Canadian budget focuses on innovation, new economy skills, superclusters

Submitted by Alina Danieles… on 31 March 2017

Our colleagues from SSTI (State Science & Technology Institute – ) inform in their weekly digest about the Canadian budget that focuses on innovation, new economy skills and superclusters:

Industry clusters

The budget calls for nearly $950 million CAD ($709.8 million USD) over five years to support a competition for the creation of an industry-driven effort to build "superclusters." Through this competition, the government hopes to establish “superclusters” across the country led by partnerships between anchor companies, post-secondary institutions and specialized talent in order to drive innovation and encourage growth. These super-clusters will focus on six areas including advanced manufacturing; agri-food; cleantech; digital industries; health/bio-sciences; and, clean resources.

To support the growth of the country’s cleantech industry cluster and adoption of clean technologies, the government will make several large scale investments including $380 million CAD ($283.9 million USD) over three years for Business Development Bank and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED)  to support equity financing to support cleantech firms looking to grow. An additional $570 million CAD ($425.9 million USD) in working capital would be made available over the next three years to support other government investments in cleantech firms. 

Other proposed cleantech funding includes:

  • $400 million CAD ($298.9 million USD) to recapitalize the Sustainable Development Tech Fund dedicated to support cleantech projects across the country;
  • $200 million CAD ($149.4 million USD) over four years for the Natural Resources, Agriculture, Fisheries and Oceans departments to invest in clean technologies at various stages of development;
  • $14.5 million CAD ($10.8 million USD) over four years to develop Clean Technology Data Strategy;
  • $12 million CAD ($9 million USD) over four years to establish an inter-agency Clean Growth Hub.

To support the country’s burgeoning artificial intelligence (AI) cluster, the budget will include $125 million CAD ($92.6 million USD) to launch the PanCanadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy for Research and Talent to position the country as a leader in AI. The intent of the effort is to attract and retain top academic talent in Canada, increase the number of post-graduate trainees and researchers studying AI, and promote collaboration between Canada's main centers of expertise across the country. The program would be administered through CIFAR, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.

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