The 2021 federal budget undoubtedly provided large and much-needed investments to Canadian science and technology. However, the federal government needs to better articulate its industrial policies and strategy, writes Research Money managing editor Sebastian Leck.
Organization: National Research Council
Nearly $3.4 billion in federal spending through the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) during the last three years has failed to improve Canada’s “disastrous” innovation performance and productivity, say some innovation and policy experts. An analysis by Research Money of SIF data shows that Ontario, Quebec and foreign-based firms have received the lion’s share of SIF funding.
Canada’s continued poor performance in innovation and business productivity is due to a failure to link publicly funded research and innovation programs to an industrial strategy based on the country’s strengths, say innovation experts. Meanwhile, studies by University of Toronto researchers show the federal innovation agenda has negatively impacted funding for basic, investigator-driven research but hasn’t addressed the underlying problem of industrial innovation in Canada.
The Government of Canada seeks to bolster Canada’s biomanufacturing capacity, D-Wave receives $40 million to accelerate Canada’s quantum technology development, the federal government invests in Canada’s longest-ever study on aging, Quebec’s Lion Electric gets ready to break ground on a new battery manufacturing plant, and more.
UVic is the latest university in Canada to cut fossil fuels from its investment portfolio, Nova Scotia’s fish and seafood sector gets a boost, a promising snapshot of Ontario’s developing AI ecosystem, and more.
Canada needs to be prepared for the “tectonic shift” of intangibles powering new ways of delivering services that contribute more than three-quarters of Canada’s GDP, Bert van den Berg writes in an op-ed.
Innovation experts and business groups are stepping up calls for the federal government to fix a “weak and out of balance” innovation ecosystem. Canada continues to lag other countries in innovation performance and productivity, according to international indexes.
Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada, in a detailed response to growing criticisms, defends the federal government’s innovation performance, policies and programs.
Integrating artificial intelligence into research and government is necessary, but requires more attention to ethical, security and data literacy issues, experts told the Canadian Science Policy Centre’s annual conference.
After decades of neglect, the government is making a 25-year commitment to renew aging federal science labs, and encourage more collaboration with industry and academia.