04 November 2009

Inside ACCC outlines applied research advocacy

The latest issue of Inside ACCC - the Association of Canadian Community College's newsletter - links to a story in the Hill Times by ACCC President James Knight that outlines the value proposition of college applied research. In "Goodyear should look to Canada’s colleges, institutes and polytechnics to get innovations ‘out the door'," Knight says
Colleges, institutes and polytechnics are leaders in applied research and technology transfer, yet the role of these institutions in Canada’s research and development agenda is not adequately understood. They help businesses start, develop and grow, and are vital contributors to our innovation system. Building on a half-century of experience, they embody an enormous concentration of expertise on the application of technology to process improvement and product development. They are graduating our next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs. More than any other institutions, they are key to improving Canada’s lagging productivity.

Improving productivity is essential if Canada is to compete in the innovation economy. The innovation economy is both a driver and an outgrowth of a knowledge- based society that requires us to ensure our graduates are not only content experts in their fields of choice, but also expert learners, able to adapt to our changing world. By directly involving our students in applied research we promote innovation literacy, producing graduates who have research, problem solving, leadership and entrepreneurial skills, along with the ability to recognize innovation in their work contexts. This is in addition to the job-ready skills our graduates already possess.

The ACCC has established a Science and Technology committee "to strengthen the position of colleges, institutes and polytechnics within Canada’s science, technology and research agenda and to access sustained funding." Access to secure funding for college applied research is one tenet of the ACCC advocacy agenda.

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