Treasury Board of Canada President and federal MP for Kings-Hants Scott Brison was on hand at the Innovacorp Enterprise Centre in Halifax this afternoon to announce a conditionally repayable investment of $2,994,928 to help develop QRA Corp’s QVtrace analysis tool.
Brison made the announcement on behalf of Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) Navdeep Bains, and was joined by Member of Parliament for Halifax Andy Fillmore, Innovacorp Managing Director of Investment Greg Phipps, and QRA Corp co-founder and CEO Dr. Jordan Kyriakidis.
“We’ve experience first-hand how the hardware-software boundary has become increasingly blurry, and the rise of design thinking and human-computer interaction is breathtaking – it is transforming the critical infrastructure in which we trust our lives,” said Kyriakidis. “For new systems such as autonomous cars and commercial spacecraft to be deployed and accepted, we need to ensure that errors in the integrated design are caught during the earliest stages of development. These are early days, but that’s what we do. It’s why we exist – and this funding is allowing us to work even harder towards fully accomplishing our mission.”
QRA specializes in systems and requirements engineering technology, allowing engineers to repair vulnerabilities in early stages of development, which can cause project delays and reworks, or potentially catastrophic test failures for safety-critical systems, and are usually introduced through poorly written or ambiguous requirements documents.
In May, QRA Corp celebrated the announcement of more than $6 million for new projects for the company with Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, including a recently announced $2 million contract for Project QVscribe, representing the commercialization of a collaboration that began as a theoretical quantum physics research project in 2008, when Kyriakidis was a physics professor at Dalhousie University.
“Nova Scotia has a dynamic cluster of defence, aerospace and marine companies that will all be looking to QRA Corp for the opportunities that QVtrace can create with regards to cost-savings, innovative design, and advanced analysis,” said Fillmore. “The opportunities aren’t limited to our shores. This is a technology that will have instant international appeal—one that will encourage the world to recognize Nova Scotia’s leadership in creating innovative solutions bound for global markets.”
QVscribe, which is now in use in over 25 countries, will transition out of its free beta period soon, according to QRA Corp., allowing engineers and project managers to apply Natural Language Processing to requirements documents.
With the investment, QRA Corp can develop QVtrace as a platform capable of assisting engineers through the rigors of early-stage engineering design analysis and verification, thereby circumventing the variety of system faults typically encountered during the build stage and uncovering system limitations before physical creation while testing defence and aeronautics designs, among other types of sensitive design projects.
The enhancement of this collaboration with Lockheed Martin will see the creation of 13 new research and development jobs and expand applications for QRA Corp’s technology to new markets.
“The Government of Canada is committed to positioning Canada as a global centre of innovation—one that focuses on strengthening the middle class by creating jobs, driving growth across all industries and improving the lives of all Canadians,” said Brison. “This project is representative of nearly all areas of action contained within our Innovation Agenda, and is representative of research and development that leads to a strong innovation culture in Canada.”
QRA Corp was founded in 2013, on the basis of Kyriakidis and his team’s research initiatives with Lockheed Martin, and now employs 16 people, half of whom are Dalhousie graduates and includes chief operating officer Alex McCallum, who moved to Halifax from Waterloo, Ontario and now leads business development and global sales for QRA.