Lab Canada

$20.6M earmarked for counter-terrorism science and technology

Ottawa, ON – April 27, 2004 – Funding valued at $20.6 million is being invested in 24 new projects by the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Research & Technology Initiative (CRTI), a federal government initiative created to prepare for and respond to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats. Twelve research and technology projects will receive $18.4 million and twelve equipment-acquisition projects will receive $2.2 million.

“As CRTI is a targeted fund investing in critical research and technology areas, it is enhancing Canada’s preparedness against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats,” says the David Pratt, minister of national defence. “This initiative provides a truly comprehensive approach to increasing protection, detection and decontamination capabilities to improve the safety and security of Canadians.”

CRTI is an interdepartmental, $170 million, five-year initiative to enhance Canada’s capacity to deal with potential chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats to public security. CRTI and federal laboratories work together in a coordinated approach to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear emergencies. These labs partner with private-sector organizations and academia to increase the federal science and technology capability to respond to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.

The chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) research & technology initiative is the Canadian science and technology community’s contribution to national security with respect to CBRN terrorist threats. These projects will result in increased protection, detection and decontamination capabilities to improve the safety and security of Canadians.

Technology acceleration projects target the commercialization of technologies that are already in the pipeline to address key capacity gaps and facilitate their delivery into the hands of first responders. Research and technology development projects close the gaps in knowledge and capabilities of the science and technology and operational communities to enable effective response to future CBRN threats. Technology demonstration projects demonstrate the impact and utility of science and technology to first responders through partnerships, exercises and a “leave-behind” capability.

The projects, according to investment priority, include:

1. Canadian Food Inspection Agency will work with Health Canada, Defence R&D Canada and National Biological Laboratories to develop a Canadian capacity in standardized diagnostic assays for the identification of any human, animal or zoonotic bio-terrorism agent.

2. Defence R&D Canada will partner with the RCMP, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Bubble Technology Industries and the Joint NBC Defence Company to develop a portable, directional, gamma radiation spectrometer for rapid location and identification of gamma- emitting sources.

3. IBM Canada will work with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, the Canadian Network for Public Health Intelligence, Health Canada, the University of Guelph and the University of Manitoba to demonstrate and evaluate a comprehensive and readily deployable bio-surveillance and response readiness network for front-line public health authorities.

4. Bubble Technology Industries will work with Health Canada, Canada Border Services Agency, Canadian Police Research Centre, Defence R&D Canada, Transport Canada, Xwave Solutions, and Brookhaven National Laboratory to network low cost neutron detectors to create a defender nuclear detection web.

5. McFadden Technologies will work with Transport Canada, the Ottawa Airport Authority, and Health Canada to develop radiation surveillance detectors for real time warning of illicitly placed radioactive materials in the Ottawa International Airport.

6. University of Ottawa Heart Institute will develop a system for early CBRN attack detection by computerized medical record surveillance in partnership with National Research Council, AMITA, Carnegie Mellon University, CAM Emergency Preparedness, e-Privacy Management Systems Inc., Health Canada, South Grey Bruce Health Centre, Grey Bruce Health Centre, Michigan State University, and Performance Support Services.

7. Health Canada will team with Defence R&D Canada, and Cangene to evaluate treatments for smallpox.

8. Defence R&D Canada will develop screening assays and anti-infective treatments for anthrax along with University of British Columbia, Health Canada and Cangene.

9. Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada will work with Design Filtration, Defence R&D Canada, Health Canada, IsoTech Design, RCMP, and VWR International to develop a portable containment system to handle both chemical and biological agents during criminal and other investigations.

10. Defence R&D Canada will partner with Health Canada, Environment Canada, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Royal Military College, the University of British Columbia, and Carleton University to experimentally characterize risks associated with radiological dispersal devices.

11. The University of Ottawa will work with various groups to use lessons learned from SARS to develop a model for assessing and strengthening health care workers’ knowledge, skills and resiliency as first responders.

The next phase of the initiative will be a fourth call for proposals in November 2004.