Canadian Government Announces Winners of $950 Million “Supercluster” Initiative
|Lawyer||Dan Eitutis, Allan Goodman|
On February 15, 2018, The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced the winners of the federal government’s high-tech “superclusters” initiative, launched May 24, 2017. Through the initiative, the federal government will invest $950 million of public funding into five innovation “superclusters” located across the country (see our May 30, 2017 Update, Canadian Government Announces Details of $950 Million "Supercluster" Initiative).
The supercluster initiative was a focal point in the March, 2017 federal budget. The project was designed to encourage academia and businesses to work together on strategies to boost fast-growing sectors, and help Canada maintain and grow its global stature in high-tech and emerging fields.
What is a Supercluster?
“What is a supercluster? It is a made-in-Canada Silicon Valley that will create tens of thousands of jobs – that’s what a supercluster is” Minister Bains stated when announcing the initiative winners. Superclusters are dense areas of business activity focussed on particular areas of innovation. They are intended to create many of the middle-class jobs of today and tomorrow. Within superclusters, large and small companies form consortiums with universities, colleges and not-for-profit organizations to turn ideas into solutions that can be brought to market. Minister Bains predicts the establishment of these industry and research hubs across Canada will grow the economy by $50 billion over the next decade and create more than “50,000 middle-class jobs”.
The Five Winning Superclusters
Approximately 50 applicants to the supercluster program were narrowed down to nine finalists. The five winning superclusters are as follows:
- Digital Technology Supercluster (British Columbia): This supercluster will use bigger, better datasets and cutting-edge applications of augmented reality, cloud computing and machine learning to improve service delivery in the natural resources, precision health and manufacturing sectors. Over the next ten years, it is expected to contribute $5 billion to the Canadian GDP and create more than 13,500 jobs.
- Protein Industries Supercluster (Prairie provinces): This supercluster seeks to make Canada a leading source for plant proteins, and will use plant genomics and novel processing technology to increase the value of key Canadian crops, such as canola, wheat and pulses that are coveted in high-growth foreign markets, such as China and India, as well as to satisfy growing markets in North America and Europe for plant-based meat alternatives and new food products. Over the next ten years, it is expected to contribute $4.5 billion to the Canadian GDP and create more than 4,500 jobs.
- Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster (Ontario): This supercluster, focussed on training and technology adoption, will build up next-generation manufacturing capabilities, incorporating technologies like advanced robotics and 3D printing. Over the next ten years, it is expected to contribute $13.5 billion to the Canadian GDP and create more than 13,500 jobs.
- AI-Powered Supply Chains Supercluster (SCALE.AI) (Quebec, spanning Quebec-Windsor corridor): This supercluster will help small and medium-sized Canadian business scale, and will bring the retail, manufacturing, transportation, infrastructure, and information and communications technology sectors together to build intelligent supply chains through artificial intelligence and robotics. Over the next ten years, it is expected to contribute $16.5 billion to the Canadian GDP and create more than 16,000 jobs.
- Ocean Supercluster (Atlantic Canada): This supercluster will harness emerging technologies to strengthen Canada's ocean industries – industries including marine renewable energy, fisheries, aquaculture, oil and gas, defence, shipbuilding, and transportation. Over the next ten years, it is expected to contribute $14 billion to the Canadian GDP and create more than 3,000 jobs.
The winning superclusters represent more than 450 businesses, 60 post-secondary institutions and 180 other participants, such as research institutions and non-government organizations. They will receive between $150 million and $250 million each, distributed over five years, which will be matched dollar for dollar by the private sector.
The supercluster initiative not only solidifies the federal government’s commitment to unlocking Canada’s innovation potential, but seeks to propel Canada’s innovation ecosystem and the country’s emergence as a leader in the global technology landscape.
Goodmans Tech Group
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