Ottawa, March 29, 2012 – The Government of Canada’s Budget maintains support for applied research partnerships between colleges and small and medium enterprises. SMEs constitute 98% of Canadian companies and create more than 70% of new jobs. The Budget focus on investments to support business-driven innovation and entrepreneurship may provide additional opportunities.
The Canada Foundation for Innovation’s College-Industry Innovation Fund provides colleges with funds to acquire research infrastructure, enabling additional partnerships with the private sector to support business innovation. “The Budget announces a further competition with funding to be awarded in 2014-15, which we welcome” said James Knight, President and CEO of ACCC. “In a context of extreme restraint, we have done well to avoid the cuts experienced by other sectors and in the case of CFI, attract new investment.”
The Government of Canada’s support of college-SME innovation partnerships has gained momentum over several budgets. Colleges and their partners have benefitted from the creation of 30 industrial research chairs. Increasing investment through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s College and Community Innovation Program and College-University Idea to Innovation Grants, and the National Research Council of Canada’s Digital Technology Adoption Pilot Program further unleashed potential in the SME sector. “Apart from the benefits for SMEs, college and institute students who participate in applied research will become tomorrow’s innovators and entrepreneurs. We are delighted that federal support will continue,” concluded Knight.
The strategic investment of $37 million annually for enhanced support for industry-academic partnerships through the granting councils could well bring enhanced opportunities for colleges once program details are announced.
In 2010-11, 100 colleges and institutes engaged in applied research; 4,444 enterprises partnered with colleges in applied research projects; and 13,585 students and 1,606 faculty and staff participated. Private sector investment in college-based applied research increased by 13% over the past year.
New investments to support First Nations on reserve elementary and secondary education will ultimately increase participation rates in post-secondary education. The 2006 Census reported that 62% of Aboriginal PSE learners attended colleges and institutes compared to 16% for universities.
Increased investments in the Youth Employment Strategy and in helping Canadians with disabilities gain employment will also bring opportunities for the member institutions.
ACCC is the national voice for 150 publicly-funded colleges and institutes with campuses in 1,000 communities, serving 1,500,000 full- and part-time learners. Ninety percent of college graduates find employment within six months of program completion.
For more information, contact:
Rosemary Lafrenière – Manager, Communications and Information Services
Tel: (613) 746-2222 ext 3123