Spotlight on Industry Engagement

Federally funded research teams leverage their Compute Canada resources to attract industry partners and apply their research efforts towards generating solutions to complex industrial challenges. Medical researchers also use Compute Canada resources to directly address the health of Canadians. There are also benefits to Canadian culture through Compute Canada support of digital humanities research and to social policies through support of social science research. Through support of this research, Compute Canada takes part in training highly qualified personnel in fields as diverse as aerospace engineering and film/entertainment. The supported researchers are working closely with national and global industries across all sectors and a number of government agencies in Canada, Europe and the U.S.

In the last five years, Compute Canada investigators have reported 188 R&D collaborations with industry, 116 instances of technology transfer, 83 involvements in the creation of a start-up company, 183 technology product or process developments, and 102 instances of consultation with industry. As a cohort, Compute Canada faculty users have reported more than 2000 patents. Furthermore, more than 148 registered user groups have reported receiving funding from NSERC’s Collaborative Research and Development program which supports industry-relevant research by university researchers and their private-sector partners. From gaming giants like Canada’s Ubisoft to corporations like Telus and Ford Motor Company, researchers using Compute Canada resources reported more than 1000 corporate and public partnerships in Canada and around the world.

Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute
University of British Columbia

A Potential New Treatment for Prostate Cancer

Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and UBC:
Dr. Artem Cherkasov and Dr. Paul Rennie

A potential new treatment for prostate cancer was developed by researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute by utilizing advanced research computing. Developed by a research team led by Dr. Artem Cherkasov and Dr. Paul Rennie, the treatment is designed to outsmart cancer that has become resistant to current treatments. This new drug attacks a receptor that promotes tumour growth by binding itself to a specific piece of essential DNA. This means that mutations to escape binding would not be viable, offering hope that a drug designed to exploit it could be effective for a long time. “The success of our research program was effectively backed by the modern computing facilities provided by Compute Canada,” said Artem Cherkasov. “Using computer simulations, we sometimes go through 50 million compounds to find a molecule that will seat in a precise and accurate way.”

The breakthrough is now being licensed to the pharmaceutical company Roche. Under the terms of the agreement with Roche, UBC and VCHRI can expect to receive an upfront payment, and up to $141.7 million US in pre-clinical, clinical and sales milestone payments for the first product to reach the market, and royalties thereafter.

McGill University
Polytechnique Montréal

Designing the Next Generation of Commercial Aircraft

Mechanical Engineering, McGill and Polytechnique Montréal:
Dr. Siva Nadarajah and Dr. Eric Laurendeau

Dr. Siva Nadarajah's long-term objective is to facilitate the design of next generation commercial aircraft to meet future global aerodynamic performance requirements and accurately resolve far-field airframe acoustic signatures within a single numerical framework. Compute Canada infrastructure is used to perform three-dimensional Unsteady Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes calculations around complex aircraft geometries for problems with up to 100 million unknowns. In 2016, Professors Nadarajah and Laurendeau were awarded a prestigious NSERC CRD grant worth $650K to work closely with Bombardier Aerospace (BA), a prominent Canadian aerospace company, and Cray Inc., a manufacturer of specialized supercomputers, to develop the next generation of numerical tools for massively parallel high-fidelity computational fluid dynamics (CFD). This partnership will contribute to and advance the academic field of CFD for massive heterogeneous computing. The research will provide the Canadian aerospace and computing industries with valuable technical achievements, new opportunities that would strengthen the Canadian aerospace economy, and highly qualified personnel who would be valuable assets to the industry. The investment into the proposed project demonstrates BA's strong desire to remain competitive through research and development initiatives. The benefits for Canada's aerospace industry, third in the world behind the U.S. and Europe, will be significant.