Editorial 32-2

The Innovation Superclusters Initiative (ISI) competition for the Liberal government’s most expensive funding program to date has wrapped up after nine months.

But even before the decision was announced, some superclusters that didn’t make it to the next phase of the two-stage process have moved on to consider other government funding opportunities, maybe not as big as the $950 million available in the ISI, but nonetheless public support that could help lessen the risk for those doing R&D.

There are many other programs out there, and the challenge for any company or organization interested in government funding is to swim through a sea of possibilities. Some stakeholders tell RE$EARCH MONEY that there are even competing options and that they can’t make sense of how to allocate their time drafting proposals for each one. Others say the challenge for government is how to reach out to companies and organizations for them to know of available opportunities. Another challenge is meeting deadlines that sometimes overlap.

And this is just at the federal level. Counting the programs at the provincial or territorial and municipal levels, there’s plenty of funding prospects that could possibly help companies and organizations who really want to innovate.

Governments at all levels should not assume that the target audience will come in droves. There should be conscious and aggressive efforts for all governments to reach out actively to the intended targets of the different innovation programs while streamlining intake channels through entities like the National Research Council’s concierge service. Of course, almost every intended company or organization wants to aim for the biggest funding. But that’s not possible all the time.

It takes a concerted effort on the part of both funding entities and the prospective recipients to make sure that Canada enhances its participation in the knowledge economy and not get left out of the global innovation race. Both should actively reach out to each other. Because innovation can’t wait. It’s imperative that everyone does their share.

Veronica Silva Cusi, Editor