It’s difficult to over estimate the mounting anticipation for the report from Industry Canada’s Expert Panel on Commercialization. At stake is no less the next major component of Canada’s transition to a knowledge-based economy and our future as a small nation seeking to secure a prosperous place in the global economy. Industry minister David Emerson allowed a brief glimpse at some of the panel’s preliminary conclusions in a speech last week before the Canadian Club and the view was encouraging.
To enhance the culture of innovation, The Panel is recommending that government boost the image of S&T and entrepreneurship by encouraging and celebrating the achievements of young Canadians, starting at the high school level. Canada’s ability to attract world class talent should be stimulated with a Canadian equivalent to the US Fulbright Scholarships and the Rhodes Scholarships of the Commonwealth. Such a scholarship would also brand Canada as a country that takes global leadership in S&T and innovation seriously.
The Panel also wants government to encourage more collaboration between academia and industry, by creating awards or scholarships that allow academics to gain industry experience.
After eight years of stoking the nation’s research base, the government is at a critical juncture where is must decide how best to encourage the use of science, technology and innovation. The Panel will be the first major expression of a new direction for S&T policy and how it plans to build a powerful, results-based system of innovation.