Canada's Polytechnics welcome Budget 2007



    TORONTO, March 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Polytechnics Canada applauds the federal
government's emphasis on creating opportunities for all Canadians, spurred by
increased investments in applied research and commercialization activities, as
well as in skills and learning. This marks the first time the role of
polytechnics and colleges has been captured in a federal budget.
    "Canada's continued prosperity depends on our ability to innovate,
explore and commercialize new research and discoveries," says Sharon E.
Maloney, Executive Director of Polytechnics Canada, commenting on today's
budget. "Canada's polytechnics are well-positioned to help the linking of
research to business needs."
    In today's budget, Finance Minister Flaherty unveiled a plan aimed at
unleashing Canada's full potential - improving how Canadians access education
and skills training opportunities is critical to ensuring that we meet
productivity and competitiveness goals.
    "We're pleased that the government recognizes the need to invest in
applied research and training," says Maloney. "The applied education and
applied research taking place at Canada's polytechnic institutions is
preparing the next generation of skilled workers who combine advanced
technology and business skills essential for Canada to meet the competitive
pressures arising on multiple fronts."
    Of particular note and importance to Canada's polytechnics are the
federal government's pledges to support applied research and post-secondary
education:

    
    - Permanent support for The College and Community Innovation Program
      (CCIP) administered by NSERC. The members of Polytechnics Canada, with
      their strength in applied research, eagerly await an opportunity to
      participate in the new college-industry partnerships over the next five
      years.
    - Increasing the Canada Social Transfer by $800 million per year with the
      objective of strengthening the quality and competitiveness of Canada's
      post-secondary education system on a per-capita basis. This is a
      welcome increase as, with over 500,000 students, Canada's eight
      polytechnics face many capacity, infrastructure and maintenance
      challenges.

    - Increased investment in the Canada Foundation for Innovation to assist
      with the modernization of research infrastructure at Canadian
      polytechnics and colleges. To conduct world-class applied research
      activities, polytechnics need expanded buildings, labs, and equipment
      in addition to faculty and technical support staff to run these
      facilities.
    - Increased investment in the Federal Granting Councils to adopt a more
      strategic approach and increasingly support multi-disciplinary
      collaborative research to address complex issues and create a real
      advantage for Canada. Support for the collaborative applied research at
      polytechnics and colleges will benefit Canada's competitiveness and
      productivity.
    - Enhanced funding for the Indirect Costs of Research Program will help
      polytechnic institutions to adequately support the additional research
      activities enabled by the new resources provided to the granting
      councils.
    - Dedicated funding for up to five new business-led Networks of Centres
      of Excellence (NCE) in order to enhance the commercialization of
      Canadian ideas and knowledge. Canada's polytechnics look forward to
      working with the NCE's private sector advisory board to assist in the
      accelerated creation of these new networks.
    

    Canada's polytechnics continue to call for Centres of Excellence in
Commercialization of Research in polytechnic institutions. The value of these
centres of excellence is highest where there is a coordinated approach that
brings together research institutions, governments and the private sector to
set priorities and share resources. The elements that make applied research
unique such as: team-based multi-disciplinary projects, researchers with track
records in applied research, hands-on student involvement at the undergraduate
level, and accelerated applied research project schedules from
conceptualization to commercialization make polytechnics a logical step for
future investment in commercialization of research.

    The eight members of Polytechnics Canada make a critically important
contribution to the strength of Canada's economy and its competitive position
in the world.  They are: The British Columbia Institute of Technology in
Vancouver, Conestoga Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in
Kitchener-Waterloo, George Brown College in Toronto, Humber Institute of
Technology and Advanced Learning in Toronto, Northern Alberta Institute of
Technology in Edmonton, SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary, Seneca College in
Toronto, and Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in
Oakville.
    These publicly-funded post-secondary institutions provide a unique and
distinctive range of education and training services to more than
500,000 Canadians annually including Bachelor's Degrees, diplomas,
certification programs, apprenticeships, customized training for business and
government, on-line learning and continuing education. They conduct applied
research in collaboration with industry and also offer joint degrees with
universities.
    Visit the Polytechnics Canada website at:
http://www.polytechnicscanada.ca/




For further information:

For further information: Sharon Maloney, Executive Director,
Polytechnics Canada, (416) 949-2588

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Polytechnics Canada

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FEDERAL BUDGET REACTION 2007

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