Profound Impact Partners with Haltech

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PROFOUND IMPACT PARTNERS WITH HALTECH TO OFFER TARGETED GRANT MATCHING THROUGH RESEARCH IMPACT

The partnership will allow clients to match with research funding and collaborative partners

HALTON REGION, ON | SEPTEMBER 19, 2023 — Profound Impact™ Corporation and Haltech Regional Innovation Centre are working together to provide targeted and timely grant matching opportunities to Haltech’s roster of clients.

The companies announced the partnership at Haltech’s annual open house on September 19, 2023. The newly announced agreement will offer Haltech clients access to grant matching through Profound Impact’s AI-powered tool, Research Impact. Research Impact offers automatic, targeted and timely grant matching. With more than $300 billion in funding opportunities, hundreds of thousands of industry partners and 8.8 million researchers available across the globe, it can be overwhelming and time-consuming to find the right matches for academia, industry and grants. Research Impact helps innovators find their perfect match, sending best-fit grant opportunities directly to the inboxes of interested parties.

“Academics and innovators face several challenges when it comes to discovering partnerships and finding suitable funding opportunities for applied research,” says Dr. Sherry Shannon-Vanstone, President and CEO of Profound Impact. “Our innovative matching tool, Research Impact, provides a faster, more accurate way to find these resources, saving time and money. We are excited to offer this tool to Haltech’s clients and look forward to helping advance new research projects.”

Haltech is a non-profit organization empowering innovative companies to realize their full potential through education, advisory services and strategic connections. Companies joining the Haltech roster have the opportunity to accelerate their business growth through educational workshops, business advisory services and strategic connections.

“We’re so pleased to be able to connect our clients to grant and research opportunities through this partnership with Profound Impact,” says Shann McGrail, Chief Executive Officer with Haltech. “We know the matches through Research Impact will help companies find new funding opportunities for their internal research and product development. 

Haltech clients interested in utilizing Research Impact can sign up using this form.

Anyone interested in learning more about Research Impact can contact the Profound Impact team and book a custom demo here

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ABOUT PROFOUND IMPACT CORPORATION 

Based in the Toronto-Waterloo technology corridor, Profound Impact’s AI-powered tool – Research Impact – helps academic and industry researchers find the perfect funding match. With over $300 Billion in research funding opportunities, 100,000s industry partners and 8.8 million researchers globally, finding the optimal grant for academic and industry innovators is often overwhelming and unnecessarily time-consuming.  More than just a search engine, Research Impact offers automatic, targeted and timely matching.  Profound Impact’s customers include top North American research institutions, universities and industry partners.  CEO and Founder Sherry Shannon-Vanstone is a serial technology entrepreneur with an unparalleled track record.  She has had five successful start-ups and exits in Silicon Valley and Canada, including two IPOs and acquisitions.

ABOUT HALTECH

Haltech is a non-profit corporation supported by Ontario’s Ministry of Research, Innovation & Science, Ministry of Economic Development & Growth, and their valued Corporate Sponsors.

Haltech empowers all innovative companies to realize their full potential through education, advisory services, and strategic connections. Haltech launched in 2011 and is the go-to strategic connector and educator for startups in Halton and beyond. To date, Haltech has helped boost more than 1,000 startups and scale ups. 

Website: www.profoundimpact.com 

Facebook: @aprofoundimpact

Instagram: @aprofoundimpact 

LinkedIn: Profound Impact Corporation

Twitter: @aprofoundimpact

YouTube: @profoundimpactcorporation

For media inquiries, please contact:

Katherine Hill

306-515-3611

katherineh@durrellcomm.com

media@profoundimpact.com 

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Impactful Actions Awards Winners for 2023 Announced on Profound Impact Day

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SUSTAINABILITY ADVOCATE, LOCAL RADIO HOST NAMED WINNERS OF 2023 IMPACTFUL ACTIONS AWARDS

Hui Huang Hoe was named the Young Leader award winner, while Mike Farwell took home the Lifetime Achievement award

WATERLOO, ON | SEPT. 14, 2023 Profound Impact is proud to name Hui Huang Hoe and Mike Farwell winners of the 2023 Impactful Actions Awards. 

The annual awards, presented by Profound Impact™ Corporation, recognize individuals who are inspiring collaborative solutions to difficult global problems. The winners were announced at the 2023 Profound Impact Day event. Celebrated annually on September 14, Profound Impact Day is a time to commemorate the world’s diverse leaders and changemakers who are leaving their mark on the global community through their initiatives, influence, and impact.

This year the award expanded to include two categories: Young Leader and Lifetime Achievement. Hoe was awarded the Young Leader category, and Farwell accepted the Lifetime Achievement award. 

Hoe is a serial inventor of green electrochemistry and the founder of elerGreen, a cleantech startup recovering valuable polymers, metals and chemicals from chemical waste. The company places an emphasis on giving back to the community through mentoring student entrepreneurs through Venture for Canada (VFC) Intrapreneurship projects. elerGreen also works to expose students to diversity, inclusion and corporate social responsibility through company projects and hiring visible minorities, people with disabilities, youth, newcomers to Canada, and survivors of violence and the criminal justice system.

“I’m incredibly honoured to receive this award and have my work promoting a greener and cleaner world acknowledged,” says Hoe. “We need to act now to protect our planet and ensure future generations will have somewhere safe to live. This award is a wonderful recognition for elerGreen, supporting our eco-friendly endeavour and our goal to take action to protect our climate.”

Hoe encourages youth to learn more about entrepreneurship through VFC coaching. He has also published a free book, Mathematica Particularis, written to complement the syllabus of engineering mathematics, particularly for B.A.Sc. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Toronto.

Farwell works as a radio host at CityNews 570 in Kitchener and is a play-by-play announcer for the  Kitchener Rangers OHL hockey team. He is a relentless community builder who turned the grief from losing his two sisters to cystic fibrosis into the largest annual fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis Canada. In 2014, he began the Farwell4Hire fundraising campaign, getting out into his community and trying new things, from weeding gardens to washing windows. Farwell4Hire has raised more than $1.25 million to date for Cystic Fibrosis Canada. 

“I am so flattered and humbled to win this award,” Farwell says. “Profound Impact does so much incredible work in our community and knowing they’ve recognized me in this way makes it all the more meaningful.”

The funds raised through Farwell4Hire have allowed Cystic Fibrosis Canada to bring a transformational drug, Trifakta, to Canada. Trikafta is considered the single greatest innovation in the history of cystic fibrosis, treating 90 per cent of Canadians with cystic fibrosis by addressing the causes instead of managing the symptoms and potentially preventing irreversible damage caused by this progressive disease. It is now publicly available and insurable to all cystic fibrosis patients in Canada six years of age and older, with advocacy in place for younger patients.

“Each year, we receive so many incredible and inspiring nominations for the Impactful Actions Awards, and this year was no exception. Congratulations to our winners, Hui Huang and Mike, and thank you for all the important work you do in your communities,” says Sherry Shannon-Vanstone, Founder and CEO of Profound Impact. 

Profound Impact opens up community nominations for the Impactful Actions Awards every year. In 2021, the inaugural Impactful Actions Award was presented to Dr. Feridun Hamdullahpur, former President & Vice Chancellor (2010-2021) and Professor of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering at the University of Waterloo. In 2022, Kehkashan Basu, M.S.M. took home the award. She is the founder of Green Hope Foundation, a global social enterprise working with more than 300,000 people across 26 countries, focusing on water, sanitation, clean energy and food security. 

A recording of the event is available on Profound Impact’s YouTube Channel.

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ABOUT PROFOUND IMPACT CORPORATION 

Based in the Toronto-Waterloo technology corridor, Profound Impact’s AI-powered tool – Research Impact – helps academic and industry researchers find the perfect funding match. With over $300 Billion in research funding opportunities, 100,000s industry partners and 8.8 Million researchers globally, finding the optimal grant for academic and industry innovators is often overwhelming and unnecessarily time-consuming.  More than just a search engine, Research Impact offers automatic, targeted and timely matching.  Profound Impact’s customers include top North American research institutions, universities and industry partners.  CEO and Founder Sherry Shannon-Vanstone is a serial technology entrepreneur with an unparalleled track record.  She has had five successful start-ups and exits in Silicon Valley and Canada, including two IPOs and acquisitions.

Website: www.profoundimpact.com 

Facebook: @aprofoundimpact

Instagram: @aprofoundimpact 

LinkedIn: Profound Impact Corporation

Twitter: @aprofoundimpact

YouTube: @profoundimpactcorporation

For media inquiries, please contact:

Katherine Hill

katherineh@durrellcomm.com

media@profoundimpact.com 

CEO Message

The Profound Impact team is looking forward to announcing the 2023 Impactful Action Award winners on September 14th during Profound Impact Day. This annual virtual event honours the late Professor Scott A. Vanstone and celebrates the impact and legacy of collaboration and innovation developed through the Profound Impact community.  


Profound Impact Day 2023 will commence at 12 noon EDT on Sept. 14th and feature a fireside chat with past Impactful Actions Awards winners Dr. Feridun Hamdullahpur, former president of the University of Waterloo, and Kehkashan Basu M.S.M., Founder of Green Hope Foundation

Learn more about the finalists in both the Young Leaders and Lifetime Achievement categories in this month’s newsletter and register for Profound Impact Day 2023 here.

The Profound Impact team had a productive time at the NCURA (National Council of University Research Administrators) annual meeting in Washington, DC last month. There was tremendous interest in Research Impact and everyone loved the Canadian maple syrup candy! We also conducted a survey of attendees about their areas of concern regarding research funding and industry partnership. We will analyze the responses and make the report available on our website soon.

As Profound Impact continues its growth in the Canadian market and expands into the United States and internationally, we are pleased to announce that the company surpassed our goal of raising $3 million in two tranches this summer, for a total of $3,125,000.  A group of female investors, including many who were first-time investors, led the way for Profound Impact’s pre-seed round of financing, which closed on May 5, 2023 and August 4, 2023 respectively. The participation of first-time female investors sends a clear message of confidence in Profound Impact’s vision and the team’s leadership. 

We’re excited about how we continue to connect great people to do great things and look forward to seeing you at our noon event – Profound Impact Day on September 14.

Thank you for connecting with us and the Profound Impact community!

Sherry Shannon-Vanstone

Meet the Impactful Actions Awards Finalists

Young Leaders Finalists

Leigh Zachary Bursey

Leigh Zachary Bursey is an activist, journalist, former three-term municipal politician, singer-songwriter, recording artist, writer and champion for the homeless. He has a long history of tackling challenging social topics including homelessness, mental health, harm reduction and allied support for the LGBTQIA community.  While serving as a city councillor for Brockville, Ontario, he came out as a suicide attempt survivor and an advocate for the federally tabled National Suicide Prevention Strategy private member’s bill.

Leigh has worked in youth homelessness shelters and adult warming centres, advocating for naloxone training and increased harm reduction supports and has been a strong advocate for increased public transit hours and operating funds for local libraries.  He focuses his speaking, research and journalism on amplifying marginalized people and sharing their ideas for change and resolutions to community challenges. Through his work, he has amplified these voices by helping them deliver meaningful messages and by challenging stigmas.

Hui Huang Hoe

Hui Huang Hoe is a serial inventor in green electrochemistry.  He founded elerGreen, a cleantech start-up that recovers valuable polymers, metals and chemicals from chemical waste. elerGreen places an emphasis on giving back to the society through mentorship of student entrepreneurs in Venture for Canada (VFC) Intrapreneurship projects. elerGreen exposes students to diversity, equity, inclusion and corporate social responsibility through these projects and by hiring visible minorities, people with disabilities, youth, newcomers to Canada and survivors of violence and the criminal justice system.

Hui Huang encourages youth entrepreneurship by coaching students in Venture for Canada. He has also published a free book, Mathematica Particularis, written to complement the syllabus of engineering mathematics, particularly for B.A.Sc. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Toronto.

Tabatha Laverty

Tabatha Laverty is an acclaimed non-profit leader and award-winning marketer with a passion for workplace equity and inclusion. As VP of Marketing and External Relations at the Accelerator Centre, she has been instrumental in leading the organization in rebranding and cementing the centre’s status as a global innovation ecosystem leader.

Through Tabatha’s leadership, the Accelerator Centre has made significant progress in its mission to create a more inclusive and equitable innovation ecosystem. After only one year of work under the action plan, the centre has nearly achieved its objective of gender parity and 30% representation from traditionally underrepresented groups across its stakeholder groups. This includes the Accelerator Centre’s board, mentorship team, staff, and the founders. In addition, the centre’s most recent program launch boasts over 63% of its participants being women-led businesses, 26% being led by newcomers to Canada and 5% by indigenous entrepreneurs.

Tabatha was instrumental in developing the Accelerator Centre’s cleantech incubation program, a first for Waterloo Region. In 2020, the programming was expanded to support all entrepreneurs working on solutions that support the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, adding resources for med-tech, ed-tech, smart city and social innovation-focused start-ups, supporting nearly 100 start-ups.

You can see more from the Young Leaders and their impact below:

Lifetime Achievement Finalists

Mike Farwell

Mike Farwell is a relentless community builder who turned his grief of losing two sisters to cystic fibrosis (CF) into the largest annual fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis Canada, raising over $1.25m of unrestricted funds supporting research, advocacy, and clinical care for Canadians living with CF.

Between his day job at CityNews 570, his night job calling games for the Kitchener Rangers junior hockey team and his philanthropic work with organizations across Waterloo Region, Mike Farwell’s name and voice are synonymous with leadership in the Waterloo Region. In 2014, he began the Farwell4Hire fundraising campaign, which has raised more than $1.25m for research to find a cure for cystic fibrosis. After many years of soliciting donations, Mike thought it was time for a different approach and offered to do work in exchange for donations. From weeding gardens to washing windows, Farwell4Hire has raised $1.25m since its launch, allowing CF Canada to bring a new transformational drug (Trikafta) to be widely adopted across Canada in 2022. Trikafta is considered the single greatest innovation in the history of cystic fibrosis, treating 90% of Canadians with CF by addressing the causes instead of managing the symptoms and potentially preventing irreversible damage caused by this progressive disease. It is now publicly available and insurable to all CF patients in Canada six years of age and older, with advocacy in place for younger patients.

For his tireless efforts on this annual fundraising campaign, and his genuine support of building community through his talk radio show, Mike is a true example of one person making a huge impact on the lives of many.

Lynn Smith

As a proud member of Peavine Métis Settlement, Lynn Smith is leading her northern community through a significant change to take control of monitoring the impact of climate change on their land and waterways. Through compassion, perseverance, engagement, and collaboration, she is guiding her community on the path to being able to once again drink the water from their rivers and streams; an act not experienced since her own childhood because of pollution. She is doing this by enabling her community to achieve data sovereignty, and building knowledge in her community so that they can better hold Industry and all levels of Government accountable for their actions that impact Indigenous lands.

Lynn’s exemplary leadership has created a program of environmental monitoring that delivers real benefits to her community. Her mentorship model has built a team of community-based Environmental Monitors and Data Technicians whose skills and talent are retained in the community for the benefit of the community. At the same time, Lynn practices inclusion in how she shares her knowledge and learnings with other Indigenous communities suffering from similar environmental challenges. She is doing this by showing the way for communities to build competencies in their consultation teams to autonomously monitor their land, generate and interpret data, and enact management programs. Lynn is also a builder of inclusivity, partnering with scientists outside of her community, teaching indigenous ways of knowing, and sharing Western-based methods of doing science with professionals who have participated in creating environmental monitoring programs in her community and beyond.

Lynn has been recognized for her achievements by being asked to represent her community on the Board of Directors of the Lesser Slave Lake Watershed Council, which works to improve and maintain a healthy watershed through education, planning and implementation of shared initiatives in support of communities and ecosystems throughout the region.

Stephanie Thompson

Stephanie Thompson is a passionate engineer and community leader who actively pursues new and innovative ways of promoting science, technology and learning in the Niagara Region.  “Be a ladder, be a lamp or be a lifeboat” is Stephanie’s motto, which she uses to inspire the women in Niagara and online.

In 2018, Stephanie launched her social enterprise, STEM by Steph, developed on the notion that the lack of female role models prevents girls from considering careers in the trades and in STEM fields. Following the principle that STEM is best tackled by connecting women with knowledge with those who need support in breaking barriers, the organization offers STEMbySteph, a frequently sold-out social event in the Niagara Region where Stephanie and other women teach mothers and their daughters about STEM subjects in a laughter-filled atmosphere focused on camaraderie.

Stephanie holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Chemical Engineering, a Certificate of Professional Management from Brock University, and is a Professional Engineer in Ontario. 

You can see more from the Lifetime Achievement finalists here:

Do you have an impact story to share? Let us know at connections@profoundimpact.com for a chance to be featured in an upcoming newsletter!

News Release – Profound Impact Corporation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PROFOUND IMPACT™ CORPORATION OVERSUBSCRIBED, $3.1 MILLION PRE-SEED FUNDING ROUND

Company exceeded its second tranche target to fuel continued growth of its AI-powered platform that connects academic and industry researchers with grant opportunities

WATERLOO, ON | AUGUST 30, 2023 — Profound Impact™ Corporation announced today the successful close of $3.125 million pre-seed funding round, surpassing its second tranche target for its AI-powered platform that helps academic and industry researchers find and access grants. Female investors accounted for nearly all of Profound Impact’s second tranche, including many first-time angel investors.

“As the leader of a female-founded company, it is truly inspiring to see the rise of female investors in our community and across Canada,” says Dr. Sherry Shannon-Vanstone, Founder and CEO of Profound Impact. “When women invest, industries transform. It becomes a catalyst for innovation, inclusion and a future where everyone has a seat at the table.”

Profound Impact’s first tranche of financing saw female investors contribute more than $2.2 million in pre-seed funding. Their participation demonstrates significant progress for women in the investment space, challenging gender stereotypes while contributing to a more equitable distribution of wealth. These investors also offer diverse perspectives, experiences and insights that enhance Profound Impact’s long-term planning and strategic objectives for business growth.

“Investing is so much more than just providing capital,” says Dr. Deborah Rosati, Angel Investor and Chair of Profound Impact’s Board of Directors. “It is about infusing a company with innovative business ideas that align with its vision and objectives. With female investors on board, we can cultivate an environment where equality, empowerment and creativity flourish.”

Profound Impact, which operates in the Toronto-Waterloo technology corridor, offers Research Impact, an AI-powered platform that helps academic and industry researchers find the perfect funding match. This second tranche of financing will enable Profound Impact to expand into the United States.

While this funding announcement represents a significant milestone for both Profound Impact and women-led ventures across Canada, there are still major systemic challenges that hinder female entrepreneurs’ access to capital and support.

Profound Impact isn’t the only one noticing the impact of women investing in women. The51, a Canadian Financial FeministTM platform and venture capital fund, is on a mission to see gender parity in investing, entrepreneurship, on boards, as business leaders and economic decision-makers. They’ve even launched a non-profit, Movement51, to educate women and gender-diverse individuals on how to become investors as well as to teach women and gender-diverse founders how to prepare for investment.  

The51 has compiled many stark statistics on their website including:

  • Only 11 per cent of decision-makers at Canadian venture capital (VC) firms are women
  • Roughly 85 per cent of all Canadian limited partner dollars are invested in funds with no women managing partners
  • Since 2011, all-female teams have only accounted for 1.8 to 2.7 per cent of VC dollars

Despite these alarming figures, research has shown that investing in female entrepreneurs results in high returns and more diversified, risk-averse portfolios. In fact, companies with female founders perform 63 per cent better than investments with all-male founding teams according to recent studies. Female entrepreneurs also provide access to untapped markets and new consumer segments, as their products and services more commonly address real-world needs that are often overlooked by male-dominated industries. This includes educational services, social assistance, women’s healthcare and environmental issues.

With the rate of female entrepreneurs in Canada increasing by 30 per cent over the past decade, it is imperative that we work towards closing gender gaps and encouraging greater investment in female entrepreneurs. Empowering women through economic opportunities will lead to a more equitable distribution of wealth, challenge gender stereotypes and set a positive example for future generations.

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ABOUT PROFOUND IMPACT CORPORATION

Based in the Toronto-Waterloo technology corridor, Profound Impact’s AI-powered platform – Research Impact – helps academic and industry researchers find the perfect funding match. With over $300 Billion in research funding opportunities, 100,000s industry partners and 8.8 million researchers globally, finding the optimal grant for academic and industry innovators is often overwhelming and unnecessarily time-consuming.  More than just a search engine, Research Impact offers automatic, targeted and timely matching.  Profound Impact’s customers include top North American research institutions, universities and industry partners.  CEO and Founder Sherry Shannon-Vanstone is a serial technology entrepreneur with an unparalleled track record.  She has had five successful start-ups and exits in Silicon Valley and Canada, including two IPOs and two acquisitions. 

Website: www.profoundimpact.com

Facebook: @aprofoundimpact

Instagram: @aprofoundimpact

LinkedIn: Profound Impact Corporation

Twitter: @aprofoundimpact

For media inquiries, please contact:

Rachael Marshall

289-925-8041

rachaelm@durrellcomm.com

media@profoundimpact.com

2023 Impactful Actions Awards Finalists Announced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PROFOUND IMPACT ANNOUNCES 2023 IMPACTFUL ACTIONS AWARDS FINALISTS

The Impactful Actions Awards recognize leaders making a profound impact in communities globally 

WATERLOO, ON | AUGUST 16, 2023 — Profound Impact is proud to announce the finalists for this year’s Impactful Actions Awards.

Presented annually, the Impactful Actions Awards recognize leaders who are making a profound impact on communities globally by inspiring collaborative solutions to difficult problems. The award launched in 2021 and has now grown to include two categories (Young Leader and Lifetime Achievement) to attract and honour a diverse range of nominees. 

“We were inspired by this year’s impressive nominees and are excited to recognize two recipients of the Impactful Actions Awards,” says Sherry Shannon-Vanstone, Founder and CEO of Profound Impact. “It’s never an easy decision to narrow down our finalists and winners, but our judges feel confident in our choices this year.”

The finalists in the Young Leaders category are as follows (in alphabetical order):

  • Leigh Zachary Bursey, an activist, journalist, former three-term politician, singer-songwriter, recording artist and author.
  • Hui Huang Hoe, the founder of elerGreen, a cleantech startup recovering polymers, metals and chemicals and medical waste.
  • Tabatha Laverty, the VP of Marketing and External Relations at the Accelerator Centre, and a non-profit leader with a passion for equity and inclusion.

These are the Lifetime Achievement finalists (in alphabetical order):

  • Mike Farwell, host of The Mike Farwell Show on CityNews 570 and leader of the Farwell4Hire campaign, which has raised over $1.25 million in funds to support Canadians living with cystic fibrosis. 
  • Lynn Smith, a proud member of the Peavine Métis Settlement who is leading her northern community through a significant change to take control over monitoring the impact of climate change on their land and waterways.
  • Stephanie Thompson, the founder of STEM by Steph and a passionate engineer and community leader who is always pursuing new and innovative ways to promote science, technology and learning in the Niagara area.

“These finalists showcase what it means to make a profound impact in the world, and we are honoured to share their stories of impact,” Shannon-Vanstone says. “Thank you to everyone who took the time to nominate someone for the Impactful Actions Awards this year.”

The inaugural Impactful Actions Award was presented to Dr. Feridun Hamdullahpur, former President & Vice-Chancellor (2010-2021) and Professor of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering at the University of Waterloo, in 2021. In 2022, Profound Impact presented the Impactful Actions Award to Kehkashan Basu, M.S.M., who is the Founder and President of the Green Hope Foundation. 

The 2023 Impactful Actions Awards winners will be announced during the Profound Impact Day virtual event on September 14, 2023. 

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ABOUT PROFOUND IMPACT CORPORATION 

Based in the Toronto-Waterloo technology corridor, Profound Impact’s AI-powered tool – Research Impact – helps academic and industry researchers find the perfect funding match. With over $300 Billion in research funding opportunities, 100,000s industry partners and 8.8 Million researchers globally, finding the optimal grant for academic and industry innovators is often overwhelming and unnecessarily time-consuming.  More than just a search engine, Research Impact offers automatic, targeted and timely matching.  Profound Impact’s customers include top North American research institutions, universities and industry partners.  CEO and Founder Sherry Shannon-Vanstone is a serial technology entrepreneur with an unparalleled track record.  She has had five successful start-ups and exits in Silicon Valley and Canada, including two IPOs and acquisitions.

Website: www.profoundimpact.com 

Facebook: @aprofoundimpact

Instagram: @aprofoundimpact 

LinkedIn: Profound Impact Corporation

Twitter: @aprofoundimpact

For media inquiries, please contact:

Katherine Hill

306-515-3611

katherineh@durrellcomm.com

media@profoundimpact.com 

CEO Message

The Profound Impact team is proud to announce the finalists for this year’s Impactful Actions Awards.  We were inspired by this year’s nominees and are excited to recognize two recipients for the first time this year (listed below in alphabetical order).

The finalists in the Young Leaders category are:

  • Leigh Zachary Bursey
  • Hui Huang Hoe
  • Tabatha Laverty

The three Lifetime Achievement finalists are:

  • Mike Farwell
  • Lynn Smith
  • Stephanie Thompson

Thank you to everyone who submitted nominations. The winner from each category will be announced on Profound Impact Day on September 14. 

Canada is renowned for having brought important innovations to the world, including Banting and Best’s discovery of insulin at the University of Toronto, the development of the IMAX camera projector, and the Canadarm robotic arm used in space shuttle orbiters. Less known is Canada’s fundamental role in the development and evolution of computer animation and visual effects.  This month’s Impact Story introduces you to Marceli Wein, who came to Canada in 1952 after surviving Nazi Germany as a hidden child, became an “accidental graduate student” at McGill University, and, with his colleague Nestor Burtnyk and director Peter Foldes, created the first fully computer-animated film in 1974.

Canada’s computer science departments and software companies are responsible for much of the technology behind the computer animation and special effects seen on today’s screens.  You’ll read about those contributions, including the pioneering researchers and software developers whose work is used in major studios around the world, in this issue’s Research Spotlight.  And in the Researcher Spotlight you’ll meet Mark Jones, the educator, producer, and writer who has spent more than two decades working to train many of those award-winning artists.

This issue also features results from the survey of polytechnics, colleges, and universities across Canada conducted by Profound Impact to gather feedback on information sharing between partners, understanding grant funding and partnership opportunities, and helping build grant partnerships.

Thank you for connecting with us and the Profound Impact community!

Sherry Shannon-Vanstone

Research Spotlight: Canada’s Computer Animation Innovations

Toy Story. Up. Monsters Inc. Shrek. Finding Nemo. WALL-E. Ice Age. The Incredibles.  Ratatouille. Cars. Frozen. Inside Out.  These fully computer-animated feature films have been nominated for and won Academy Awards and have transformed animation from a medium previously reserved for Saturday morning cartoons to one used by filmmakers to tell stories for people of all ages. Canadian researchers and software companies have played a significant role in developing the tools used by animators to tell those stories. Many of those animators are graduates of renowned computer animation programs from colleges and universities across Canada.

Canadian Firsts

As noted in this month’s Impact Story, the first fully computer-animated film was not produced by a Hollywood studio, but by the National Film Board of Canada. Hunger/La Faim was directed by Hungarian-born Peter Foldes using technology invented by two Canadians: Nestor Burtnyk, an electrical engineer and Dr. Marceli Wein, a physicist.  After its release in 1974, Hunger/La Faim was nominated for an Academy Award, in the Animated Shorts category and received many other international film awards including the Prix du Jury at the Cannes Film Festival.  In 1997, Wein and Burtnyk received Technical Academy Awards in recognition of the impact of their work on computer animation in the film industry.

In 1984, The Adventures of André & Wally B., a computer-animated short produced by the Lucasfilm Computer Graphics Project, the predecessor of Pixar, was released at the annual SIGGRAPH computer graphics conference and sparked the film industry’s interest in computer-generated films. The technical lead for the film was Bill Reeves, a founding member of Pixar and a graduate of the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Waterloo and the Dynamic Graphics Project at the University of Toronto.  

Groundbreaking research and technology

The Computer Graphics Lab at the University of Waterloo and the Dynamic Graphics Project at the University of Toronto are two of the most influential computer graphics research laboratories in Canada.  

Kellogg S. (Kelly) Booth joined the Computer Science Department at the University of Waterloo in 1977 and John Beatty in 1978, and in 1979, they began a research group in Computer Graphics and Interaction. Together with Richard Bartels who joined the department in 1981, they formed the Computer Graphics Laboratory (CGL), one of the first in Canada. Marceli Wein was an adjunct professor of computer science in the lab.

Graduates of CGL, including Rob Krieger and Paul Breslin, would go on to win Academy Awards. 

The Dynamic Graphic Project (DGP) at the University of Toronto was founded in 1967 by Leslie Mezei. In 1972, He was joined by Ron Baecker, who coined the name Dynamic Graphics Project in 1974. DGP’s alumni are now on faculty at top universities around the world and at major industrial research labs, and, like Bill Reeves, have won Academy Awards for their ground-breaking work.

Tony de Peltrie, the first computer graphics animated character with synchronized speech, was first shown at the SIGGRAPH conference in 1985.  The short film, which was produced by four young programmers at the University of Montreal, shows the first animated human character to express emotion through facial expressions and body movements and received more than 20 international awards.  John Lasseter said about the film, “Years from now Tony de Peltrie will be looked upon as the landmark piece, where real, fleshy characters were first animated by computer.” 

Daniel Langlois, one of the creators of Tony de Peltrie, was an artist and programmer trained as a designer and computer animator for film. After the completion of the film, Langlois founded the company Softimage in Montreal. Softimage’s 3D animation package became an industry-standard in the 1990s, used by major visual effects studios and in films including The Matrix and Jurassic Park.  Softimage was also used extensively in the computer gaming industry and the company, along with Tony de Peltrie, is credited as one of the reasons Montreal has become one of the global centers of the computer gaming industry.

Recognition of the quality of computer animation by the film industry first came in 1988, when Pixar’s Tin Toy, became the first computer-animated film to receive an Academy Award.  And history was made again in 1991 when computer-generated image (CGI) backgrounds were fully integrated with hand-drawn animated characters using software from Toronto’s Alias Research in the ballroom scene in Beauty and the Beast.

Alias Research was founded by Stephen Bingham, Nigel McGrath, Susan McKenna and David Springer in 1983 with initial funding from scientific research tax credits, the founders’ personal funds, and a $61,000 grant from Canada’s National Research Council.  Alias 1, the company’s first software package, was released in 1985 and in 1989, Alias 2 was used to produce The Abyss, which won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. In 1990, Alias’ PowerAnimator software was used to produce Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects in 1991. Alias’ industry standard product, the 3D modeling and animation package, Maya, was delivered in 1998 and is recognized as the world’s premier 3D animation software, used on every film winning the Best Visual Effects Academy Award since 1997.

Toronto is also home to Side Effects Software (SideFX), founded by Kim Davidson and Greg Hermanovic.  Davidson and Hermanovic joined Omnibus, a pioneering company in the then-emerging world of computer graphics, in 1985 and immersed themselves in production by writing their own software and creating visual effects. 

They founded SideFX in 1987 and released the PRISMS software package, which was succeeded by Houdini 3D animation software.  Houdini is used by major visual effects companies and film studios for the creation of visual effects for films including Fantasia 2000, Frozen, Zootopia and Rio.  

SideFX technology and developers, including Kim Davison, Greg Hermanovic, Paul Breslin and Mark Elendt, have been recognized by the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences five times for Houdini and its technology, in 1998, 2003, 2012, and in 2019, where SideFX received the Award of Merit. In 2019, SideFX was awarded a Technology & Engineering Emmy Award.

Developing the next generation of animators

In addition to producing award-winning films and industry-standard 3D animation software, Canadian colleges are renowned for their work in graduating some of the best practitioners in the visual effects and computer animation business.

Sheridan College in Ontario houses the Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design (FAAD), Canada’s largest art school. Sheridan animation alumni have a long history of success at the Academy Awards, including Domee Shi, the first female director of the Pixar short, Bao, which received the award for Best Animated Short in 2019.

The Ian Gillespie Faculty of Design + Dynamic Media at Emily Carr University of Art + Design (ECU) in British Columbia offers the Bachelor of Media Arts (BMA) Program with two animation streams: 2D + Experimental Animation and 3D Computer Animation. Graduates of these Animation BMA Programs have been recruited by major studios and organizations including DreamWorks Animation, Pixar, Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), Universal, and the National Film Board of Canada.

The Faculty of Art at Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD U) in Toronto features an Experimental Animation Program that combines Contemporary Art with Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR), 2D and 3D, Digital Compositing, and Stop Motion. 

Université Laval in Quebec is home to the Faculty of Planning, Architecture, Art and Design (FAAAD), which houses the School of Design, where two courses of animation study include the Bachelor of Animated Arts and Science (BASA) and the Certificate in the Art and Science of Animation (CASA). 

The School of the Arts, Media, Performance, and Design (AMPD) and Lassonde School of Engineering at York University in Toronto offer a Digital Media Arts (DMA) Program. Digital Media Arts is Ontario’s only degree program that integrates Art, Engineering, and Computer Science. 

The School of Creative Arts & Animation at Seneca Polytechnic has several paths to study animation including the Animation Diploma and Graduate Certificates in 3D Animation and Game Art & Animation. 

Moviegoers and animation lovers everywhere benefit from the ground-breaking accomplishments of award-winning Canadian computer scientists, artists, educators, and animators. Canada has made major contributions to the field of computer animation. From the production of the revolutionary Hunger/La Faim, to innovative research conducted in computer graphics labs in universities across the country, and software used by visual effects and film studios around the world, Canada is truly a major player in the world of computer animation.

Mark Jones
Digital Technology Educator, Writer and Producer Photo Credit: David Goldman

As a teenager in suburban Toronto in the 1980s, Mark Jones spent his evenings participating in rehearsals for school plays and musicals or avoiding homework by programming video games on his Atari 800 computer. Today, Mark is an award-winning 25-year veteran of the creative communications and digital technologies industries who has worked as a college teacher and administrator, producer, artist, and writer. And those high school interests have endured as themes in both his education and career paths.

Mark enrolled in the Theatre Program at York University, but left after two years when he understood that his future didn’t include a career as an actor. He joined Addison-Wesley, a publisher of textbooks and computer literature, where he received training in sales, customer service, marketing, and publicity. Mark also learned how to publish, which led to the launch of CyberStage Communications, a consumer arts magazine that he founded in 1994. CyberStage evolved from a printed publication, that Mark’s parents helped to place in bookstores across Toronto, to an internationally-available digital publication that featured original material that focussed on the intersection between art and technology.

In 2000, Mark shifted his focus to digital arts education in his role as Executive Director of OnTarget, an Ontario-wide initiative that provided career development and education support programs for the digital technologies industries. He also continued his studies by completing his undergraduate degree at York University and earning an M.A. in Communication and Culture from Toronto Metropolitan and York Universities.

Through OnTarget’s partnerships with colleges, Mark started to teach courses on Interactive Media Business and Interface Design on a part-time basis at Seneca College in 2001. Mark’s background and experience in education, media, animation, and digital content and his focus on the connection between art and technology led to positions as Coordinator of the school’s Animation Centre, Associate Chair, and now Chair of the School of Creative Arts and Animation, overseeing programs in animation, new media, graphic design, photography, acting and music.

Seneca’s program features a cross-disciplinary model that recognizes the changing conditions in the industry, with a focus on developing student ability in animation art for any specialization rather than for a specific type of production. Under Mark’s direction, Seneca has worked with industry to understand the need for graduates to have traditional art skills as their foundation. The School of Creative Arts and Animation at Seneca operates as art school that teaches animation using technology as appropriate rather than a school that teaches animation software.  In addition to his role as Chair of the School of Creative Arts and Animation, Mark was also integral in founding and is Director of the Seneca Film Institute (SFI), which operates within Seneca’s Faculty of Communication, Art & Design. SFI will work with students across more than 30 programs, providing them with the skills and experiences that will allow them to thrive in Canada’s film industry. 

From his participation in theatre and computer gaming as a high school student, to his studies in and writing about culture and communication, his work at OnTarget, and his successful career at Seneca as a teacher, producer, and administrator, Mark has been immersed in the digital media industry for decades.  He is a founding board member of The Toronto Animation Arts Festival International (TAAFI) and was an executive producer of the animated short Subconscious Password, which won several awards including the Grand Prix at Annecy in 2013 and the Canadian Screen Award in 2014 for Best Animated Short. His work has been recognized by industry awards including the ITAC Hero of the Year Award and the Canadian New Media Award as Industry Advocate of the Year.  

Mark is most proud of Seneca’s happy, successful students who talk about their experience at Seneca as delivering high-quality education, and, as importantly, a supportive community.  Through his work at Seneca, he has played an extraordinary role in training animation and special effects professionals working around the world, including alumni who have worked on films including Coco, The Shape of Water, Toy Story 4, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – all of which have won Academy Awards for animation or special effects.

Mark will continue his work in education in his new position as Dean of the Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design (FAAD), effective Aug. 28. Sheridan College, Canada’s largest art school, is internationally recognized for outstanding programs that train performers, animators, filmmakers, designers, and artists and Mark looks forward to working with the students, faculty, and staff in this role.

Mark’s career path and his experience working with students lead him to provide advice regarding careers in the digital arts. “If you’re a parent, and your son or daughter is expressing an interest in a career related to media, design, or art, support it and discover it with them. The most persistent job myth in Canada today is that a career in these industries is not a route to prosperity.”

Marceli Wein

Dr. Marceli Wein
Computer Animation Pioneer

The first fully computer-animated film was not produced by a Hollywood studio but by the National Film Board of Canada. Hunger/La Faim was directed by Hungarian-born Peter Foldes using technology invented by two Canadians: Nestor Burtnyk, an electrical engineer and Dr. Marceli Wein, a physicist. Marceli’s journey from WWII Poland, where he was a Holocaust hidden child, to a Los Angeles stage in 1997, where he and Burtnyk were presented with Academy Awards for technical achievement, is one that he credits to good luck and the opportunities presented to him along the way.

Marceli was born into a Jewish family in Krakow, Poland. A 4-year-old when World War II started in 1939, he and his family were forced by the Nazis to move to a walled-in ghetto. In 1943, Marceli was sent to a ghetto hospital to be treated for scarlet fever. When his father learned that the hospital would be shut down and all patients killed, he smuggled 9-year-old Marceli out in a blanket and delivered him to a woman who changed his name and hid him, first in a flat in Krakow and subsequently in Warsaw. He was later devastated to learn that his brother, Jerzy, had been shot and that the ghetto his family lived in was liquidated. Both of Marceli’s parents were sent to concentration camps. Only his father survived. Marceli was raised as a Roman Catholic. He still has photos from his First Communion. 

Marceli reunited with his father after the war ended and lived with him and his stepmother and step-brother in Poland and later in Germany. During this time, Marceli learned German while going to school and English by listening to the U.S Armed Forces Radio Network and through tutoring by a Polish soldier who had served in the British army.

Marceli and his family received permission to travel abroad and spent two years as refugees in Munich. Germany. “Canada accepted us”, says Marceli.  Another stroke of good luck, as was choosing Montreal as their new home, where they landed in 1952. Marceli finished high school there and, although his marks in English and History were poor because of his basic English language skills, his high marks in Science and Mathematics resulted in scholarships to McGill University. He graduated in 1958 with a degree in engineering physics with honours in electrical engineering.

His first job was at Marconi, where he worked with magnetrons used in rockets and radar and later designed television sets. Marceli’s run of good luck continued when he went to McGill one June afternoon in 1959 to ask a friend to lunch and instead, ran into one of his physics professors who thought Marceli was there to see him.  Marceli received a tour of the Stormy Weather Group and, by the end of the afternoon, was accepted into the M.Sc. program. “I accidentally became a graduate student”. It was while completing his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees that he worked on transferring images to film – critical to his later pioneering work in computer animation.  

After completing his PhD, Marceli accepted a job as a Research Officer in computing at the National Research Council (NRC).  It was here that he met colleagues Nestor Burnyk and Ken Pulfer and worked with them on interactive computer graphics, with a focus on how non-technical people worked with computers. In 1969, Burtnyk attended a conference in Los Angeles where one of the speakers was a Disney animator who suggested that computers could be used to generate the cels in between those produced by animators for use in filmmaking. Upon his return to Ottawa from the conference, Burtnyk wrote a program that generated the in-between frames for beginning and ending two-dimensional images drawn on a tablet. 

Rene Jodoin from the French Animation Section of the National Film Board of Canada, who was visiting NRC, thought that this technology was suitable for a script that had been submitted by Peter Foldes, an animator in France who had submitted a script for Hunger/La Faim to the Film Board in Montreal. Foldes traveled regularly to Ottawa to collaborate with Marceli and Burtnyk and with Jodoin at the National Film Board.

Hunger/La Faim, which was about greed and gluttony, was made in 18 months, cost $38,893 ($240,747 in 2023 dollars) and was released in 1974. It became the first computer-animated movie to be nominated for an Academy Award, in the Animated Shorts category, and received many other international film awards including the Prix du Jury at the Cannes Film Festival.

Hunger/La Faim was an inspiration for a new generation of Canadian computer animators, leading to the formation of research and training programs in computer graphics and animation and new production companies across Canada and internationally. At the 1996 Festival of Computer Animation at the Ontario Science Centre, Burtnyk and Marceli were recognized for their individual contributions and were each designated as a Father of Computer Animation Technology in Canada.

Toy Story, the first computer-animated feature film, was released by Pixar Animation Studios in November 1995. Ed Catmull, then president of Pixar, nominated Burtnyk and Marceli for a Technical Academy Award to recognize the impact of their work on computer animation in the film industry. And so, two years after his retirement, Marceli and Burtnyk were called to the podium by Helen Hunt to be awarded Technical Academy Award for their pioneering roles in developing computer animation.

Although Marceli trained and worked as a scientist, his advice to young people is to learn to write in order to tell stories.  “The current emphasis on STEM education neglects the need to be able to write and to communicate”.

The computer animation industry and film lovers everywhere benefit from the luck and opportunities that allowed Marceli Wein to survive the Holocaust, emigrate to Canada, complete his studies at McGill, and collaborate with outstanding colleagues at the National Research Council and the National Film Board of Canada.

You can see more of Marceli’s impact in the visualizations below.

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