Sub Menu

Main Content

Canadian SMEs benefit from college and institute applied research

Ottawa, May 18, 2016 – Over 5,500 Canadian companies turned to their local college or institute last year to meet their innovation needs, develop new products or improve their services, according to Colleges and Institutes Canada’s (CICan) latest report on applied research. This sends a strong signal to those who will be shaping Canada’s innovation agenda.

The association has been tracking the steady growth of applied research at colleges and institutes since 2005 and launched its most recent report, titled “Applied Research: Partnered Innovation for Businesses and Communities” in Ottawa during a special Hill Times event called “Sparking Innovation”.

The report shows that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the main beneficiaries of colleges and institutes’ growing research capacity. Of all the private sector partners working with colleges and institutes, 78% are SMEs.

Satisfaction with colleges and institutes applied research services is evidenced by the investments that partner businesses bring to these projects: federal funding allocated to applied research in colleges and institutes is matched dollar for dollar by the private sector. In 2014-15, the private sector was the largest source of investment for college and institute applied research at $80 million, representing 40% of all external investment. This is followed closely by federal government investments which represents 38% or $74.6 million.

“Canada is fortunate to have this R&D infrastructure in place, through colleges and institutes, to support the innovation needs of SMEs”, noted Denise Amyot, president and CEO of CICan. “Considering small businesses make up 98% of companies in Canada, but only 31% invest in research and development, there is much potential to strengthen their innovation capacity and productivity. Colleges and institutes offer all the vital ingredients: ready access to leading edge facilities and equipment; the expertise of faculty who understand the needs of industry; and most important of all, the skills, energy and creativity of students who bring the latest technology and new thinking into the workplace. Applied research projects solve today’s problems and prepare the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs to deal with tomorrow’s.”

For more information or to download CICan’s report on applied research activity visit:

Colleges and Institutes Canada is the national and international voice of Canada’s publicly supported colleges, institutes and polytechnics. Its members work with industry and social sectors to train 1.5 million learners of all ages and backgrounds at campuses serving over 3,000 urban, rural and remote communities in Canada. The association operates in 29 countries via 12 offices around the world.


For more information:
Julien Abord-Babin
Senior Strategic Communications Officer Colleges and Institutes Canada
Tel. : 613-746-2222 ext. 3131
Twitter : @CollegeCan