Ensuring Canadian researchers are well equipped to tackle the pandemic

New funding for equipment and tools provides researchers the support necessary to do their jobs in trying times
November 6, 2020

OTTAWA, ONTARIO — As the global threat of COVID-19 remains ever present, Canadian researchers are working tirelessly to better understand and combat the virus. Whether developing a vaccine, learning about how COVID-19 affects the body or studying how the pandemic has influenced every aspect of our lives, Canada’s researchers rely on cutting-edge research infrastructure to do their work.

Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced close to $28 million in research infrastructure support through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) Exceptional Opportunities Fund. The funding, which covers the urgent need for equipment for ongoing research related to COVID-19, will support 79 projects at 52 universities and research hospitals, colleges, polytechnics and Cégeps across Canada.

This includes support for Dr. Mari DeMarco and her team at The University of British Columbia, who are researching how COVID-19 damages human lung and heart tissue. They are examining how the virus’ genetic code will affect the severity of the disease and developing new, innovative diagnostic tools that will easily detect the virus.

Other exceptional projects the CFI is supporting with research infrastructure funding include:

  • Researchers at Dalhousie University in Halifax will advance the development of new COVID-19 vaccines with upgrades to the affiliated IWK Health Centre’s containment level 3 facility. This will allow them to create models of COVID-19 to test the efficacy of vaccines, learn why people develop different degrees of severity of the disease, and produce new tests to tell at the earliest stages of infection who maybe hit the hardest.
  • At Cégep André-Laurendeau in LaSalle, researchers will use 3-D capture technology powered by artificial intelligence to monitor, in real time, the distance between people in public spaces, such as schools and shopping centres. This could help people maintain a safe distance from one another by displaying their locations on screens. It could also improve the layout of public spaces by finding areas where physical distancing is difficult.
  • With an enhanced ability to test raw sewage, researchers at the University of Windsor will do wide-scale COVID-19 screening of municipal wastewater to track community spread and detect the number of infections early.
  • Evidence shows that COVID-19 could be a vascular disease that affects blood vessels. A research team at the University of Calgary will use a new, state-of-the-art microscope — the only one in Canada that can look into lung blood vessels at a cellular level — to investigate the hypothesis.

Quotes

“Canadian researchers and scientists are helping to protect our health and safety and are key to finding our way out of the COVID-19 pandemic. With this funding through the Exceptional Opportunities Fund, the Government of Canada is ensuring these talented Canadians have the equipment and tools to support them in their very important work.”

- The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“Canadian researchers’ immediate response to the pandemic has demonstrated the research community’s crucial role in helping to resolve this crisis. Working to find a vaccine, to learn about how COVID-19 affects the human body, or to study how this pandemic has influenced every aspect of our lives, Canada’s researchers have taken centre stage as our guides and our source of hope. The CFI is proud to support their efforts by equipping them with the research infrastructure they need to further their significant work.”

- Roseann O’Reilly Runte, President and CEO, Canada Foundation for Innovation

Quick facts

  • Total funding is $27,617,017 for 79 projects at 52 institutions across the country.
  • The Exceptional Opportunities Fund is designed for those few instances when an exceptional research opportunity would be missed if a project had to wait to undergo the normal course of a national competition before a decision could be made.
  • In response to the current pandemic, the CFI launched EOF–COVID-19 competitions for universities, research hospitals, and colleges, polytechnics and Cégeps with the objective of supporting urgent needs for equipment for ongoing research related to COVID-19.
  • As an exception to our usual competitions, the CFI is covering up to 100 percent of the eligible costs of a project.

Quick links

Canada Foundation for Innovation
Exceptional Opportunities Fund
Stories: Canadian COVID-19 research gives us new tools to tackle a pandemic
The CFI Research Facilities Navigator: An online database of labs and facilities that are open to working with business

Discover other ways the CFI is contributing to COVID-19 research

Canada joins global effort to fight pandemic
Prime Minister announces additional funding to support COVID-19 research
Research in a time of pandemic: hear how researchers are answering the call to help during the COVID-19 pandemic

About the Canada Foundation for Innovation

For more than 20 years, the CFI has been giving researchers the tools they need to think big and innovate. Fostering a robust innovation system in Canada translates into jobs and new enterprises, better health, cleaner environments and, ultimately, vibrant communities. By investing in state-of-the-art facilities and equipment in Canada’s universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research institutions, the CFI also helps to attract and retain the world’s top talent, to train the next generation of researchers and to support world-class research that strengthens the economy and improves the quality of life for all Canadians.

Related products

A full list of the funded projects and stories about the facilities we fund are available online at Innovation.ca. For updates, follow us on Twitter @InnovationCA and subscribe to our YouTube channel for videos about the CFI and its many transformative research projects.

Contacts

Malorie Bertrand
Media Relations and Social Media Specialist
Canada Foundation for Innovation
C: 613-227-0198
malorie.bertrand [at] innovation.ca

Media Relations
Innovation, Science, and Economic
Development Canada
O: 343-291-1777
ic.mediarelations-mediasrelations.ic [at] canada.ca

John Power

Press Secretary

Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

O: 343-550-1456

john.power [at] canada.ca

Exceptional Opportunities Fund – COVID-19
Fonds des occasions exceptionnelles ‒ COVID-19

Projects Approved / Projets appuyés

 

Brock University

1

Campus Notre-Dame-de-Foy

1

Carleton University

1

Cégep André-Laurendeau

1

Cégep de La Pocatière

1

Cégep de Lévis-Lauzon

1

Cégep de Saint-Hyacinthe

1

Cégep de Saint-Laurent

1

Cégep de Sept-Îles

1

Cégep de Shawinigan

1

Cégep de Thetford

1

Cégep de Trois-Rivières

1

Cégep Édouard-Montpetit

1

Cégep Marie-Victorin

1

Collège Ahuntsic

1

College of New Caledonia

1

Concordia University

1

Conestoga College Institute of Technology

1

Dalhousie University

1

École Polytechnique de Montréal

1

Fanshawe College

1

Georgian College of Applied Arts & Technology

1

Justice Institute of British Columbia

1

La Cité Collégiale

1

Lambton College

1

Laurentian University / Université Laurentienne

1

McGill University

5

McMaster University

1

Niagara College

1

Ryerson University

2

Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning

1

Simon Fraser University

4

Sir Sandford Fleming College

1

Université de Montréal

5

Université de Sherbrooke

1

Université du Québec à Chicoutimi

1

Université du Québec à Montréal

1

Université Laval

1

University of Alberta

6

University of British Columbia (The)

5

University of Calgary

3

University of Lethbridge

1

University of Manitoba

1

University of New Brunswick

1

University of Ottawa / Université d’Ottawa

1

University of Regina

1

University of Saskatchewan

1

University of Toronto

2

University of Waterloo

3

University of Windsor

1

Wilfrid Laurier University

1

York University

2

Total Institutions / des établissements                    52

79

 

Project Title / Titre du projet

Maximum CFI Contribution /
Contribution maximale
de la FCI

Brock University

High Molecular & Cellular Resolution Infrastructure for Brock's CL3 Lab

$200,000

1 project / projet

$200,000

Campus Notre-Dame-de-Foy

Observation du travail des premiers répondants en gestion de crise pandémique

20 421 $

1 projet / project

20 421 $

Carleton University

Infrastructure for Research on the Molecular Biology of SARS-CoV-2

$250,000

1 project / projet

$250,000

Cégep André-Laurendeau

Déploiement d'un système intelligent de détection en temps réel de la distanciation sociale

50 000 $

1 projet / project

50 000 $

Cégep de La Pocatière

Extraction et quantification de molécules d’intérêt liées à la COVID-19 exprimées transitoire chez Nicotiana benthamiana

50 000 $

1 projet / project

50 000 $

Cégep de Lévis-Lauzon

Sécuriser la continuité des services de santé en contexte de COVID-19 par la robotique mobile et intelligente

50 000 $

1 projet / project

50 000 $

Cégep de Saint-Hyacinthe

Mise en place des essais d’évaluation pour les équipements de protection sanitaire textile contre le COVID-19

50 000 $

1 projet / project

50 000 $

Cégep de Saint-Laurent

Systèmes d'échantillonnages automatiques des eaux usées pour la mesure de la COVID-19

49 998 $

1 projet / project

49 998 $

Cégep de Sept-Îles

Développement et conception d'une station sanitaire autonome «verte 4.0» à l'ère de COVID-19

49 752 $

1 projet / project

49 752 $

Cégep de Shawinigan

Acquisition d’équipements afin d’accroître la production de protéines personnalisées en lien avec la COVID-19

44 236 $

1 projet / project

44 236 $

Cégep de Thetford

Acquisition de capacité de chromatographie flash

50 000 $

1 projet / project

50 000 $

Cégep de Trois-Rivières

Consolidation de la capacité de recherche pour la lutte à la Covid-19

50 000 $

1 projet / project

50 000 $

Cégep Édouard-Montpetit

Développement de méthodes d'application de revêtements antimicrobiens et de désinfection de pièces imprimées 3D

49 959 $

1 projet / project

49 959 $

Cégep Marie-Victorin

Acquisition d'infrastructure de test pour l'innovation, le développement et la validation d'EPI liés à la COVID19

49 750 $

1 projet / project

49 750 $

Collège Ahuntsic

Acquisition d'une hotte pour la formulation d'encres anti pathogènes à base de nanoparticules et solvants

47 332 $

1 projet / project

47 332 $

College of New Caledonia

Virtual Reality Platform to Support Innovative Wellness Services for Students in the Context of Covid-19

$42,197

1 projet / project

$42,197

Concordia University

Development of Machine Learning and Imaging Techniques for Diagnosis of COVID-19 with Ultrasound

$275,541

1 projet / project

$275,541

Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning

Empowering the Frontline Workforce to Combat COVID-19: Infrastructure to Cultivate a Community of Practice

$50,000

1 projet / project

$50,000

Dalhousie University

Development of Preclinical and Clinical Models of COVID-19 Disease for Vaccine, Antiviral and Immunotherapeutic Testing

$1,200,000

1 project / projet

$1,200,000

École Polytechnique de Montréal

Biofluid Characterization Platform using Raman Spectroscopy for the Development of a Rapid On-site COVID-19 Saliva Test

346 901 $

1 projet / project

346 901 $

Fanshawe College

Immune Response to COVID-19

$47,310

1 project / projet

$47,310

Georgian College of Applied Arts & Technology

360 PREVENTIX-M: A Mobile Station for On-site Monitoring in Response to Covid-19

$33,476

1 project / projet

$33,476

Justice Institute of British Columbia

Praxis and COVID-19: New Features and Scenarios in Scenario Based Simulation Program for COVID-19 Applied Research

$50,000

1 project / projet

$50,000

La Cité collégiale

Établissement d'une plateforme de filtration pour mesurer l’efficacité des matériaux de masques biomédicaux

35 933 $

1 projet / project

35 933 $

Lambton College

COVID-19 Research Support Equipment

$50,000

1 project / projet

$50,000

Laurentian University / Université Laurentienne

Fluorometer and Microplate Reader System for the Development of Assays Targeting the SARS-CoV2 Main Protease

$200,000

1 project / projet

$200,000

McGill University

Infrastructure for the Biobanque Québec COVID19: An Open Science Platform for Canadian COVID19 Research

282 251 $

Single Molecule Fluorescence Infrastructure for Biophysical Studies on SARS-CoV-2 Viral Genome-replication Machinery

209 015 $

Intensification of Production Process for COVID-19 Recombinant Vaccine Candidates

434 932 $

Containment Level 3 Lab Capacity to Support Research on Preventives and Therapeutics for COVID-19

1 060 682 $

High Throughput SARS-CoV-2 Genome Sequencing at the McGill Genome Center

551 077 $

5 projets / projects

2 537 957 $

McMaster University

Detecting and Managing SARS-CoV-2

$1,475,000

1 project / projet

$1,475,000

Niagara College

Inclusive Biomedically Compatible COVID-19 Device Design, Manufacturing, and Distribution

$49,890

1 project / projet

$49,890

Ryerson University

Automated Microscopy for the Identification of Drug Targets and Validation of Drug Repurposing Candidates for COVID-19

$200,000

Quantum Dots for Point-of-care Rapid Diagnosis of COVID-19

$200,000

2 projects / projets

$400,000

Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning

Towards Efficient and Effective Remote Health Monitoring during COVID-19

$39,307

1 project / projet

$39,307

Simon Fraser University

Supercharging BC's SARS-CoV-2 Translational COVID-19 Research Programme to Improve Diagnostics, Prevention and Treatment

$370,000

Instrumentation for High-throughput Synthesis and Purification of Anti-COVID19 Nucleoside Analogue Therapeutics

$315,000

Optimization of Inhibitors of Key Enzymes in COVID-19 and other Targets in Cancer

$200,000

Biolayer Interferometry and Luminometry Systems to Strengthen SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Research

$215,000

4 projects / projets

$1,100,000

Sir Sandford Fleming College

COVID-19 Surveillance: Early Warning and Detection Technology Development

$50,000

1 project / projet

$50,000

Université de Montréal

Multimedia and Artificial Intelligence Infrastructure to Counteract Pandemic Related Social Isolation in Long Term Care

200 000 $

In-depth Characterization of the SARSCoV-2-specific B and T Cell Responses During and after COVID-19 Disease

698 763 $

CL-3 Laboratory for the Study and Exploitation of the Innate Immune Response in the Fight Against SARS-CoV-2

224 967 $

Development of Therapeutics Against and Rapid Homogeneous Assays for SARS CoV-2 Based on Recombinant Antibodies

261 559 $

COHESION - A Pan-Canadian Longitudinal Data Collection and Data Visualisation Infrastructure

200 000 $

5 projets / projects

1 585 289 $

Université de Sherbrooke

National Platform for Robotized Multiviral RNA Detection and Strain Identification

330 932 $

1 projet / project

330 932 $

Université du Québec à Chicoutimi

Infrastructure pour l'identification d'un profil génétique et microbien de risqué pour la COVID-19

200 000 $

1 projet / project

200 000 $

Université du Québec à Montréal

SARS-CoV-2: Immunization Strategies to Enhance Protective Immunity and Identification of Viral Entry Inhibitors

500 000 $

1 projet / project

500 000 $

Université Laval

Seeking for Innovative Approaches in Prevention and Cure to COVID-19 Disease

905 498 $

1 projet / project

905 498 $

University of Alberta

Targeting−1 Programmed Ribosomal Frameshifting to Develop Therapeutics for COVID-19 and Future Novel Coronavirus Disease

$329,362

Development of Antiviral Therapeutic Agents for Treatment of Acute COVID-19 in Humans

$554,770

Examination of Airborne Pathogens during COVID-19: Development of Face Mask, Respirator & Ventilation Control Strategies

$508,755

Infrastructure for the Development of Rapid Nucleic Acid and Antibody Detection Device for COVID-19

$227,473

SARS-CoV-2 Polymerase Inhibitors for the Treatment of Covid-19

$511,500

ABO and COVID-19: Exploring the Connection Between Blood Group and SARS-CoV-2 Infection

$668,140

6 projects / projets

$2,800,000

University of British Columbia (The)

The ABCD Consortium (“Accelerating Blood and Cardiopulmonary COVID-19 Diagnostics”)

$502,600

Expanding COVID19 Structure-based Therapeutic Development at UBC Through Enhanced CryoEM and CryoET Data Acquisition

$1,225,000

Preparing for the Next Wave: Technology to Detect and Analyze SARS-CoV-2

$377,738

Linking Transmission Metadata to Viral Genotype and Serological Response of COVID-19

$630,000

Assessing the Effect of Aerosol and Droplet Control Measures in Indoor Spaces

$250,000

5 projects / projets

$2,985,338

University of Calgary

Imaging Animal Lungs and Human Lung Organoids in Level 3 Facility

$1,007,277

Quantification of SARS-CoV-2 Viral Load in Clinical and Environmental Samples

$244,524

Wastewater Surveillance of SARSCOV2 to Enable Real-time Clinical Case Finding in Calgary

$298,199

3 projects / projets

$1,550,000

University of Lethbridge

Towards Building Structure-based Drug Design Suite

$200,000

1 project / projet

$200,000

University of Manitoba

Acquisition of a Direct Electron Detector to Enhance the New TALOS F200C Cryo-EM

$950,000

1 project / projet

$950,000

University of New Brunswick

University of New Brunswick Long-term Care Simulation Lab

$200,000

1 project / projet

$200,000

University of Ottawa / Université d’Ottawa

Increasing Manufacturing Capacity for Novel SARS-CoV2 Therapies and Vaccines

$1,050,000

1 project / projet

$1,050,000

University of Regina

Peptide Therapeutics and Point-of-care Salivary Diagnostics for SARS-CoV-2

$200,000

1 project / projet

$200,000

University of Saskatchewan

Computerized Tomography for Assessment of COVID-19 Associated Pathologies

$300,000

1 project / projet

$300,000

University of Toronto

Characterizing the Inflammatory and Cardiac Effects of COVID-19

$950,000

University of Toronto COVID-19 Biobank

$1,500,000

2 projects / projets

$2,450,000

University of Waterloo

Synthesis of Chromogenic Substrates and Inhibitors of SARS CoV-2 Main Protease to Overcome COVID19 Infections

$251,000

Advanced Engineering Processes and Materials to Produce Compostable Masks and Antimicrobial Coatings for PPE

$800,000

Wastewater Surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 to Support Public Health Assessment of Trends in Community Infection

$314,000

3 projects / projets

$1,365,000

University of Windsor

Building Capacity in Support of Wastewater-based Epidemiology to Aid Public Health Decision-making

$300,000

1 project / projet

$300,000

Wilfrid Laurier University

Seizing the COVID-19 Lockdown: Equipment for Air Quality and Analysis of Atmospheric Particles near Kitchener Schools

$200,000

1 project / projet

$200,000

York University

Development of Rapid and Accessible Diagnostics of COVID-19 using Small-molecule Probes Binding SARS-COV-2 Coat Proteins

$225,000

Agile AI-powered Autonomous Robotics for COVID-19 Disinfection

$275,000

2 projects / projets

$500,000