15 October 2010

Industry Canada sponsors Expert Panel on Research and Development in Canada

Minister of State for Science and Technology Gary Goodyear yesterday announced the Government of Canada’s Expert Review Panel on Research and Development. This is welcome news that will enable all partners in the Canadian Innovation System to further our capacity to engage industry in R&D and improve social and economic productivity. As the announcement states, Canada leads in Higher Education R&D investment, but lags seriously in Business Expenditures on R&D.  Realignment of this imbalance is a crucial step toward improving productivity and equipping and engaging the next generation of innovation economy workers  who will be well prepared to take on leadership positions with entrepreneurial and problem solving capabilities. As I noted in my last post, teaching innovation literacy as a core competency of every student across the entire education spectrum is one way we can help Canada boost our capacity to innovate.

The Expert Panel as announced by Minister Goodyear is a timely temperature check on how well our innovation system is responding to the needs of industry, and what we can do to further the goal of enhancing industry R&D and innovation more broadly. Nobina Robinson of Polytechnics Canada, of which GBC is a member, is a member of the expert panel.

Of note today corresponding to this key announcement is the report from the Conference Board of Canada on the role of immigrants in improving Canada's innovation capacity. With all net labour force growth set to come from immigration by next year, immigrants as "the embodiment of innovation" will be central to our national performance on innovation and improving productivity. Integrating immigrants swiftly into the labour market, taking advantage of their high degree of education and skills, and equipping them with the tools to get working productivity as quickly as possible are key concerns. George Brown College has been very active in this area, with many programs designed to do this, including our Research Commercialization and Innovation program (currently being revamped for its next intake).

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