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The supercluster will spent $40 million on seven projects over three years. It will use $15 million from the government’s supercluster funding, and $25 million raised from a consortium of academics and industry. The projects include a health and genomics data platform and the Earth Data Store, which will act as a data archive for information on resource projects. (Digital Technology Supercluster)

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Talking point: The Digital Technology Supercluster, which received $153 million from the federal government in December 2018, has been ahead of the others for awhile. This is the first time that a supercluster has publicly shared the funding breakdown for projects. The Digital Technology Supercluster was the first shortlisted applicant to share its full bid publicly. In September 2018, the B.C.-based supercluster told The Logic it would announce projects before any of the other superclusters and possibly as early as October depending on how negotiations went with the government.

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Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) hopes the five consortia of business, academic and non-profits will create 150 new firms and involve 100 larger “anchor” companies by March 31, 2023. The indicators were disclosed in the department’s 2021–2022 plan, released Tuesday. (The Logic)

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Talking point: The targets are overdue—ISED originally promised to release them in April 2019, and was aiming to hit them a year earlier than it’s now intending. The department and its expert review panel spent 2017–2018, the supercluster program’s first official year, evaluating applications, and so pushed back the timeline to ensure the winners had a full five years, said spokesperson Erika Zeroual. Statistics Canada will measure the number of new firms in the organizations local regions—the five are spread across the country—and industries, while ISED will use member lists to count anchor firms. Delays in finalizing the contracts between the department and the five new organizations also pushed back the flow of funding—the supercluster program spent just $5.6 million of its $244-million allocation in the 2018–2019 fiscal year, and the first of their projects were only announced in March 2019. With the negotiations and administrative setup work out of the way, ISED is looking further afield this year. The department plans to coordinate with other departments and agencies to support projects—as it does for individual companies through the Accelerated Growth Service—and put together an “international strategy to … extend the reach of superclusters beyond Canada.” It’s already signed an agreement to connect the program to a similar EU initiative.

This item has been updated with comment from ISED.

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The $4.2-million project will focus on developing a new and more efficient means of producing viral vectors, which use genetic material to treat late-stage cancers and rare or inherited genetic disorders in patients. The project aims to make Canada a leader in viral vector production and to help meet the rising global demand for such cell- and gene-therapy treatments by developing manufacturing solutions to increase doses, lower costs and shorten the production time needed.(The Logic)

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Talking point: This is the first project approved by the Next Generation Manufacturing (NGen) Supercluster, which was created as part of the federal government’s Innovation Supercluster Initiative, and the last supercluster to announce a project. The five winners of the initiative were selected in February 2018. In September 2018, The Logic reported that none of the $950 million in government funds had been issued. By the end of 2018, the federal government had signed agreements with each supercluster, allocating its funding: $230 million each to the Ontario-based NGen and Quebec-based SCALE.AI and $153 million each to the B.C.-based Digital Technology, Saskatchewan-based Protein Industries and Nova Scotia-based Ocean Superclusters. In March, the Digital Technology Supercluster announced its first cohort of seven projects, including a health and genomics data platform and predictive analytics for manufacturing processes. The Protein Industries Supercluster announced its first project, aimed at boosting crop values, in June, as did the Ocean Supercluster, with a project focused on seafloor mapping. And, in July, the AI Supercluster announced its first projects, applying AI models to solve issues in the retail, manufacturing, agriculture and transportation sectors.