25 May 2007

small r, Big D: Polytechnics Canada and Applied Research

Polytechnics Canada convened its annual conference yesterday and today which featured discussion of the goals and rationales of polytechnics, as well as applied research. There were some excellent speakers presenting various perspectives on the polytechnic advantage, and useful discussion of "the commercialization of innovation."

What is an innovation professional? How can we prepare our graduates for work in tomorrow's work force? How do we forecast what skills we will need for the future? These questions were posed by the various speakers and participants. What is clear is that polytechnical education produces graduates who respond to workforce needs. Canada's productivity depends on education: there is a strong correlation between economic prosperity and higher education. The polytechnics have a close articulation with industry for applied education and research.

Our focus on applied research is the Development in R&D. We don't focus as much on research as we do Development, taking basic research developing it further, and participating in producing productivity gains over and above other education sectors. This is the polytechnic advantage.

No comments: