Lab Canada

$18.3M to fund counter-terrorism science and tech projects

Ottawa, ON – Canada is investing $18.3 million in new projects by the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Research and Technology Initiative (CRTI). Of that sum, $15.9 million will go into research, technology acceleration and technology demonstration projects, and $2.4 million will be used to buy technology for federal laboratories

“This round of project funding will enhance Canada’s comprehensive preparedness against terrorist threats,” says Bill Graham, federal defence minister. “This initiative contributes to the government’s chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear strategy through a co-ordinated research and development approach with government, industry and international academia.”

The funding will support 12 new projects, as follows:

1. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada will lead a project with the Canadian Forest Service and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to develop fungal pathogen DNA reference databases and collections to counter bioterrorism against agriculture and forestry

2. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency will work with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the universities of Prince Edward Island, Guelph, Montreal and Saskatchewan; the governments of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Newfoundland; the Laboratoire d’pidmiosurveillance animal du Qubec; TDV Global; and Prairie Diagnostics to develop the Canadian Animal Health Surveillance Network

3. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency will lead a project with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Alberta Agriculture and Iowa State University to research safe composting methods for disposing of contaminated animal carcasses following a bio-terrorism attack

4. The National Research Council will work with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Defence R&D Canada – Suffield, and Ionalytics to research unique analytical technology for the rapid separation and identification of chemical and biological agents in food and consumer products

5. The RCMP will collaborate on a technology demonstration project with Defence R&D Canada – Suffield, Marathon Engineering and Magellan Engineering to field a container-piercing sampling and analysis apparatus for CBRN agents

6. The RCMP will work with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Natural Resources Canada, Defence R&D Canada – Ottawa, Carleton University, AMITA Corporation and CAM Emergency Preparedness to develop and demonstrate a CBRN and explosives incident database for real-time data exchange between national and international agencies

7. Health Canada’s Radiation Protection Bureau will work with the Public Health Agency of Canada and Environment Canada to develop the Canadian health integrated response platform, for rapid data assimilation, identification and distribution during a biological, radiological or nuclear terrorist event

8. Defence R&D Canada – Ottawa will lead a research project with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Bubble Technology Industries and the Joint Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Defence Company to develop an electronic neutron dosimeter that will meet both civilian and military standards

9. Med-Eng Systems will work with the RCMP and Defence R&D Canada to reconfigure the helmet of their chemical-biological protective suit to ensure that it does not emit at frequencies that would activate radio- controlled detonators.

10. Environment Canada will lead a team including the Public Health Agency of Canada, Defence R&D Canada, SAIC Canada, Allen-Vanguard and the US Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a field demonstration of advanced technologies for CBRN decontamination of buildings

11. Environment Canada will work with the Public Health Agency of Canada, Defence R&D Canada – Suffield, the University of Ottawa, the University of Leeds, SAIC Canada, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Russian Research Institute of Hygiene, Toxicology and Occupational Pathology to develop standards for chemical and biological decontamination of buildings and structures affected by terrorism

12. Defence R&D Canada – Ottawa will work with the RCMP, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Health Canada, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and SAIC Canada to enhance nuclear forensic response capabilities and interoperability.

CRTI is a $170-million, five-year interdepartmental initiative to enhance Canada’s capacity to deal with potential CBRN threats to public security.

Some of the projects that have already been completed from previous funding rounds include the development of equipment now ready for commercialization.

For example, Defence R&D Canada – Ottawa and its partners developed a new detector that can sense radiation without actually contacting it, thus permitting detection and characterization of hazards from outside a contaminated area. Another project team, led by the National Research Council, has achieved proof of novel concept with a nucleic acid biosensor with potential for detection and identification of bioterrorism agents, in medical triage applications, and for efficient diagnosis of infectious diseases. This project already has several patents pending.