Editorial - 16-12

Guest Contributor
July 29, 2002

Two of Canada’s most respected research organizations are pushing to have an even greater impact on the nation’s innovative capacity. The Canadian Microelectronics Corp (CMC) and Precarn Inc are both massaging their strategic directions and seeking new funding sources as the federal government prepares to launch a national innovation strategy (see pages 3 & 5).

The changes being implemented by the two organizations are more than mere window dressing designed to cast them in the best light. The optics of emphasizing their enabling capacity across a wide variety of sectors may be politically astute, but what’s undeniable is the need for research entities that can develop platforms and train researchers to generate new cutting-edge applications.

Their subtle re-positioning also plays to the government’s reluctance to create new organizations. CMC and Precarn need to forcefully demonstrate the wisdom of building on their excellent base of networks, collaborators and visibility. If they succeed, additional investment by Ottawa and other public and private bodies is far more likely.

Positioning microsystems and intelligent systems as enabling technologies offers a vision into a future in which their roles are both pervasive and positioned to support many applications in many sectors. But they are just two of a growing number of groups seeking the government’s attention and cash. It’s critical that bureaucrats and politicians alike understand and endorse their strategic importance in a knowledge-based society and act accordingly.

Mark Henderson, Managing Editor

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