Canadian Government Announces Details of $950 Million “Supercluster” Initiative
On May 24, 2017, Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, officially launched the $950 million federal government initiative to select and develop up to five innovation superclusters in Canada. This initiative, the largest federal investment in innovation in Canadian history, is intended to create well-paying middle class jobs for Canadians to jumpstart innovation in Canada’s high-growth sectors and strengthen Canada’s economy as a whole.
Superclusters are dense areas of business activity focussed on particular areas of innovation intended to create many of the middle-class jobs of today and tomorrow. They attract large and small companies that collaborate with universities, colleges and not-for-profit organizations, forming a consortium to turn ideas into solutions that can be brought to market.
This initiative, promised in the March, 2017 federal budget, will select up to five superclusters designed to accelerate Canada’s global advantage in highly innovative industries such as advanced manufacturing, agri-food, clean technology, digital technology, health-bioscience, clean resources, infrastructure and transportation.
“The historic superclusters initiative announced today will create well-paying middle-class jobs and help grow the economy,” said Navdeep Bains. “Our government’s Innovation and Skills Plan will equip Canadians with the skills they need for the jobs of today and tomorrow, and this investment in innovation will create those jobs.”
Applications for funding under the program are open to “industry-driven consortia” and must be submitted by either a Canadian company or an international company with operations in this country that is leading the consortium. Each business-led consortium must include companies of all sizes, as well as post-secondary institutions or not-for-profit organizations. Further, each consortium must be incorporated as a not-for-profit organization governed by a board of directors, and each business-led consortium must commit to matching dollar for dollar the federal contribution approved under the program.
The application process consists of two phases. The first phase requires a letter of intent by July 21, 2017. Those applicants successful in phase one will be shortlisted and required to submit detailed proposals by October 20, 2017. Proposals will be evaluated on their strategy for creating and growing new companies, creating highly skilled jobs, equipping Canadians with the knowledge and skills for the jobs of the future, attracting private investment and generating meaningful economic activity that leads to prosperity for Canadians.
The formal launch of the supercluster initiative is the next step in the federal government’s commitment to developing Canada’s high-growth technology industries.
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