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Ottawa, December 6, 2010 - The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, today announced that the Harper government is fast-tracking innovations from the lab to the marketplace through grants to five new Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR). This investment will create jobs and help to foster environments where researchers are able to commercialize their findings to the benefit of Canadians. The five new centres will respectively support microelectronic businesses, regenerative medicine technologies, medical imaging innovations, monitoring technologies used in Canada's North, and the wireless industry.
"Our government understands that an innovative society and economy depend on creative thinkers whose potential is encouraged and supported," said Minister Clement. "That's why we are investing in the ideas, products and technologies generated by these Centres of Excellence to create jobs and businesses, help develop highly skilled people, strengthen our economy and position Canada for long-term prosperity."
The MiQro Innovation Collaborative Centre (Bromont, Quebec), the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (Toronto, Ontario), the Centre for Imaging Technology Commercialization and Research (London, Ontario), Leading Operational Observations and Knowledge for the North (St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador) and the Wavefront Wireless Commercialization Centre (Vancouver, British Columbia) will share $61.1 million over the next five years to pursue major discoveries and product innovations and bring them to the marketplace. Each of these new centres was selected following a rigorous peer review process involving expert panels and a private sector advisory board.
Dr. Suzanne Fortier, Chair of the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) Steering Committee and President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), said the CECR program plays an integral role in the government's science and technology (S&T) strategy for a more prosperous, advanced and competitive Canada.
"We welcome these five Centres of Excellence into the NCE family," said Dr. Fortier. "The centres help translate leading-edge research into practical solutions for Canadians, addressing many of our country's greatest health, environmental, social and economic challenges."
The CECR program is a cornerstone of Canada's science and technology (S&T) strategy, launched by Prime Minister Harper in 2007. The goals of the strategy are to encourage more private sector investment in research and development, to ensure that discoveries are translated into practical applications, to build upon our strong research base to position Canada at the leading edge of discoveries, and to develop, attract and retain the highly skilled people that Canada needs to thrive in the global knowledge-based economy.
More information on each new Centre of Excellence is provided in the attached backgrounder.
For further information (media only), please contact:
Office of the Honourable Tony Clement
Minister of Industry
Networks of Centres of Excellence
Today, Minister Clement announced five new recipients of grants under the Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) program. The CERC program focuses on bringing the innovations of Canada's world-class researchers to the global marketplace more swiftly. $61.1 million will go toward the creation of five new Centres of Excellence focused on creating an environment where researchers are able to commercialize their findings and help improve the lives of every day Canadians.
1. MiQro Innovation Collaborative Centre, Bromont, Quebec - $14.1 million
Microelectronics is a strategic industry that generates prosperity and creates well-paying jobs. The impact of this industry on the global economy is significant - in 2009 it represented US$224 billion. The MiQro Innovation Collaborative Centre (C2MI) was created through an initial investment of $218 million, supported by its three founding partners, the Université de Sherbrooke, IBM Canada Ltd. and DALSA Semiconductor, and by the governments of Canada and Quebec. With the creation of the centre, an integrated innovation chain will be established. It will result in 250 high-technology jobs and solidify some 3,000 others. It will enhance the training of university researchers, stimulate development, accelerate the international commercialization of our innovations in the area of complex microsystems, and foster the creation of microelectronic businesses in Canada.
2. Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine, Toronto, Ontario - $15 million
The vision of the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM) is to accelerate the commercialization of regenerative medicine (RM) technologies by bringing together business leadership and innovative stem cell and biomaterial technology development. CCRM will leverage partnerships and substantial resources from the private sector, scientific expertise, intellectual property and major public investment, which together will position Canada as the best place worldwide to invest in RM. The new, sustainable Canadian-based RM pipeline will be capable of attracting long-term partner investment as well as supporting and creating RM-based companies. Their high-value products and next-generation drugs will treat the many devastating diseases that affect our aging population and will change the paradigm of health care in Canada.
3. Centre for Imaging Technology Commercialization and Research, London, Ontario - $13.3 million
The Centre for Imaging Technology Commercialization and Research (CITCR) will address the barriers that prevent Canadian medical imaging companies from commercializing imaging technology. CITCR will help these small and medium-sized enterprises with the expertise, technical capabilities and infrastructure needed to become internationally competitive. It will also promote training and investment in imaging technology through the cultivation of new partnerships between the private sector and academic centres and will play an active role in managing intellectual property. These activities will attract new investments that lead to jobs and economic growth and will encourage greater interaction between academic centres and the private sector. CITCR provides the Canadian medical imaging sector with the best opportunity to establish and maintain worldwide leadership in innovation and technological development and have the greatest impact on the economy and the health care system.
4. Leading Operational Observations and Knowledge for the North, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador - $7.1 million
The mission of the Leading Operational Observations and Knowledge for the North (LOOKNorth) Centre is to commercialize the emerging technologies that are used to monitor conditions in Canada's North and are essential to the development of northern natural resources. Through its engagement of resource industries, researchers, service providers, local communities and government organizations, LOOKNorth will define industry needs by sector, develop business cases for new technologies that address those needs, and generate opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises to secure a niche market for these monitoring technologies.Supported by a growing research capacity, Canadian industry is well positioned to export the services commercialized through LOOKNorth to an international market. In bringing together expertise from Canada and abroad, LOOKNorth will position Canada as an international leader in monitoring technologies for northern environments.
5. Wavefront Wireless Commercialization Centre, Vancouver, British Columbia - $11.6 million
The Wavefront Wireless Commercialization Centre (WWCC) will drive the growth of Canadian wireless companies by acting as a national resource hub connecting them to multinational wireless companies, the academic community, investors and wireless associations. These partnerships will generate a number of benefits for Canada, including growing and creating companies and jobs; increasing cross-sector innovation, productivity and return on academic investments; fostering the creation of new intellectual property; expanding export opportunities and raising Canada's international brand; encouraging foreign direct investment in Canada; and promoting Canada's digital literacy. In partnership with 26 Canadian universities, WWCC will communicate industry's technical challenges to academic institutions and provide greater opportunities to convert academic research into commercial products and services. As the worldwide market for the wireless industry approaches $1 trillion, WWCC will enable Canadian companies to succeed on a global scale, capitalize on the next wave of wireless innovation and drive Canada's digital economy strategy.
In 2007, Prime Minister Harper launched Canada's Science and Technology Strategy which focuses on four priority areas of innovation: environmental science and technologies, natural resources and energy, health and life sciences, and information and communication technologies. The Strategy is a multi-year framework that will create an encouraging environment for innovation partnerships between the academic, private and public sectors, and will guide the strategic investment of public funds. Through the S&T strategy, the Harper Government is promoting world-class excellence, targeting more resources to priority areas in the national interest, creating partnerships, working collaboratively with the provinces, and holding itself accountable for delivering results that matter to Canadians.
The CECR program is integral to Canada's Science and Technology Strategy. Since launching the strategy, the Harper Government has invested over $225 million to create 17 Centres in the four priority areas.
The CECR competition and program are administered by the NCE Secretariat, which supports successful research partnerships between universities, industry, not-for-profit organizations and government. The CECR program is an initiative of the three federal granting agencies – the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council – in partnership with Industry Canada.