GCCIR Experience Abroad Award

The German-Canadian Centre for Innovation and Research (GCCIR) is happy to announce the launch of the GCCIR Experience Abroad Award, available exclusively to Campus Saint-Jean students. The Campus Saint-Jean is the only French-speaking Campus in Western Canada, and is part of the University of Alberta. The official announcement occurred at the Campus Saint-Jean’s “Thank-a-thon” on March 14, 2017. This event provided an opportunity for students to acknowledge the donors behind the many awards made available to them.

The GCCIR Experience Abroad Award is intended to support students in gaining research-based study or work experience in France. Business and/or Science students enrolled at Campus Saint-Jean will have the opportunity to receive a grant of $2,500 CAD. There is one award available each year, and the deadline for this year’s applications is April 15th, 2017.

Bernd speech.jpg

Since 2016, the GCCIR has been mandated by the Albertan Ministry of Economic Development and Trade (EDT) to manage the Alberta-Canada-France Joint Industrial R&D Projects program.

With this Experience Abroad Award, the GCCIR aims to further strengthen the connection between Alberta and France through research-based alliances and student experiences.

More information can be found here: https://www.registrar.ualberta.ca/ro.cfm?id=533

 

Advertisements

Compound Eyes Inspire Camera Technology

A team from the Fraunhofer IOF Institute in Germany is working on a project called facetVISION Camera. Their objective is to build ultra-thin cameras and microscopes. The current technology, inspired by the mammalian eye, has reached its limits in terms of size, the best example being the bulge in your smartphone camera.

In order to miniaturize cameras, the research team at Fraunhofer IOF needed to develop another technology and found inspiration looking at the eyes of the male Xenos peckii, a parasite of the Northern Paper Wasp. Insects usually have compound eyes, which consist of tiny lenses, called facets, and a few receptor cells. They are very compact, but have low resolution. Mammalian eyes have a single lense to focus light onto a sheet of receptor cells, the retina. That is how we get higher resolution, but at the cost of bulkiness.

However, the eyes of male X. peckii are a compromise between these two extremes. The other advantage of this technology is the possibility to have a wider field of view at a low cost. So far, the project’s researchers have succeeded in making a camera with 135 facets that is only 2mm thick, but that has a resolution of one megapixel. Now the team is aiming to achieve a four megapixel resolution, which is enough for many applications, including medical probes, smartphones, or cameras in cars.

The project website (http://www.facetvision.de/) is highly interesting and offers a detailed explanations.

 

Links:

http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21718859-series-eyelets-can-make-cameras-much-smaller-insects-eye-inspires-new

http://www.facetvision.de/

https://escsecblog.com/2014/03/11/the-brief-lives-and-loves-of-male-strepsipterans/

French Tech Ticket

The French Tech Ticket is a programme designed for entrepreneurs from all over the world who want to launch their startups in France. Its second call for applications just closed with a selection of 70 foreign projects. The French Tech Ticket encourages foreign entrepreneurs to create startups in France with the goal of attracting international talent, sharing entrepreneurial cultures, and creating the conditions in the company for international growth. In 2017, 8,150 projects were submitted from 100 countries, which shows a real interest in this programme.

The French Tech Ticket offers funding of €45,000 per project to cover professional expenses. Successful participants will join one of the 41 partner incubators throughout France for a term of 12 months. They will be monitored and assisted by experts. Three projects involving Canadians have been selected.

Uconekt Inc. is one of the Canadian winners and is focused on Biometrics and Security. The founders are Stephen COUCHMAN and Vincent Rudranauth RAMOUTAR. They chose to work at the Fast Forward Normandy Incubator (Normandy French Tech). Uconekt’s products are personal identity devices with multi-factor authentication on certified hardware. These products will protect the user’s personal identity portable devices (smartphones, tablets, and computers). You can find more  information on the company’s website www.uconekt.com.

 

Links:

http://www.lafrenchtech.com/sites/default/files/documents/dp-french-tech-ticket-2-09032017-sircom_bat.pdf

http://www.frenchtechticket.com/

 

Paralyzed monkeys can walk again without rehabilitation

For humans and animals, the ability to walk has its source in the brain. The brain sends electrical signals through the spinal cord to the legs, and this causes movement. If a brain signal is interrupted and does not reach the nerves in the leg, for example, then that limb is paralyzed. For the first time researchers have managed to bypass the damaged spinal cords of rhesus monkeys, allowing them to walk again.

In order to carry out the experiment, researchers severed parts of the spinal cords of two rhesus monkeys to paralyze one of their legs. The transection lead to an interruption of the brain signals to the muscles in one leg, so the rhesus monkeys couldn’t walk normally anymore. Researchers then implanted a microchip into the specific part of the brain responsible for the monkeys’ movements. The chips recorded every electric impulse produced by the monkeys’ neurons and sent these to a computer. The computer then calculated patterns of activity. Those patterns were transmitted to sixteen electrodes that had been previously implanted onto each monkey’s spinal cord below the injured section. By stimulating the right nerves, the electrodes made the leg muscles move again, enabling the monkeys to move their paralyzed legs almost normally. The information exchange between the microchip implanted in the brain and the electrodes took place via Bluetooth and infrared in real-time.

According to Erwan Bezard from the University of Bordeaux (France), both monkeys were able to move immediately after the operation without any training or rehabilitation. So far, the rhesus monkeys can accomplish easy movements like walking; however, balancing or navigating obstacles is currently not possible with this technology.

At this stage it is not clear if the technology can be used for humans as well. It will be necessary to do more research on fully paralyzed monkeys, where a larger portion of the spinal cord has been severed. This would provide a much more accurate representation of the type of paralysis usually found in humans. To date, chips have been implanted into human brains in other experiments and some positive results have been achieved. For example, one paralyzed man was able to move his hand using his thoughts. By wearing a pressure sleeve that responded to his brain activity on his forearm, he was able to stimulate, and therefore move, certain muscles. This gave him some control over his hand, which he previously did not have.

To find more about it :

http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/medizin/chip-im-hirn-gelaehmter-kann-wieder-gehen-a-1120517.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v539/n7628/full/nature20118.html

 

 

GlobalXplorer° – for all the aspiring archeologists out there…

The world of archeology is changing. This particular initiative comes from Dr. Sarah Parcak, an American archaeologist and expert on remote sensing using satellite imaging.

GlobalXplorer° was launched on January 31, 2017. It is an online platform that shares satellite images currently available to archaeologists. Anyone can now access the data and help with everything from preventing looting to discovering new archaeological sites in Peru, Egypt or China. This technique is already used by professional archeologists with great success.

When you access this website, you will be given a 6 min video tutorial showing you how to recognize looting sites on satellite images. And then you can start exploring images in Peru, deciding if there is evidence of looting or not. After you’ve analyzed 1,000 images, GlobalXplorer° will determine that you possess the required skills to start looking for as-yet-unknown archeological sites.

The power of the crowd can help archeologists analyse the enormous number of satellite images, and to fight looting, which destroys so many valuable clues about past civilizations.   

The images are provided by DigitalGlobe. DigitalGlobe is a leading provider of commercial high-resolution Earth observation and advanced geospatial solutions.

And now you, too, can start fighting crime and making fascinating discoveries!

 

How your business can benefit from CETA

Over the last year free trade has become one of the hottest political topics. Weather it is a GM factory in Ontario laying off 600 people to move their jobs to Mexico, President Trump pulling out of the TTP deal and the TTIP negotiations, as well as wanting to renegotiate NAFTA, or 180,000 people in Germany demonstrating against a new free trade agreement all over the country last September, free trade agreements cause controversy. Even though nowadays many people have a critical attitude towards free trade agreements, the potential they have for economic growth should not be underestimated.

Yesterday the GCCIR team attended a Business Forum on CETA, organised by the Alberta Government in cooperation with other federal and local institutions. We learned a lot and we want to share with you some ways in which your business can, in fact, benefit from the new Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA). Learn about what new opportunities arise, and where you can find useful information about this new trade agreement between Canada and the world‘s largest integrated market with 500 million consumers and an annual GDP of $21 trillion!

Here are some of the most significant benefits of CETA that will make trading your products and/or services with the EU much easier:

  • Eliminate most tariffs: On the day that CETA is put in place (likely before Summer 2017), the EU will remove tariffs on 98% of its tariff lines for Canadian products. This will increase to up to 99% over the following seven years. Use the following link to see how much you will be saving in tariffs when exporting your products to Europe, and keep in mind that competitors in other countries still need to pay these fees to access the EU market (EU Tariffs). If you are exporting agricultural or agri-food products, fish and seafood, or automotive products, special quotas will be in place for the first few years (Canadian Tariff Guide under CETA). All other products can be exported to the EU free of tariffs.
  • Cuts red tape and reduces barriers to trade: For example, Canadian companies that produce goods that require safety testing can get European certification at the same time and from the same organisation that certifies their products for the Canadian market. This significantly reduces costs and time, since the products no longer need to be shipped to Europe in order to be tested separately for that market. Customs procedures will also be made easier for Canadian exporters.
  • CETA improves labour mobility: CETA introduces a concept called Temporary Entry. This makes it easier for short-term business visitors, intra-company transferees, investors, contract service suppliers, and independent professionals to conduct business in the EU and vis-a-versa.
  • Access to EU public contracts: Once CETA is in place, Canadian companies will have access to EU public contracts at all levels. Have a look at the European TED Webpage , where each year 460 000 requests  for tenders are published, totalling about 420 billion Euro in value. Now with CETA, Canadian companies can submit tenders for these EU projects.
  • Better protection of investment: The new free trade agreement insures that investments are better protected. CETA also allows for more transparency and provides Canadian investors with a more favourable and secure access to the EU market

As you can see, there are a lot of possibilities for Canadian businesses, of all sizes and in all sectors, to benefit from this new free trade agreement. American or Asian competitors are still required to pay import taxes, if they want to sell their goods in the EU. It is now up to Canadian businesses to use the advantages that CETA provides them with and establish their products, goods, and services in the European market in the years to come. Not only will this ensure more growth for businesses, it will also create new jobs and prosperity for Canadian workers.

You can find more information about CETA on the following webpage:

http://www.international.gc.ca/gac-amc/campaign-campagne/ceta-aecg/index.aspx?lang=eng

Welcome to GCCIR’s Blog ! Alberta’s Innovation Superstation

Greetings, dear readers!

Welcome to our blog! This first post is intended as an introduction to who we are and what we do, and to provide some context. This blog will have four primary authors, hailing from Canada, Germany and France, and we hope numerous guest posts from around the world.

The GCCIR team regularly encounters interesting ideas and news items related to research, innovation, and ground-breaking technologies in Canada, Germany, and France. We would like to share with you what we think is relevant, helpful, and interesting.

All three nations are committed to advancing technology and innovation. In addition to thousands of companies undertaking research and development, extensive networks of top-flight research institutions criss-cross each jurisdiction – for example, the CEA in France, the Fraunhofer Institutes in Germany, and Alberta Innovates in Alberta. Last, but certainly not least, each country is home to some of the top research universities in the world. Taken together, we feel very privileged to operate within such an innovative constellation.

For the past six years, the GCCIR has been working with Albertan and German companies, helping them to set up innovative and collaborative technology driven projects, which lead to newly commercialized products and processes. As of the end 2016, we have funded 19 projects in various industries; from laser-based gas monitoring devices, to point-of-care test platforms for health diagnostics, to low-field desktop NMR spectrometers.

On this blog, we intend to post in a variety of ways about a variety of topics, all focused on research, innovation, and technological advances. You might find summaries of lengthy articles, interviews with world-leading experts, or notifications about upcoming events of interest. Topics will be as varied as our scope of work, because there are so many fascinating developments underway!

Should you ever have questions, comments, concerns, or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We would love to hear from you!

 

All the best from the GCCIR Team!