28 April 2016

SSHRC launches new Strategic Plan

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) has recently launched an updated Strategic Plan: Advancing Knowledge for Canada’s Future. Three objectives are outlined:

  • To enable excellence in a changing research landscape
  • To create opportunities for research and training through collaborative initiatives
  • To connect social sciences and humanities research with Canadians 

The document is well worth a read - the social and human sciences are increasingly important to realizing the value of innovation and the Strategic Plan shows why. I am a proud supporter of SSHRC and a member  of their Programs and Quality Committee.  This has given me a front row seat to the excellent work SSHRC sponsors across universities and colleges.

While the important of science, technology engineering and math (STEM) are well touted in the media, perhaps less understood is the role of design, business, and social innovation in the overall innovation discussion. SSHRC President Ted Hewitt, states in the document that "The humanities and social sciences have contributed much to our understanding and appreciation of Canada’s rich history, ethnic and cultural diversity and dynamic rural and urban economies." Here at GBC to prove this we need look no further than four recently awarded social innovation research awards from SSHRC - read about our four research teams here.

As the government works on a new Innovation Agenda, SSHRC's updated Strategic Plan offers a key road map for investment and increasing social and economic productivity and prosperity in Canada. A participatory, people-centred innovation agenda will maximize input from the humanities and social sciences and ensure that Canada continues to lead in research excellence and its application into areas of national importance.

22 April 2016

Numeracy and Essential Employability Skills

GBC President Anne Sado was on TVO's the Agenda this past week, participating in a panel on the numeracy gap. It was a good discussion about the need for better math and numeracy, building on a recent study "Closing the Numeracy Gap." This report is worth reading, as it relates well to our ongoing discussion about skills for the innovation economy. George Brown College is focused on providing rounded skills to our students via work integrated learning in all of our programs. This enables a balanced approach to what are called hard and soft skills. College programs it is worth noting articulate clear outcomes and integrate Essential Employability Skills across curricula. This renders explicit the tacit assumptions around the what and the why of education. This is good for students and social and economic development and productivity.

06 April 2016

Federal government launches the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund

Centennial College was the host for today's announcement by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, of the new Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund. This is a $2B investment in public infrastructure at colleges and universities across the country. Ann Buller, president of Centennial College, kicked off the event with a positive message about the nature of colleges and universities as preparing the country for future innovation and productivity, from PhDs inventing to entrepreneurs starting companies, and immigrants and refugees starting a new life. Denise Amyot, CEO of CICan and Paul Davidson, CEO of Universities Canada, both underscored the importance of this funding to the future of education and innovation capacity across the country. Everyone spoke of the necessity to have colleges and universities well funded to support education and innovation, of the complementary nature of the education system. CICan has made a strong case for infrastructure funding in their Budget 2016 submission. This is clearly reflected in today's announcement. Overall it was a good announcement for the PSE sector, who collectively will now set to work to apply for what promises to be a very competitive fund.

05 April 2016

Re$earch Money conference kicks off today

The 15th Annual Re$earch Money Conference kicks off today in Ottawa. This year's theme is Reversing the Trend: Taking Canada's Innovation Game to the Next Level, and the agenda features industry perspectives on innovation - sorely needed in the innovation policy space. Also of note is discussion on innovation talent and open innovation.

A highlight this year is a panel on the Technology Access Centre Network, as I outlined back in November. Ken Doyle, Executive Director of the TACCAT Network, has convened an excellent panel of industry clients from a handful of the TACs. The panel, to be moderated by Bettina Hamelin, VP Partnerships at NSERC, features the following:
  • John Zimmerman, General Manager Ocean Rodeo (Victoria, BC) 
  • H. Chaim Birnboim, MD, MSc , Founder and Chief Scientific Officer deltaDNA (Ottawa, ON) 
  • Brian Robertson, Executive Consultant/Board Member Legend3D (Toronto, ON) 
  • John Helliker, Director, Strategic Partnerships & Screen Industries Research and Training Centre, Sheridan College (Oakville, ON)
Re$earch Money is one of the better conveners of discussion on R&D and innovation policy. For those unable to attend in person the Conference is being live streamed - check this link for details.