Atlantic Canada is set to open Canada’s first Innovation Corps Node at Dalhousie University

Steve Blank, a well-known start-up educator, is excited to see the excellent research being done in Atlantic Canada and in Canada and says that it is high time that an I-Corps Node is established so that this potential is not wasted. I-Corps Nodes help to propel discoveries from fundamental research into new companies, by exposing the scientists to the thinking and the processes that can take their discoveries to commercial products. Each scientist teams up with an entrepreneur and a graduate student to manage the team’s lab, and together they learn what it would take to bring a product to market.The 10 nodes already established in the US have seen 1,500 scientists go through the program in 6 years. 

Once the program has opened at Dalhousie, all academics from Atlantic Canada will have access to it. Dalhousie is partnering with George Washington University, Washington D.C. with the training of the staff and support to get the pilot program going.

Full Entrevvestor article here.

UPEI receives joint provincial and federal funding for infrastructure

The funds received are to be used for the renovations of the "Living" lab, the Clinic for Patient Oriented Research in the Steel Building and for Memorial Hall, spaces both used for research by professors and students alike.

Memorial Hall, UPEI's place for psychology research will see renovations to the building's foundation, windows, walls, central air and heating systems in the building and the Living lab will be expanded, giving the province its first pulmonary rehab program.

Go to for the full article.

Together with NBCC and NSCC, UNB launches the Marine Additive Manufacturing Centre of Excellence

With the goal of alleviating the current long wait times for the creation of needed parts for the marine and defense sector, the Marine Additive Manufacturing Centre of Excellence will combine research, commercialization and workforce development and training to push forward 3D metal-printing technology in place of conventional manufacturing methods.

Dr. Mohsen Mohammadi, director of the center and associate professor of mechanical engineering at UNB will lead research and development aspects of the center and Custom Fabricators and Machinists (CFM) will be the commercial partner. The New Brunswick Community College, Collège Communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick and the Nova Scotia Community College will lead the workforce development and training. 

External funding for the center comes from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics and Irving Shipbuilding Inc, with $2.7 million and $750,000 contributions respectively. UNB says that the center is currently worth nearly $5 million and is expected to triple its funding over the next year as more partners join. 

To read the full articles go to:

Global News


Creative Destruction Labs is coming to Halifax

Using Dalhousie's Rowe School of Business as a hub for the Atlantic branch of Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), will help promising start-up companies transition into high-growth companies.

Start-ups will be supported with the access to a strong network of seasoned entrepreneurs and investors and the 9-month program is based on milestone mentoring.  Originally started in 2012 at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, CDL has been very effective in helping young companies moving forward, by strengthening and expanding their endeavours through exposure to expert guidance and critical investment opportunities. To date, CDL companies have generated more than $1-billion in equity value and earlier this year another branch was launched in Vancouver at the University of British Columbia.

What sets the Atlantic branch apart is the speciality program for ocean, clean and agri-food technology companies in addition to the general program. Through the collaboration with the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE) and Dalhousie, CDL will draw on the strength that already exists in the region and will further support the commercial growth of cleantech, agriculture and ocean research.

For the full article, click here.

Labfundr launched its first campaign

Eric Fisher, a scientific researcher founded Labfundr with the goal to help scientists to raise funding from non-traditional sources, all sorts of people who see the value of the research. Another goal of the platform is to bring the scientific community closer to the general public and inspire communication between them. Labfundr also allows the financial donors to follow the research, therefore giving them the opportunity to feel that they are part of the team.

The first crowdfunding campaign with CALIPER - the Canadian Laboratory Initiative on Paediatric Reference Intervals, is developing a repository of data on healthy blood samples for children and teenagers.  

For more details and comments from Eric Fisher click here.

Dalhousie Ag Campus student team wins Canadian Engineering prize

Dalhousie Ag Campus students Patrick Wells, Alec McOnie, Nathaniel King and Alex Place won over 7 other Canadian post-secondary engineering school teams when entering the Canadian Engineering Competition in Calgary after beating the other regional teams in the qualifier in February in Moncton, NB.

In both competitions, the Dal team won, due to their level-headed approach and by simplifying their designs. To read all the details of how they won, go to the Chronicle Herald NowNS article.

Seaformatics is set to launch Waterlily, a mirco-turbine

Solving a very real problem for remote outdoor workers, backwoods camp owners and outdoor enthusiasts, Seaformatics latest product uses wind and water power to recharge any device with a USB connection. Named Waterlily, the microturbine is to be launched this year and has already 300 pre-orders.

Spun out from Memorial University, Seaformatics was formed in 2014. After working with Propel ICT’s Accelerator in 2016, Seaformatics received some money from the Genesis Centre (Seaformatics is a tenant of the Genesis Centre) to built a small-scale demonstration model of Sealily for trade shows.

Sealily is Seaformatics main product, built to harvest power from ocean currents to provide constant electricity for equipment. To learn the details of how Sealily became Waterlily and to read about the company’s production plan click here for the Entrevestor article.

New Partnership between UNB and Israeli Cybersecurity Initiative

The success of UNB's cybersecurity research continues to grow, evident in the signing of a memorandum to formalize the research partnership between Israel's CyberSpark and UNB, a first between the company and a Canadian University. 

Launched only in May 2016 the Canadian Institute of Cyber Security (CIC) has 27 core team members and Ali Ghorbani, director of the Canadian Institute of Cybersecurity at UNB and the university’s dean of computer science, expects that more economic opportunities for New Brunswick and great innovations will come from this partnership.

Click here to read Huddle’s coverage of this announcement and here to read Betakit's article.

Memorial University researchers and Genesis Centre client receive $4.9M in provincial-federal support

Testing for water contaminants via MIPs (molecular imprinted polymers) is the smart technology that the Memorial University researchers team, led by Dr. Christina Bottaro, Department of Chemistry in the Faculty of Science, will be developing. Through a follow on Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s (ACOA) Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) project and provincial funding (Research & Development Corporation), this project received close to $1.2 million in support.

Avalon Holographics, the flagship of Memorial’s Genesis Centre is receiving close to $3.75 million in federal (ACOA AIF) and provincial (Research & Development Corporation) support to develop a holographic flat screen that provides true images for the gaming industry and other consumer markets.

The Innovators

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NL’s Marine Innovation continues to accelerate

The investment of $1.5 million in Memorial University’s Fisheries and Marine Institute (MI) made by the Government of Canada through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) Innovative Communities Fund and Business Development Program will support 3 projects that will enable NL’s marine and aquaculture research and industry to remain strong and focus on continued growth locally and internationally.

MI will establish a Regional Aquaculture Centre in the Coast of Bays region with the goal to close the gap in skills development, ensuring the sustainability of the aquaculture industry, while enhancing the technology transfer and research needs. MI will also make improvements to the institutes' simulator capacity, providing cutting-edge training opportunities for marine and offshore operations and it will allow MI’s ocean-mapping capacity to grow through new leading-edge technology.  Going forward the funding will allow MI to establish a 2-year international business development program, geared towards advancing its international business activity in coastal sustainability, education program management and climate change.

Probably best highlighting and showing off MI’s capabilities and commitment to collaboration and continued growth is the recent demonstration of the newly developed crab processor, a truly collaborative project between MI, the College of the North Atlantic (CNA) and the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation (CCFI). The new equipment will be more efficient, cutting back on the need for physical labour and is ready to be used by fish plants around the province and beyond.

For the full articles:

Home and Abroad 

New crab processor shown off during Innovation Week

Tesla battery researcher and Dal professor doubles lifetime of Tesla batteries, Apple purchases Tesla battery cell life-cycle machines

Close to one year after the establishment of the Tesla research agreement (achieved through the NSERC/Tesla Canada Industrial Research Chair), Jeff Dahn, professor at Dalhousie University and lead of his battery research group, has reported that he and his team have doubled the battery lifetime of Tesla products. While these batteries are not yet available for sale, the self-set goal was achieved 4 years ahead of its due time.

Dr. Dahn’s lab at Dalhousie has spun out Novonix and they offer expertise in material and cell testing, strongly focusing on the use of High Precision Coulometry for lifetime evaluation of lithium-ion cells. Dr. Dhan has recently confirmed that Apple is among Novonix clients, through one of Apple’s battery suppliers, which purchase from Novonix.

Apple has purchased battery cell life-cycle machines developed by Tesla’s research partner

Tesla battery researcher says they doubled lifetime of batteries in Tesla’s products 4 years ahead of time [Updated]

New Brunswick announces more funding for innovation

New Brunswick’s innovators can look forward to more funding to fuel their ideas, with $63.6 million for the NB Innovation Foundation (NBIF) and the NB Health Research Foundation over 4 years.

Additionally, the NB Innovation Voucher Fund will receive $1 million for research & development activities.

These announcements were made by Premier Brian Gallant during NB’s Innovation Week. The aim is to continue to grow New Brunswick’s innovation momentum and reflects Atlantic Canada’s trend over the last 2 years to develop more startups and to grow research at institutions.  NS invests $40 million for Innovacorp’s investment fund and $25 million for a new provincial venture capital fund. 2 years ago, NL created the Venture NL Fund and PEI is considering a fund.

To read how NBIF and the Health Research Foundation plan to invest the funds, please click here.

PETER HALPIN: Investing in Atlantic Canada’s future

Atlantic Canada’s university leaders strongly support and endorse the recently released report of the Advisory Panel on Federal Support for Fundamental Science, Investing in Canada’s Future: Strengthening the Foundations of Canadian Research (the report).  

It is comprehensive in scope and many of its recommendations reflect the point of view the Association of Atlantic Universities (AAU) presented to the advisory panel during its national consultations.
Our universities applaud the panel’s primary recommendation that annual federal spending across its four main research funding agencies be increased from approximately $3.5 billion to $4.8 billion (and maintain a rebalancing of federal research funding towards investigator-driven research projects across the full diversity of disciplines and areas).
There is a strong emphasis in the report on supporting early career researchers, as well as recognition for early-to-mid-career researchers who frequently face many obstacles in the current funding system.
The importance of this issue is well understood by Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science (a former associate professor of health studies). In her recent address to presidents at Universities Canada’s annual spring meeting, she emphasized the “great potential of early career researchers” but the “critical need to take action” on their behalf. 
The panel’s recommendation to better coordinate efforts, processes, and programming across the major federal funding agencies aligns with our universities commitment to inter-institutional R&D collaboration, locally, nationally, and internationally to fully leverage the diversity and vitality of the research ecosystem in our region. Our commitment to collaboration and coordination is best demonstrated by Springboard Atlantic, a university-led research commercialization network.
The AAU also agrees with the report’s emphasis on the importance of diversity and greater equity in the federal funding of research with an appropriate focus on the important issues of gender and career stage diversity and equity in research funding, an opportunity referred to by Minister Duncan as “inclusive excellence.”
It also raised the need for much greater attention to Indigenous research. Atlantic Canada’s universities, many located in rural communities with longstanding relationships to Indigenous and First Nations peoples, are particularly well positioned to uphold the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations on research. 
A core purpose is to improve the knowledge base of Atlantic Aboriginal economic development in order to improve the lives of Aboriginal peoples in the region. The research approaches community economic development from a broad, holistic perspective based on Aboriginal culture, languages, and direction from elders.
The report could have better articulated that research excellence is found in universities of all sizes across Canada – an important principle for the AAU. Our universities strongly support the idea that fundamental scientific research in Canada must be a level playing field across the country for awarding funding to universities regardless of their size. Atlantic Canada’s universities are differentiated in their respective roles, capacities, and needs in advancing research, a core aspect of every AAU member university’s mission.
Our universities are also pleased with the panel’s conclusion that “the recent erosion of Canada’s research competitiveness . . . has been exacerbated by a policy shift in favour of new programs that focus resources on a limited number of individuals and institutions.” We agree with the panel’s suggestion that these types of programs should be reviewed to ensure value for money. The report calls for a much stronger return to smaller, curiosity-driven research that does not require large matching fund commitments or extensive partnerships, which has historically disadvantaged our region. 
Our universities believe that if the government can take the steps to implement these recommendations, the R&D enterprise at all Atlantic Canada’s Universities and the research ecosystem in our region will benefit. It is essential that our universities secure regional, national, and international industrial and government agency support for research that leads to commercialization opportunities, innovation, economic growth, and social development across the region.
Atlantic Canada’s universities look forward to working with the Government of Canada as it acts upon recommendations from the report.

- Peter Halpin is Executive Director, Association of Atlantic Universities (AAU).

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Holland College receives renewal of federal funding for Canada’s Smartest Kitchen Technology Access Centre

Canada's Smartest Kitchen is part of Holland College's Culinary Institute and is a leader in food product development, offering creative and technical solutions for food businesses of all sizes when they are faced with commercialization challenges. Holland Colleges' team of chefs, food scientists and market experts are working with food companies from all over Canada, providing innovative research, resulting in successful products being launched, generating revenue for the companies.

The funding announcement was made by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science at the Colleges and Institutes Canada Annual Conference in Ottawa. 

“Our government supports investments that are helping to build an innovative economy and create quality jobs to support a vibrant middle class. Fostering strong partnerships between Canada’s colleges and industry partners leads to new, innovative ideas and transforms the results of R&D into new products that will benefit all Canadians.” Minister Duncan said.

To read the full story from Holland College, click here.

New Brunswick Scientist and Entrepreneur Wins Governor General’s Innovation Award

David Brown, co-founder of Mycodev Group, Tudo and Chinonova Bioworks, has been named a recipient of the 2017 Governor General’s Innovation Awards along with five other innovative Canadians.

The Governor General’s Innovation Awards are meant to recognize and celebrate outstanding Canadian individuals, teams and organizations whose work help shape the future.

Brown was nominated for his work with Mycodev Group to resolve a lack of supply of chitosan, a valuable pharmaceutical ingredient essential in a wide variety of medical devices and drugs. At its four year point, Mycodev is selling its chitosan to major pharmaceutical and medical device companies around the world.

“I’m very honoured to have won this award,” Brown said. “To me, it is a recognition of the hard work myself and others at Mycodev Group and Chinova Bioworks have done and it’s a recognition that innovation in biotechnology is not only done here in New Brunswick but its some of the best in Canada.”

Brown is currently working primarily with Chinova Bioworks on the research and development of natural preservative ingredients.

The award ceremony will take place on May 23 at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.

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Acadia motion lab helps athletes, even Adidas

Leading-edge research at a million-dollar motion lab at Acadia continues to make big strides by improving varsity athletic performance, reducing injury and/or increasing the speed of an athlete’s rehabilitation, and also improving the lives of anyone who suffers from injury and chronic illnesses affecting mobility and well-being.

Travis McDonough’s Kinduct Technologies platform, used by pro-athletes in just about every league throughout Canada and the United States, will also use the university’s lab on occasion for more detailed analysis for sport injury research.

“It’s great to see Nova Scotia at the forefront of the sport performance industry,” said Dr. Scott Landry, an associate professor of kinesiology at Acadia.

Landry supervises the research at the lab, which is located inside the university’s athletic complex and is equipped with motion capture technology similar to that used in animation and video games.

Adidas has also used Acadia’s facility several times to test the performance of its shoes, and Landry said the company is looking for a new project to collaborate with again, after Landry spent a recent sabbatical working at their sport research lab in Portland, Oregon.

“We’re always looking for partners and get funding to keep things moving,” said Landry, who initiated and built the John MacIntyre mLAB (Motion Laboratory of Applied Biomechanics) with the assistance of a Canada Foundation for Innovation grant and matching funds. It’s named in memory of a popular all-star soccer athlete at Acadia.

The lab features 19 motion-capture cameras recording thousands of frames per second, with wireless sensors measuring real-time muscle activation patterns in 3D to understand risk factors for injury.

Reflective markers placed around the athlete’s body measure the finer details of any movement in any sport, be it walking, running, or jumping and landing.

“A goal is to get a long-term study following children under the age of 10 to see how their muscular patterns and biomechanics change as they mature, to see if how they move might cause an injury down the road,” said Landry.

Some of the sensor technology is portable, so it can even go out onto ice surfaces or soccer fields and then be analyzed back in the lab.

Smaller motion labs in the province, such the Dynamics of Human Motion lab at Dalhousie, are mostly for knee and hip osteoarthritis diagnostics used in surgical and non-surgical treatments.

“Acadia doesn’t have a masters program in kinesiology yet, so we also allow students from Dal’s program who want to focus more on sport applications to research here,” said Landry.

Landry and Dal’s lab supervisor Dr. Janie Wilson are co-chairing the 20th biennial meeting for the Canadian Society for Biomechanics in August 2018 at the Westin in Halifax.

Landry said it’s the first time the meeting has been held on the East Coast since 2004 and is expected to draw at least 400 of the best engineers, kinesiologists, ergonomists, physicians, physical therapists and occupational therapists from across North America.

“All of whom are interested in applying the techniques of biomechanics to study human movement in health and disease,” he said.

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Members #Springboarding to Finalist Spots at KIRA Awards 2017

Springboard was cheering in our offices with the release of the #2017KIRAFinalists. It’s great to see so many of our partners, spin outs, and researchers getting recognized for their hard work #Springboarding the region forward. We wanted to take a couple of minutes to tell you a little bit more about the great work this group of deserving finalists is doing and how Springboard has been able to help.

The KIRA Awards (Knowledge & Innovation Recognition Awards) celebrate excellence in technological, social and economic innovation across all sectors and industries in New Brunswick. The awards recognise companies, organizations, and individuals in New Brunswick for their role in the development and / or application of innovative products, processes, services, technologies, or business models. KIRA seeks to encourage and foster a culture of knowledge and innovation in New Brunswick. Created in 1998 as a means to recognize the knowledge industry in Fredericton, the event has broadened its scope to showcase and honour innovation in all sectors and industries across New Brunswick.  

First and foremost, it’s awesome to see Springboard Member UNB’s faculties recognized twice in both the Innovation Champion and Premier’s Award for Innovation categories. The Institute of Biomedical Engineering (IBME) is a world renowned multi-disciplinary research unit employing 30+ people in the pursuit of innovation that not only gives back to the local community but is also a world leader in upper limb prosthetics. The UNB Civil Engineering team through their partnership with the NBDTI Design Branch is moving public collaborations forward in a way that is exciting to witness. This partnership has really enabled NBDTI to offer their services in exciting new ways.

We are also excited to see some of our institutional spinouts getting recognized this year. Soricimed Biopharma who were born out of Mount Alison University has an exciting year ahead as they continue to build on their top-line results of Phase 1 clinical trials for peptide-based cancer treatments, and their FDA Orphan Drug designation for pancreatic cancer. LuminUltra, a UNB spinout, and brain child of Graham Gagnon and his team has grown to 33 employees and international distribution, they continue to be a leader in microorganism detection and elimination in water systems. SimpTek is also a UNB spinout and have recently raised $700,000 to continue to develop their product which enables utilities to better engage with their customers on energy usage.

While we are excited to see who walks away with the fancy hardware on May 4th it’s great to see so many of our friends and partners celebrated as finalists. Congrats to all!

For tickets to attend this gala event click here:

North Atlantic climate change research underway

An ambitious research project is underway between the Atlantic province of Newfoundland, and Ireland.

Scientists from six countries are aboard a research vessel making a slow transit across the North Atlantic stopping to measure carbon dioxide levels in the ocean at points roughly every 30 nautical miles along the route. Doug Wallace is a chemical oceanographer and a Canada Excellence Research Chair in Ocean Science and Technology at Halifax’s Dalhousie University. He is leading a team of researchers on the RV Celtic Explorer.  

Quoted by the CBC he said, “Understanding this part of the ocean is really key to understanding how climate change is happening and how it will happen in the future”.

The world’s oceans have absorbed some 50 per cent of the C02 created by mankind over the past 200 years, mitigating climate change, but the process is slowing down. It has also made the oceans more acidic leading to other ecological concerns.

The currents in the North Atlantic are also vital in providing nutrients to the deep ocean, in cooling the planet, and creating a milder climate in western Europe.

Brad de Young, professor of physics and physical oceanography, Memorial University is also on board. Quoted in the Memorial U. Gazette, he says, “The Northwest Atlantic is one of the world’s largest sinks of carbon dioxide and, despite progress in our understanding, there’s still a huge lack of data as it relates to climate change’s impact on the ocean and what that means for the economy and society”.

In addition to Canadian scientists from Nova Scotia’s Dalhousie University, Memorial University Newfoundland and from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, researchers on board include those from the Marine Institute and National University of Ireland, Galway, GEOMAR from Germany, the University of Exeter, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Columbia University from the U.S., and Aarhus University, Denmark.

The trip falls under the new Ocean Frontier Institute and its goal to support multi-year research efforts. Ireland’s Marine Institute is a partner in OFI co-founded by  Memorial University,  Dalhousie University, and the University of Prince Edward Island. It was created last year through $220 million in funding from the Canadian government.

The ship left Newfoundland late last week and should be in Ireland by the end of the month. article: Trans-Atlantic research aims to unlock climate change mysteries

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Retrievium Founder Upbeat After CDL

Jason Pearson is having a busy spring.

The CEO of Charlottetown-based Retrievium is now piloting the company’s product – which produces predictive analytics for drug companies producing new compounds. As he proceeds with this work with  a drug discovery company, he’s hoping to close a seed round of funding in June.

Meanwhile, he’s preparing to graduate from the Creative Destruction Lab in Toronto, and to enter another high-profile Toronto mentoring group, Next Founders.

It’s a rather hectic time for a company that began as a collaborative effort between Pearson, a computational chemist at University of P.E.I., and Ray Poirier, a chemist at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Working with another Charlottetown startup, discoverygarden, they came up with a platform that chemists could use to help find the best ways of combining chemicals to produce new compounds.

Targeting the pharmaceutical industry, Retrievium uses computational modelling to help find new drugs or materials, and to better understand the properties of chemical systems. It can tell researchers what happens when certain elements are combined, and suggests new combinations in seeking a desired result.

“It’s a young market right now – there’s not a lot of competitors in the space,” said Pearson in an interview last week. “We differentiate ourselves in a number of ways – our background, our target market. There’s a lot of room for growth as people have a lot to learn in using predictive analytics … especially in chemical structure.”

Among the achievements of this young company is being accepted into the Creative Destruction Lab, one of Canada’s leading entrepreneurial programs. What’s more impressive is that Retrievium is graduating from it. The CDL starts each cohort with a few dozen teams, which attend a one- or two-day mentoring session to receive a set of milestones from mentors. When the cohort convenes again about two months later, teams that missed their milestones are asked to leave. CDL repeats the process several times until the cohort comes down to a core of strong teams – one of which, this year, is Retrievium.

“It’s hard,” said Pearson. “We’re really scientists, and we think Dragons’ Den has got nothing on this program.” He added that the program has really helped because Retrievium gained exposure to so many top flight mentors.

Pearson is coy about the current pilot program, but he said he’s had a strong response from pharma companies. “We have clients ready to pay us money,” he said.

He is also getting a good response from potential investors and hopes to close a “relatively significant seed round” in June – a round that would allow the company to operate for 12 to 18 months. And Pearson will hone his entrepreneurial know-how by going through Next Founders, a program for maturing entrepreneurs offered by the Next Canada group.

With the money and the mentorship, Pearson is optimistic about Retrievium’s prospects.

“I’m also realistic – my scientific background tells me that we have challenges,” he said. “There are some significant things we have to prove. But the people in the room at the CDL are some of the most influential and connected in the world, really. So they’re the right people to be taking your idea and transforming it into a high-growth startup.”

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Dal Showcases Creator Series

Graduates of Dalhousie University’s new Creator Series, an entrepreneurship program for students interested in producing hardware, showcased their work Wednesday evening. The new program is intended to give students the basic skills they need to create their own prototypes.

Audience members were entertained by projects that included a globe-like 360-degree camera, complete with all-seeing ‘eyes’, an automated floor-sander, and a headset that uses virtual reality to train firefighters by positioning them in a room full of flames.   

The prototypes were rudimentary, but the members of the student teams are now ready to improve upon their work and proceed with their business ideas.

Program creator Cat Adalay, head of Creator Initiatives at Launch Dal, said she devised the program to help non-engineers become technically literate and creative. 

“With automation taking at least half of human jobs over the next 20 years, we need to give ordinary people a basic technical education as well as getting them to be involved in entrepreneurial pursuits,” she said.

“If job security existed once, it definitely won't soon. By creating more entrepreneurs, we create jobs… Teaching people how to create basic physical prototypes gives them an understanding of their products and what is possible.”

The students, all from Launch Dal’s Starting Lean and Innovation courses, learned skills such as 3D printing, CAD modeling, coding and circuitry design and assembly.

At the start of the program, most team members had little or no experience of these technologies. 

Adalay said the students were helped by the fact that so much open-source technology is now available free online. (‘Open-source’ refers to resources where the original material is made freely available, and can be modified by other users.) 

“Open-source materials are immense for the creation of both hardware and software,” Adalay said. “Students can find very similar projects online, which allows them to speed up the development of their own work.”

One team, for example, found an existing image-recognition project online, which assisted them in developing their own image-recognition system for use underwater. 

Adalay said students also benefitted from being able to use tiny and affordable Raspberry Pi computers and Arduino microcontrollers. 

The participants learned the curriculum in 10 workshops over 30 hours. They also had access to Dalhousie’s state-of-the-art 3D printer, the Form 2.

Mary Kilfoil, the Academic Lead for Starting Lean, said the university is working on forming partnerships that will hopefully make the program available across the country.

The participating teams included:

- AutoSand--a robot that sands wooden decks ad floors autonomously to save contractors time and money and safeguard their health.
- Camerly--a selfie-taking solution that consists of a 3D camera that can be attached to a drone, selfie-stick or tripod to take 360’ pictures.  
- ROVault--a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) that educates users on ocean life and environments. 
- V-RAD--a virtual reality system designed specifically for training first-responder professions like police and firefighters with the aim of reducing injuries and deaths.  
- QuickTap--a mobile, touchscreen solution for restaurants so clients can order and pay for meals in a simple, streamlined way. 

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Knowledge seekers - Entrepreneurial collaboration and communication in Atlantic Canada

The project brings together faculty and staff from both campuses of Memorial University, St. Mary’s University, University of PEI, Université de Moncton, Cape Breton University and University of New Brunswick.

The group is mapping knowledge-seeking behaviours in the Atlantic Canadian entrepreneurial ecosystem in order to compare and contrast regions and recommend ways to strengthen the ecosystem. An entrepreneurial ecosystem is defined as a unique, complex environment that supports entrepreneurial activity

“Interest in mapping and better understanding these ecosystems will be valuable for policy-makers, industry associations, entrepreneurs, academics and other actors,” said Ken Carter, director, Office of Engagement at Grenfell Campus.

Entrepreneurial culture

Grenfell’s Navigate Entrepreneurship Centre is working with key ecosystem partners, including the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the provincial department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation, entrepreneurial groups such as Humber Valley Entrepreneurs, and support organizations like Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs, to build an entrepreneurial culture in the Corner Brook area.

This includes initiatives such as startup weekends, entrepreneurial workshops and networking sessions, regional development conferences, and career and entrepreneurial expos for students. IT also involves close participation with Grenfell Campus’s business program.

“Interest in entrepreneurial ecosystems has intensified as successful regions have shown that high levels and intensity of support to entrepreneurs can be an effective regional economic development strategy,” said Dr. Blair Winsor, Faculty of Business Administration, St. John’s campus.

“Rather than competing, we need to work together to be the best in the world at what we do.”— Dr. Ellen Farrell

The project is a good example of co-operation between researchers and institutions in Atlantic Canadian. The group is also looking at other teaching and research opportunities.

“We need collaboration to make things happen beyond those that we are able to do on our own,” said Dr. Ellen Farrell from St. Mary’s University.

“We need to move forward in this world as a region. We have great universities, researchers and collaboration. Rather than competing, we need to work together to be the best in the world at what we do.”

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Q1 Labs Exit Still Paying Dividends

If any exit can demonstrate how the economy benefits when a young company is bought by a larger company, it was IBM’s purchase of Q1 Labs of Fredericton in early 2012.

That purchase, reportedly worth more than $600 million, did more than just reward investors and staff at the cybersecurity company. It has led to hundreds of jobs in cybersecurity R&D in the New Brunswick capital, and made New Brunswick a genuine leader in research in cybersecurity, one of hottest segments of the IT world.

When the deal was announced in October 2011, Q1 Labs was officially headquartered in Waltham, Mass. But its 200 employees included a massive development team in Fredericton, where the company had started a decade earlier. What has been under-appreciated in Atlantic Canada is that IBM has invested heavily in its cybersecurity team in Fredericton, doubling its staff there, and Sandy Bird, the Q1 Labs Chief Technology Officer, is now the CTO for IBM’s global cybersecurity unit. From his base in Fredericton, he oversees 20 major R&D labs around the world.

“Cybersecurity over the last 15 years has gone through several cycles,” Bird said in an interview last week. “At the time of the acquisition, we were just entering this era of the cybersecurity world having an impact in the physical world. . . . All of a sudden, the rest of the world woke up to the impact of these of financial crimes. Big organizations were becoming the target for criminals.”

Bird said that since then there have been several waves of new threats entering the cybersphere, and cybersecurity professionals coming up with solutions. IBM’s QRadar platform — the heir of the Q1 Labs’ product — is a platform that allows the user to integrate more than 200 cybersecurity tools on a single interface. Five years after IBM closed the Q1 deal, QRadar still rates among the best in the world in Gartner’s assessment of the security field.

“You always reinvent yourself in security every few years, and one of the things we were really good at at Q1 Labs was keeping abreast of what was happening,” Bird said.

IBM’s growth in the Fredericton area has underpinned the provincial government’s efforts to make New Brunswick a centre of excellence in cybersecurity. Big Blue became the first research partner at the Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity, which opened earlier this year at University of New Brunswick with more than $4.5 million in funding. Fredericton-based Bulletproof opened a Security Operation Centre in February, immediately leading to the creation of 15 jobs. Other New Brunswick startups specializing in cybersecurity are coming along, such as Fredericton-based Sentrant Security Inc. and Saint John-based EhEye.

Not many people in the region realize there are Q1 Labs veterans who now sit on global cybersecurity standards boards, determining the standards for crime prevention around the world, Bird said.

He said the next phase of growth in the field will be to ensure the region can continue to train people to work in cybersecurity, starting with curricula at schools, colleges and universities. There are estimates there will be a global shortfall of 1.5 million cybersecurity professionals by 2019, which presents a huge opportunity for New Brunswick. Bird said the skills should be multi-disciplinary, like bringing in psychologists who can understand the thinking of cyber-criminals.

“There’s a huge, massive shortfall in cybersecurity skills in the workforce today,” he said. “We just need to grow more cybersecurity skill. We should be driving our world-class leadership and doing research that is relevant in the rest of the world.”

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New Holland College course created for culinary scientists

Canada's Smartest Kitchen at Holland College has helped develop a course designed to help people become certified culinary scientists.

Culinary scientists and research chefs bring food products to life — from concept to the grocery store shelf.

While training programs for research chefs teach science to people already trained as chefs, this program will bring in people with a science background, and give them culinary training, such as knife skills or principles of nutrition.

Emilee Sorrey, the kitchen's marketing and communications co-ordinator, said there is a need for the course because the failure rate for people writing the Certified Culinary Scientist exam is high.

'Training piece missing'

"There was clearly a training piece missing because all of these [culinary scientists] out there on their own, bringing their books home and trying to study on their own and then going and kind of writing the test, really without any proper training, or really able to cement those skills," she said.

Emilee Sorrey says culinary scientists usually have strong food science backgrounds, but not necessarily culinary skills. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

'Anywhere you see a food company there's probably a [culinary scientist] somewhere involved in the product pipeline.'- Emilee Sorrey

The course consists of online training and two five-day face-to-face training sessions at the Culinary Institute of Canada in Charlottetown.

Students can put the time they spend on the course toward their training hours requirement, Sorrey said.

The tuition fee is $8,000.

November courses

The next courses will be offered in November.

"Having this certification helps create better culinary solutions, it increases the product success rate, it decreases the time to market," Sorrey said.

"Anywhere you see a food company there's probably a research chef [or a culinary scientist] somewhere involved in the product pipeline."

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Dal Research to help farmers adopt clean technologies and practices receives $1.7M

Faculty of Agriculture researchers are well on their way to helping the Canadian farming sector become a world leader in the development and use of clean and sustainable agricultural technologies and practices.

On Friday, April 21, on the eve of Earth Day, Member of Parliament Bill Casey (Cumberland—Colchester) announced a $1.7 million investment to develop technologies, practices and processes that can be adopted by farmers to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

This project is among 20 projects being delivered through the $27 million Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program (AGGP), a science-based program to help the agricultural sector adjust to climate change and improve soil and water conservation by developing new farming practices and methods. It also will help farmers increase their understanding of GHG emissions.

“For decades, the Agricultural Campus has led the way in agricultural innovation and rural economic development,” Bill Casey, Member of Parliament for Cumberland-Colchester.  “Dalhousie’s Faculty of Agriculture continues its leadership in tackling climate change and now with this investment from our government into their valuable project, they will be able to do even more. This is good news for both farmers and the environment, which we all depend on to sustain our livelihoods.”

Success through partnership

Faculty members David Burton and Derek Lynch at the Faculty of Agriculture are working directly with the agricultural community to assess soil health, carbon storage capacity and soil nitrogen supply as a basis for greenhouse gas mitigation planning.

This research will go a long way to increase the resiliency of Atlantic Canadian soils to climate change and extreme weather events which will be of broad benefit to the agriculture sector across Canada.

“The Federal Government’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth recently released the Barton Report focussed on the growth potential of key sectors,” explained Dr. David Gray, dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and principal of the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus. 

“In this report, the Federal government aspires to global leadership in agri-food such that Canada will become the trusted global leader in safe, nutritious and sustainable food for the 21st century.  The Faculty of Agriculture is proud to work with our government toward this vision through our leading edge teaching and research.”

The new AGGP investments will continue to support the work of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, which brings together 47 countries to find ways to grow more food without growing greenhouse gas emissions.

“This funding provides a wonderful opportunity to work with the Atlantic agricultural industry and provincial partners to improve our understanding of which soil, fertility and crop management approaches best contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation,” explained Dr. Lynch.  “It also provides for a unique soil health laboratory facility and helps us train the next generation of researchers in soil science and agronomy, to contribute to these important goals.”

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Venture for Canada Launches in NB

Venture for Canada, the program that matches leading Canadian graduates to jobs in the country’s startups, will announce its launch in New Brunswick on Tuesday.

The organization will hold a launch event, open to the public, at Planet Hatch in Fredericton at noon tomorrow. Tech evangelist David Alston and Chinova Bioworks CEO Natasha Dhayagude (a former Venture for Canada fellow) will be the special guests at the event.

Venture for Canada, or VFC, each year selects fellows from among the leading graduates at Canadian universities and matches them with startups that need talent. The application process for VFC is rigorous, consisting of essays, transcripts, resumes and interviews. The VFC website cites intelligence, character, founder potential, ability to contribute and grit as the characteristics required of VFC fellows.

Fellows attend a four-week training camp at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., where they become versed in subjects such as management practices, social entrepreneurship, family business, communications, sales strategies and conflict resolution. In the 2016-2017 Fellowship cohort, just over 60 fellows were chosen from among nearly 2,200 applicants. More than one-third of the successful candidates will be placed at Atlantic Canadian start-ups.

Sabrina Poirier, the Program Director for Atlantic Canada, posted on Facebook last week that this will be the first year that the program will be in New Brunswick, “so we want to celebrate with the many wonderful people, organizations and startups who've supported us along the way.”

The event will offer a chance to meet Founder and Executive Director Scott Stirrett, Program Coordinator in New Brunswick Kassi Clifford, and the 2017 fellows who have just been chosen for New Brunswick.

The New Brunswick event comes as VFC learned last week that it would receive $202,959 in funding from the federal government. It provided the funding through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Business Development Program (BDP).

"As a proud Nova Scotian, it has been wonderful to see the Venture for Canada program expand in Atlantic Canada,” said Stirrett in a statement. “It is fantastic to see the tremendous growth of entrepreneurship in the region and we are honored to work with amazing community partners and high growth start-ups.”

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Spark Zone Hits Its Stride

One snowy evening last month, the Spark Zone finally got a chance to show what it had been up to in the past year or two.

The entrepreneurship group hosted its New Product Competition finals at Saint Mary’s University, showcasing three student-led companies it has been working with for the past few months. What was notable was the quality of the presenting companies. It wasn’t just that the pitches were good; it was that all the products were based on novel ideas and showed clear and credible plans to get to market.

“We are starting to hit our stride and we’re getting a better feel for what we can do for people,” Jason Turner, the manager of the Spark Zone, said in an interview. “We’ve been at it now for three years and . . . it’s taken us a few years to learn what it all looks like. Do we want the things here at SMU that they want at the Atlantic School of Theology? Does NSCC want the same thing as NSCAD?”

The Spark Zone is one of Nova Scotia’s “sandboxes,” which are groups funded by the provincial government in which various post-secondary institutions can work together to nurture entrepreneurs. The Spark Zone is a collaboration between SMU, Mount Saint Vincent University, Nova Scotia Community College, NSCAD University and the Atlantic School of Theology. (The AST has been using its membership to learn how the institution and its students can use technology more effectively.)

The sandbox recently teamed up with the David Sobey Centre for Innovation in Retailing and Services at SMU to host the New Product Competition — a contest for teams producing a product to help retailers.

The winner of the $10,000 first prize was Blue Shell, which has designed a sort of anti-theft device that also tells consumers about the product they’re thinking of buying. The product is a plastic object that clips onto a garment in a shop and sounds an alarm if someone tries to remove the clothing from the shop. What’s new about this product is that the shopper can also zap it with a smartphone to find out information or learn of a special sale. It helps retailers move more product, and it could provide data that would help sales.

The runner-up was a company called Dou It Fresh, which we reported on a few weeks ago. The third-place company was Smart Cart, which has big ambitions but suffered in the judging because it hasn’t built a prototype yet. The team has designed shopping cart handles that can take biometric readings from the hands of the person pushing the cart. That means that they can chart the emotions of a shopper as he or she pushes the cart through the supermarket, and that produces data on what the public likes or dislikes in the shop.

The Spark Zone is helping these companies to grow and is involved in a range of other related activities as well. It works closely with Sobey School Business Development Centre and with Saint Mary’s Enactus organization, part of an international group that encourages social entrepreneurship.

Turner said the Spark Zone has a lot of fuzzy borders, its work blending with a number of institutions and groups whose work overlaps with its own.

“That is the meat on the bone for us,” said Turner. “We don’t have a big number of startups but we’re doing a lot. We are less focused on startups than we are on idea generation.”

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Boost for Nova Scotia tidal

Two Nova Scotia tidal projects have received a combined C$200,000 funding to develop novel environmental monitoring technologies.

Open Seas Instrumentation of Musquodoboit Harbour was awarded $135,000 and JASCO Applied Sciences of Dartmouth received $65,000 in funding with the combined C$300,000 balance of research costs sourced from partner contributions.

The projects were selected for funding through a joint research competition sponsored by the Offshore Energy Research Association (OERA) of Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia Department of Energy and INNOVACORP.

The Open Seas project focuses on the redesign of a subsea platform for monitoring movement and behaviour of marine life close to the turbine.

The redesign integrates an adjustable structure into the FORCE FAST-2 (Fundy Advanced Sensor Technology) platform so that sensors can collect data from a wide range of viewing perspectives including the face of the turbine. 

Project partners are the Nova Scotia Community College, Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy, Acadia University, DSA, and Ocean Moor Technical Services. 

Testing will take place in the Minas Passage with project completion set for June 2017.

The JASCO project will develop a long-term monitoring program to measure how sound propagates in turbulent waters so we can better understand how these conditions impact on the ability to acoustically detect marine life. 

Researchers will also estimate for different marine organisms, their ability to audibly detect turbines in turbulent waters.  The proposed work will involve the novel integration of different hydrophones and sensor technologies, with testing to be conducted in the Bay of Fundy.

Project partners are Dalhousie University and Luna Ocean Consulting.  Project completion is set for August 2018.

“The key to developing a sustainable and successful tidal energy industry in Nova Scotia is understanding how turbines interact with the environment in the Bay of Fundy,” said OERA executive director Stephen Dempsey.

“These research projects will not only help us enhance how we monitor the environment near an operating turbine, but is expected to bring technology innovation to the sector, that is developed here and exported abroad.”

Read the Entrevestor article here.

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Briefs: Deacon, Dal, Appili, CarbonCure

Startup Zone Names Deacon as Entrepreneur-in-Residence

Startup Zone, the startup hub in downtown Charlottetown, has announced that Colin Deacon will be joining the Startup Zone team as Entrepreneur-in-Residence. Deacon brings years of experience and know-how from investment, venture capital, and business building, said the organization in a statement. Deacon is the Founder of BlueLight Analytics Inc., a dental technology company based in Halifax. It sells scientific equipment and data services to universities and dental manufacturers in more than 20 countries, as well as large international contracts that increase the success of dental sales teams. Previously, he helped build Canada’s largest health research venture capital fund, Canadian Medical Discoveries Fund Inc. He was part of the team that grew SpellRead Inc. from a single founder-run Charlottetown location to a fast-growing company with a scalable program delivering consistent results across 200 individual sites in North America.

Appili Lands Irap Funds

Appili Therapeutics Inc., an anti-infective drug development company, announced that it will receive an additional $400,000 from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP), bringing IRAP support for this project to a total of up to $759,000. This funding supports the development of ATI-1503, an antibiotic targeting drug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria, including Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobactor baumannii, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. These superbugs cause potentially deadly infections, including pneumonia and blood infections. “Doctors are fast running out of treatment options and IRAP funding is an important part of our financial strategy for helping Appili develop a new antibiotic that can treat these deadly diseases,” said Kimberly Stephens, CFO of Appili Therapeutics. ATI-1503 is a synthetic version of the naturally occurring Negamycin antibiotic. Using IRAP funding, Appili’s expert drug development team will employ advanced X-ray crystallography to visualize the exact structure of ATI-1503 binding to the bacterial target.

Dalhousie Holds Pitching Event Tomorrow

Launch Dal, the entrepreneurial hub at Dalhousie University, is moving from its winter programming into the summer offering. On Thursday, the group will host the Collide Pitch Competition at 6pm in the Collider, on the second floor of the Killam Library. Since January, participants in the Collide program have been working on their pitches through workshops, pitch nights and networking events. The five teams will present their final pitches to a panel of judges for their chance to win prize money for their ventures. Launch Dal also announced that it has extended the deadline to its 100K Competition to Friday, April 28 at 5pm. Ten teams will have the opportunity to spend the summer in Launch Dal’s summer accelerator and receive $10,000 each in development funding. Applications are available here.  

CarbonCure Partner Wins Award

Ozinga and CarbonCure Technologies have announced that Ozinga is the winner of the 12th Annual Illinois Emerald Award for Green Building Innovation for its work with Halifax-based CarbonCure. The U.S. Green Building Council-Illinois (USGBC-Illinois) announced the winners of the Emerald Awards, which showcase the best and brightest contributors to a more sustainably built environment by recognizing outstanding individuals, organizations, projects and technologies. Ozinga is a fourth-generation family-owned American business providing ready mix concrete products to Chicago and the surrounding area since 1928. Ozinga installed CarbonCure's technology, which uses waste carbon dioxide to cure concrete, at its Chicago Chinatown plant in September 2016. Following extensive testing, Ozinga has been using the technology to optimize its carbon footprint.

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MTI Raises $8.3M, Led by Radar

Metamaterial Technologies Inc., the Halifax company that makes artificial materials that can alter light, has closed an $8.3 million round of funding, led by Toronto-based venture capital fund Radar Capital Inc.

Metamaterials is a prime example of how the right support at the right time coupled with hard work and leadership from good entrepreneurs and worldclass researchers can build a big company in a small pond. George Palikaras and his partners make a strong team. One that understands the opportunities available in Atlantic Canada such as world-class research and development opportunities, and a strong support network of funders and bridging organizations who work together to support companies just like this. The University of New Brunswick's Office of Research Services, was there at the beginning of Metamaterials development and helped the team to understand the eco-system and the tremendous support available. Thanks to this early support Metamaterials has harnessed those resources in order to continue springboarding forward. Catching the attention of Radar Capital with their strong team, good traction, and world class tech. It's exciting to see Radar investing in Atlantic Canada in a big way and we look forward to a continued trend of new investors discovering the amazing things lighting up in Atlantic Canada. 

MTI company said that Radar Capital, investing in Atlantic Canada for the first time, accounted for almost half the funding round. The other backers were Innovacorp and angel investors, including members of the First Angel Network.

MTI has developed metamaterials, or compounds not found in nature, that can filter, absorb or reflect light in certain ways. Its first commercial project is MetaAir, a see-through screen that filters out laser attacks on aircraft. In February, MTI and European aircraft maker Airbus announced they would proceed with the commercial production of MetaAir, manufacturing it in Halifax.

“The main point of this new capital is to support the commercialization of our first product,” said Metamaterial Technologies CEO George Palikaras in an interview. “And we also need to put the right people in place – there are still a few gaps in our staff.”

Palikaras said the company began to work on this round of funding last summer and soon drew the interest of Radar, which decided to lead the round. He added that MTI, which has raised about $15 million since its inception, believes it won’t have to raise VC investment again. If it meets its targets, MTI should be cash-flow positive in calendar 2018, he said.  

“MTI is a world leader in metamaterials and is at a stage of development where Radar’s investment can propel MTI to commercialization,” said Radar President and CEO Mark Lerohl in a statement. “We invest in companies looking for growth equity to access international markets while building towards a liquidity event for investors.”

Added Charles Baxter, vice president of investment at Innovacorp: “MTI continues to demonstrate the world-class capabilities of its technology platform as it commercializes its laser-protection solution for the aviation industry. We are confident in MTI’s ability to address significant challenges in many other verticals."

The big challenge that MTI has faced with MetaAir is to produce the screens in commercial volumes that are large enough to fit over an airplane windshield. Palikaras said the company can now produce the MetaAir sheets that are 80 centimetres wide and 100 metres long – which means they can be easily cut to fit over the standard 60-centimetre-wide cockpit window.

The company can produce them now through a semi-automated procedure, and the task before MTI is to evolve to a completely automated process, he added.

MTI now operates out of the Innovacorp Technology Innovation Centre in Dartmouth, but its staff has doubled to 30 people since last summer so it is now looking for a new headquarters.

In the longer term, MTI is in the research and development stage of two other product lines. MetaAir is a product that filters light, but the company’s technology can also absorb light and reflect light. MTI is working on finding major industrial partners to help with the development of products using these technologies.

Meanwhile, it looks forward to bringing MetaAir to market in the near future.

“What we do know is that our product is different than anything else that’s available on the market,” said Palikaras. “And the threat of laser strikes is only increasing so we’re quite optimistic about our prospects.”

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ICYMI: BioFuels are Having a Moment

NASA has been carrying out some very interesting studies under the ACCESS (Alternative Fuel Effects on Contrails and Cruise Emissions Study) project in conjunction with NRC and DLR.  This research has focused on the positive impacts of blending biofuels with jet fuel to reduce soot particle emissions, as an interim step to the full use of biofuels in the aviation industry, and also to justify the use of bio only fuels in the next generation of NASA "X" planes.

The NASA press release, about the outcomes from ACCESS, is here.  This was issued to coincide with the publication of the associated research paper in Nature on 17th March 2017 - the synopsis for which is here.

The conclusions are highly positive about the adoption of blended fuels. However, there is now a need to build the research case for widespread commercial adoption of systems and adoption of technology and capabilities:

"While the promising results may suggest it would be logical to only use biofuels, Dr. Moore said a number of engineering and infrastructural limitations, including some jet engines needing a certain quota of traditional jet fuel to function safely, meant that wasn't currently possible."

There is a high concentration of research being conducted in biofuels being done in Atlantic Canada. This is a great opportunity given the international interest in this space to align the region to pursue large scale projects with the CARIC project model.

The best opportunity of assembling this type of team is also about to present itself in the form of the CARIC National Research Forum being held August 2017 in Vancouver. Where green energy will be one of the 4 strategic themes of the forum. 

There are some key alignments that can be made in order to identify focused and relevant end-user defined research, in order to overcome issues of widespread biofuel adoption in the aerospace sector.  Many of these research themes may be eligible for funding through CARIC programs.

The prominence of green energy research, and ability to present to a globally recognized research and innovation forum, with an audience of technocrats from the world's leading aerospace companies is a highly unique opportunity. 

Register here for the webinars about preparing and submitting project ideas for consideration and possible presentation at the event.

To explore this opportunity further, give Duncan McSporran, CARIC Atlantic Regional Director a call. 

UPEI assistant prof gets over $460,000 to set up muscle research lab

With these funds from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and the UPEI Research Services, Dr. Johnston will be able to continue his research on tissue adaptation and repair following injury through studying how to control stem cell activity and state of the art equipment.

“This generous investment will greatly enhance my research capability and provide me the opportunity to establish the UPEI Skeletal Muscle Health and Adaptation Research Laboratory,” said Johnston. “This laboratory, the only of its kind in Atlantic Canada, will be dedicated to excellence in research, training of highly qualified individuals, and fostering academic and industry collaborations.”

“The Skeletal Muscle Health and Adaptation Research Laboratory is the latest addition to the significant research capacity at the University of Prince Edward Island,” said MP for Charlottetown Sean Casey. “I’m proud to see this unique research happening right here in P.E.I., supporting our province’s growing biosciences sector.”

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3 Atlantic Aerospace Startups are #Springboarding to the Stars

Three startup companies linked to members of the Springboard network have been selected as three of the ten global finalists for the Starburst Accelerator competition.

Starburst is the first start-up accelerator dedicated to the Aerospace & Defense industry, and provides support to start-ups seeking to develop their activities in the aeronautics, defense and space markets. The program links start-ups with a wide network of industry players and partner companies around the world to accelerate the development of breakthrough innovations.

Atlantic Canadian Companies QRA, Envenio and Agile Sensors were nominated as part of the global search for cutting edge capabilities to solve the technological challenges facing the aerospace industry.  The event is being hosted for 2017 in the global aerospace hub of Montreal. The significance of their selection is evident in the broad span of the technologies and capabilities that the three companies have developed, and the immense amount of interest being shown in their development by some of the biggest names in aerospace, including Lockheed Martin and Bombardier.

We are very proud to see these companies #springboarding forward. All three have strong ties to the Springboard network and have been supported by the Atlantic innovation ecosystem as they have grown to where they are now - at the front of an exciting field of aerospace innovators in a highly competitive business sector. 

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Local Speakers Shine at Amplify

The Amplify Growth Conference in Halifax Tuesday displayed something that’s becoming more common in startup events in Atlantic Canada: When the local speakers took the stage, they were generally as impressive as the experts flown in from the U.S.

Amplify focused on growth marketing — the process by which small companies efficiently reach huge numbers of people and convert as many as possible to paying customers. Global pioneers in the movement, like keynote speaker GrowthHackers CEO Sean Ellis, delivered tremendous insights on state-of-the-art online marketing to attendees at Pier 21.

In the middle of it, five experts from the region told their tales of hacking growth, and they meshed in seamlessly with the visitors from Silicon Valley — both in the quality of their presentations and the methodology they employed.

“I think there’s a big opportunity for people to be more sophisticated in the sales development space,” said Thomas Rankin, CEO of Dash Hudson, one of the local presenters.

Rankin and the other execs outlined the tactics they had used to “hack growth.” In the case of Halifax-based Dash Hudson, which provides analytics of social media reach for such industries as fashion and publishing, the company has developed a process for reaching new clients.

Interns cultivate lists of potential clients, who are emailed by sales development reps. Account execs, whose signatures are on the emails, follow up with introductory calls. And they always demo the Dash Hudson product.

“We always try to show our product to people, even if they’re kind of noncommittal, because our product is really kickass,” said Rankin.

Ardi Iranmanesh, a co-founder of Halifax-based Affinio, said his company tested a range of processes until finally deciding to use its own product, which identifies communities of individuals with complementary interests. Using Affinio’s technology, the company was able to identify potential clients and then use a range of techniques to contact them and convert them to clients.

“We identified our tribe,” he said. “And the lesson we learned is to never stop testing. We run inbound and outbound (marketing) in partnership.”

Matt Stewart, co-founder of Halifax’s Swept, said his company was challenged in growth hacks because it produces software for janitorial services, an industry group with a small digital footprint. It therefore strove to build up lists of potential clients, and found that some data providers had lists that were wildly out of date

“The problem is it’s really hard to come back from calling someone who’s been dead for seven years,” said Stewart.

The company found that it could build up a list through Yellow Pages and Yelp, and then use various processes to determine the quality of each lead.

One final Halifax company, Proposify, uses a “lead magnet” built right into its product to gain thousands of view a month and develop a group of 4,000 paying clients, said the company’s growth marketer Patrick Edmonds.

By lead magnet, he means offering something to potential clients that they can use and will make them view the product favourably. The key: The lead magnet has to demonstrate the value of the product that’s being sold.

One common thread that ran through all the presentations is that the companies arrived at their growth hacks after a painstaking process of trial and error.

“We’ve been hearing a lot about great growth hacks that work,” said Kate Johnson of Moncton-based Alongside. “What falls under the radar is how many failures there were to get to that point.”

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Saving whales, fighting cybercrime, putting out fires – all in a day’s work for Canada’s Tech Scene

Canada is a hub of innovation. From reducing killer ocean noise, to helping small businesses fight cybercrime, to developing a gelling agent that smothers fires up to 55% faster while using 60% less water – Canada is where it’s at for cutting-edge technologies, ground-breaking research, and top-notch talent.

The new publication Canadian Innovation News (CIN) outlines some of the ways that Canadian innovation is changing the world, and provides information on how you can connect and collaborate with the top researchers, innovators and organizations in Canada.The spring issue of CIN is focused on Atlantic Canada. Each quarterly publication will focus on a Canadian region while celebrating innovation from across Canada. 

Springboard Atlantic is proud to be a Content Partner for Canadian Innovation News and excited to share the spring issue with you, it's time to celebrate Atlantic Canada's cutting-edge research. So please, share the good news! 

Download the full issue for free now.

Articles include:

A global hub for ocean science is born

The Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI) in Canada is poised to become one of the world’s leading research efforts to understand the complex changes happening in the most vulnerable ocean regions, and find solutions to ensure their safe and sustainable development for future generations.

Atlantic Canada: Where cooperation is a competitive advantage

Universities and colleges in Atlantic Canada have discovered the secret to winning huge research mandates and partnerships with major multinationals like IBM, Siemens, Cisco, Royal DSM and Lockheed Martin. The secret? Compete less and cooperate more.

Meet Canada’s Cybercrime Fighters

Cybercrime costs the global economy about US$455 billion annually. One of the primary targets for these cybercrimes are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Learn how Canada is fighting back.

Getting started on a collaborative model of innovation

Throughout the year, curious executives and leaders from companies and governments from all over the world come to tour the Communitech Hub in Waterloo Region. Invariably, they are astounded by the mix of startups, mid-sized companies and large multinationals all working in the same building.

Bridging Canadian academic R&D with the biotherapeutics economy

How does one translate quality research from a thriving scientific environment into consumer products or technologies that hold tremendous benefits to the world? The Centre for the Commercialization of Antibodies and Biologics (CCAB) aims to achieve this goal in the field of biotherapeutics.

Interested in learning more? Contact Rebecca Melville by email or by phone +1-416-481-7070 ex 2.

Breakthru Awards a Combined $1.1 Million in Prizes to Four Atlantic Canadian Startups

NBIF held their much-anticipated Breakthru awards dinner at the Fredericton Convention Centre Thursday night, awarding a shared $1.1 million in prizes for the biennial startup competition to Newpy, Pfera, SomaDetect and WEnTechSolutions.

Product photography social app Newpy was award the national grand prize of $301,250 in cash investments and professional services.

The grand provincial prize of $374,250 was awarded to Fredericton-based biotech company Pfera, which uses a digital milk strip analysis tool designed to improve birth date predictions for horses.

Runners up in the provincial category were SomaDetect, a milk analysis system that uses light scattering technology to evaluate the quality of the milk and the health of the cow producing it; and WEnTech Solutions, a software system that allows project engineers to evaluate and recommend effective scenarios for waste-to-energy projects. The companies will take home a combined $180,000 in cash investments and professional services.

The winner of the Viewer’s Choice award, which includes a front-of-the-line Golden ticket to the April 1 Dragon’s Den audition in Toronto was Quber, a fintech app that lets people set savings goals and channel that money saved.

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