Ottawa, March 6, 2013 – Canada’s small- and medium-sized businesses are increasingly turning to colleges, institutes and polytechnics for innovative solutions that increase economic growth and drive employment. A new study confirms a record number of applied research partnerships between colleges and private companies or community organizations in 2011-12.
More than 24,000 college students and 1,700 faculty and staff collaborated with 4,586 companies across 524 research areas. 64 percent of college partnerships supported small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in natural resources, energy, environment, health, information and communications technologies, as well as manufacturing and social innovation.
“Canadian college applied research is improving productivity, creating products and new jobs for businesses through greater investments across all sectors of Canada’s economy,” said ACCC President and CEO, James Knight. “Even with ongoing economic uncertainty, private sector investments have increased by 18 percent to $59.4 million, signaling industry confidence in college applied research.”
The Government of Canada continues to be the largest external source of college applied research funding, which more than doubled to $72 million. Provincial and territorial government applied research investments grew to more than $44 million in 2011-12, while institutional investments remained steady at $38 million.
“Federal investments in college applied research represent 2.5 percent of the $2.9 billion in annual funding for higher education research in Canada,” said Dr. Jeff Zabudsky, President and CEO of Sheridan College and Chair of the ACCC Presidents’ Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation. “Based on the success of our small- and medium-sized business partners, we suspect funding will continue to increase.”
The business benefits of college applied research include better production processes, new or improved products and services; and increased interest in R&D. Social innovation partners benefit from adapted or improved services, processes or policies, and improved services for disadvantaged peoples.
Upward adjustments to current research and development funding will stimulate economic growth for Canada’s SME sector, the source of 70 percent of Canada’s new jobs.
ACCC is the national and international voice of Canada’s public colleges and institutes (including polytechnics), with campuses in 1,000 urban, rural and remote communities across the country.
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