15 August 2012

Polytechnics Canada Pre-Budget 2013 Recommendations

Polytechnics Canada has put forward their Pre-Budget 2013 Recommendations, available on their website. Notable is the continued support of college applied research and the further development of apprenticeship. As I've noted before, the skilled trades are the knowledge workers of the innovation economy, providing a much needed link between our capacity to think up new ideas and to put them into practice - the connection between thinking, making and innovation is a cornerstone of a healthy economy.

The Polytechnics Canada submission has three key recommendations for improving the public-private partnership model of R&D (what we call P3RD):

Through re-allocating funds to industrial applied research, the federal government can help more companies overcome the “death valley” of commercialization and become competitive. Three specific actions are to:
  • Implement a national commercialization voucher program that allows Canadian firms to choose the late-stage commercialization support they need, as recommended by the OECD study;
  • Increase funds for the College Community Innovation Program to $50 million per year to address unmet demand from firms for innovation solutions;
  • Expand the eligibility of NSERC’s Industrial Undergraduate Student Research Awards program to include college undergraduate students.
Fostering improved industry-academic collaborations through a P3RD model is an essential component of helping Canada improve its innovation and productivity. Reforming our approach to education along the way by providing a more modern approach to credential laddering and articulation will in turn foster greater education and training capacity throughout the economy. This can be understood as a productivity issue on the education system, and while Canada regulates education provincially, we have a unique opportunity to leverage federalism to enable greater mobility of highly qualified and skilled personnel across the life span. Life-long and life-wide learning will thus enable greater diffusion of innovation.

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