29 January 2008

NRC's Innovation News

The recent issue of the National Research Council's NRC Newslink arrived recently (refreshingly in paper format, though it is also online) and features a few good stories on the innovation front. NRC President Pierre Coulombe posits "The Power of Partnerships" in his editorial, rightly extolling the NRC's track record in providing innovation R&D services in concert with academia and business. Missing from his discussion of the NRC's position on R&D relative to the Science and Technology Strategy is the value of the applied research sector, now nascent in Canadian college and Polytechnics (with some exceptions), but growing well. College and Polytechnic applied research has historically close ties to industry, so is well positioned to be a strong contributor to the national S&T agenda. And speaking of the S&T Strategy, Industry Canada Minister Jim Prentice is expected to announce new "funding strategies" for industry and innovation, expected in Budget 2008. A recent Globe and Mail report quotes Finance Minister Jim Flaherty as saying that "Mr. Prentice is preparing a research, development and innovation strategy that "'industries could tap into.'" This will likely be along the lines of the Business Led NCE program.

Another story in the NRS Newslink is about the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), which features NRC-licensed technology to be used at the facility. ALMA has a Canadian project website (404 for me right now). Last year I visited the Very Large Array in New Mexico--a fascinating place and a terrific example of scientific research in action. The photo on the right was taken during my visit.

24 January 2008

Applied Research Innovation Rounds

Please join us at the Office of Applied Research and Innovation’s Innovation Rounds

Come and learn what’s new in applied research@GBC
and hear a presentation by John Camarda’s research team
who will discuss their work on

How to prevent exploding bread

Lunch will be served

Date: February 6, 2008
Time: 11:30 am to 1:00 pm
Location: St James Campus, A 560E

Space is limited, so please RSVP by Feb. 1, 2008 to

23 January 2008

Colleges Ontario Network for Industry Innovation Health Node Symposium

The Colleges Ontario Network for Industry Innovation Health and Life Sciences Node is sponsoring a one day symposium:

Healthy Choices: Innovation, Commercialization and College Applied Research in Health and Life Sciences
March 28, 2008
Seneca College Residence and Conference Centre

This one day symposium offers an opportunity to showcase your latest applied research projects, network with colleagues and industry/community partners and develop an action plan for advancing college and industry/community applied research and innovation in the health and life sciences sector.

Each CONII college will present results of recent research projects highlighting industry/community partnerships and applications. Additionally, each college will be presenting posters of applied research projects in this sector. In the afternoon, participants will work in facilitated groups to address key questions on the future of college applied research in this sector and to develop an action plan for future applied research in the health sector.

18 January 2008

Toronto unveils Prosperity Agenda

The City of Toronto today unveiled their "Agenda for Prosperity," a plan for the city to lead the region in cultivating creativity for the benefit of our prosperity index. Mayor David Miller created the Mayor’s Economic Competitiveness Advisory Committee to come up with a plan to "position Toronto as a leading global city of the 21st century." George Brown College President Anne Sado is a member of this committee.

The report fits well with building a regional innovation economy, along the lines of federal and provincial research and development sponsorship (S&T Strategy; Ontario's Ministry of Research and Innovation), and the Toronto Region Research Alliance's recent Toronto Region Innovation Gauge. This report is interesting for its comprehensive look at the GTA and our capacity to engage in innovation. The TRRA looked at innovation inputs, process, and outputs, and tells us that in the GTA the "innovation engine that is not performing up to its considerable potential."

A couple of articles on the Agenda for Prosperity (from the Globe and Eye Weekly) offer some good analysis of the potential - both economic and social - that the GTA innovation index has for the surrounding region, if not Canada. Ontario's movement toward harmonizing the research and innovation conduits within an integrated education system (one in which greater academic mobility is leveraged for the benefit of students, community and industry alike) will strengthen our overall social and economic competitiveness. This is the "collaborate to compete" model: working together to build a better social and economic climate.

17 January 2008

Innovation in the news

The latest ORION newsletter is available, and contains some interesting news from the world of innovation, including the announcement of the annual ORION Awards.

The newsletter tells of the Powering Research and Innovation - A joint ORION-CANARIE Summit, to be held in Toronto on 3-4 November 2008. CANARIE, whose mandate has been extended until 2012, is Canada's premier Internet R&D organization.

There is also an interesting piece on the use of Second Life by Loyalist College.

08 January 2008

Funding available for e-learning content development projects

Inukshuk has recently launched their 2008 call for proposals. The announcement is below:

Launch of Inukshuk Wireless' 2008 Funding Program

Announcing the launch of Inukshuk Wireless' 2008 Calls for Proposals, an exciting opportunity for partnerships between Inukshuk Wireless and the learning communities of Canada!

Inukshuk Wireless invites you to submit an Expression of Interest for funding of:

An innovative and creative Content Development Project to develop multimedia and feature-rich learning content, applications or learning environments,


A Connectivity Project which results in the provision of wireless broadband internet access to unserved or underserved communities.

To find out more about the availability of funds in each region and to obtain additional information on how to apply for funding, go to www.inukshuk.ca. It's worth a look!

We look forward to receiving your Expression of Interest in the very near future.

02 January 2008

Innovation, education

Happy new year!

An article today about the impact on education of the Alberta oil boom gives a balanced report on Alberta's push for educational investment with its petro-dollars. The cautions raised are fair, but this is a very worthwhile investment in the future when the oil sands dry up, or, perhaps more likely, they give way to greener power.

A related piece from last week by Todd Hirsch raised similar issues with innovation. His piece "Maybe we're just too lazy to invent things" looks at the number of per capita patents in the US and Canada. (Unfortunately, his article is buried in the online archives - you have to subscribe to get access). What both articles have in common is the call for a balanced approach to education - we need both sciences and engineering and social sciences to make innovation work. This will in turn foster innovaiton and ideas that can have social and economic benefit.