New federal Science and Technology Strategy

Ottawa, Canada (GLOBE-Net) – The federal government has introduced a new Science and Technology Strategy, seeking more private research and development and selecting natural resources and the environment as priority areas.

The strategy outlines broad policies and measures to promote science and technology development in Canada, identifying private sector investment as the key to bringing environmental and economic solutions forward. “The private sector in Canada needs to do more of what it alone can do, which is to turn knowledge into the products, services, and production technologies that will improve our wealth, wellness, and well-being,” says the strategy.

The environmental technology sector and the natural resources sector are two of the four identified priority research areas, indicating that federal support for development of clean technologies will continue and likely strengthen.

The government notes that only fifty-four per cent of R&D in Canada is performed by business, well below the OECD average of 68 per cent. Canada ranks 14th in the OECD in terms of business expenditures on R&D as a percentage of GDP, and 16th in the OECD in high-quality patents per million population.

The new approach will address the “isolated silos” of government, business and academia to encourage more collaborative research and development. The existing Networks of Centres of Excellence Program will be one of the catalysts for private sector research partnerships, with $11 million in 2008-09 to accelerate the creation of new business-led networks.

A new Centres of Excellence in Commercialization and Research program will also be established, with $350 million over three years to support eight large-scale centres of research and commercialization in priority areas where Canada has the potential to be a global leader, including the Canada School of Sustainable Energy at the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, and the University of Lethbridge.

Some key sources of research funding - the National Research Council of Canada, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the Business Development Bank of Canada – will increase their collaboration to support commercialization.

One organization, Technology Partnerships Canada, will be replaced the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative to support excellence in aerospace and defence R&D.

Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), which recently received an additional $500 million over seven years to support second generation biofuels, appears set to be the main delivery mechanism for early stage R&D funding in the environment industry.

Pre-existing or proposed policy actions outline in the strategy include:

  • Establishing the lowest tax rate on new business investment in the G-7. Assistance to the manufacturing sector for investing in machinery and equipment, aligning capital cost allowances with useful life, and providing a financial incentive to the provinces to facilitate the elimination of provincial capital taxes;

  • $9 million over two years to streamline regulation; and

  • increasing enrolment in university science and engineering programs, to maintain pace with countries such as China and India.

The full plan, Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada’s Advantage, can be found here.

For More Information: Industry Canada

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