15 June 2016

Federal government launches Innovation Agenda, Science Review

The last couple of days have been a busy one on the Canadian innovation policy front. The new Innovation Agenda consultation process has been launched by Minister Bains, and prior to that Minister Duncan launched the Science Review. The latter looks at basic research, and the former applied research and experimental development. Amidst this the Institute for Research on Public Policy convened a discussion and published a review of the Jenkins Panel report. All of this is good for Canada - if it leads to substantive changes in how we invest in the continuum of research and innovation.

The Innovation Agenda is most relevant to colleges and polytechnics, and we are well represented in the language - our focus on industry-partnered research is a key platform for innovation, for both the private and public sectors. Specifically the background on the Innovation Agenda asks: "How can colleges play a larger role in the innovation ecosystem?" This is a positive step forward for the country and our urgent need to refocus efforts on research and innovation for Canadian productivity gains.

In addition, the Technology Access Centres, represented by Tech-Access Canada, are well suited to being the portal into local and regional innovation ecosystems (a point expertly made by NSERC president Dr Mario Pinto at the recent launch of Tech-Access Canada). TACs are at the forefront of college applied research, enabling the innovation economy in several important sectors and clusters. The colleges, cegeps and polytechnics that form Tech-Access Canada are already functioning as important portals into regional ecosystems, supporting private firms to get new products to market swiftly.

As the Canadian college and polytechnic applied research system matures, the Innovation Agenda offers an important avenue for enhancing the strategic value we represent to the country. Earlier in May GBC submitted advice to Minister Bains on the Innovation Agenda. In preparing this input we gained advice from our Innovation Advisory Board, industry partners, and the Practical Policy Exchange (PPX), an ad hoc collaboration of public and private sector participants we convene for input on important policy matters relevant to the College. Our input was organized according to the following themes:
  • Canada has a two-fold productivity problem
  • Start-ups need to Scale-up, and Stay up
  • Work-Integrated Learning drives industry innovation
  • Supporting homegrown talent
  • Place matters to innovation
  • De-Risk personal innovation investments
  • Engaging First Nations communities 
  • Enhancing Academic Productivity 
  • IP Pooling from public R&D creates public value
  • Bridging the Academic-Industry divide
  • Innovate the machinery of government
Watch this space in the days to come for our input.

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