Polytechnics Canada welcomes innovation boost in federal budget

OTTAWA, March 22 /CNW/ - Polytechnics Canada welcomes the 2011 federal budget for its recognition of the role our members play in advancing innovation through applied research and commercialization activities. We hope all federal parties will appreciate the critical value and contribution of college-based research and development to the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Budget 2011 contains three key strategic announcements that are a positive and direct response to Polytechnics Canada's recommendations and will benefit the economy by advancing college and polytechnic research for Canadian companies:

  • Supporting 30 new Industrial Research Chairs at polytechnics and colleges with $3 million this year and $5 million annually on a permanent basis starting in 2012/13;
  • Providing $80 million in new funding over three years to help SMEs accelerate their adoption of key information and communications technologies through collaborative projects with polytechnics and colleges; and
  • Allocating $12 million over five years to support joint college-university commercialization projects.

"We appreciate the acknowledgement of our analysis of what is needed to boost meaningful innovation in Canada," says Nobina Robinson, Chief Executive Officer of Polytechnics Canada, the national association of leading research-intensive, publicly funded colleges and institutes of technology. "These budget measures demonstrate ways to use existing programs with modest new investment to encourage Canadian SMEs to generate smart, long-lasting jobs."

In 2009/2010, Polytechnics Canada's nine members engaged over 4,500 students in applied research activities, undertook more than 350 research projects with industry partners and developed some 125 prototypes for various clients. This activity points to a growing industry demand to partner with polytechnics and colleges to get the solutions they need in the timelines they require.

"Our members will seize these new opportunities to demonstrate the contribution they make to Canadian innovation and productivity and to producing skilled workers for the needs of Canadian industry," says John Davies, Chair of Polytechnics Canada and President of Humber College.

For his part, Calgary's Conematic Heating Systems President and CEO, Doug Smith, a key industry champion of Polytechnics Canada says: "These measures support Canadian SMEs that often lack in-house capacity to perform their own R&D by linking them with colleges and polytechnics that excel in assisting us with technology development. Conematic is pleased the federal government recognizes the key role colleges and polytechnics play in SMEs' ability to stay competitive and produce innovative technologies."

Located in Canada's key economic regions, the current Polytechnics Canada members are: British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), SAIT Polytechnic, Olds, Conestoga, Sheridan, Humber, George Brown, Seneca and Algonquin.

Please see our website for other recommendations to the Federal Government:
http://www.polytechnicscanada.ca/publication_resources

For further information:

Ken Doyle
Director of Policy
Polytechnics Canada
Email: kdoyle@polytechnciscanada.ca
Tel. 613-688-0690