Government of Canada announces new energy research network in Regina - Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence solve problems, advance innovation and create jobs



    REGINA, SK, Jan. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister
of State (Science and Technology) today announced the establishment of a new
Business-Led Network of Centres of Excellence (BL-Network) in Regina.
    Government of Canada support for the Sustainable Technologies for Energy
Production Systems (STEPS) Network will help to improve access to hydrocarbon
resources in Canada and around the world by developing advanced technologies
and innovations in an environmentally sustainable and economically viable way.
    "Investments in science and technology are helping to create the
necessary conditions for sustainable, long-term economic growth," said
Minister of State Goodyear. "Research and development creates jobs, improves
the quality of life of all Canadians and builds a more diverse and resilient
economy over the long-term."
    BL-Networks are large-scale, collaborative research networks led by the
private sector and focussed on specific business research needs. This program
is a key commitment of Canada's Science and Technology Strategy, Mobilizing
Science and Technology to Canada's Advantage, announced in May 2007. In its
last three budgets, the government has invested almost $2.4 billion in support
of the S&T strategy's objectives to build a stronger future for Canadian
families and businesses.
    The BL-Networks program is administered by the Networks of Centres of
Excellence (NCE) Secretariat. Launched in 1989, the NCE is an initiative of
the three federal granting agencies-the Natural Sciences and Engineering
Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities
Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Canadian Institutes for Health
Research (CIHR)-in partnership with Industry Canada.
    "The NCE program is proud to be a part of the Government's vision for a
more prosperous, advanced and competitive Canada," said Dr. Suzanne Fortier,
Chair of the NCE Steering Committee and President of NSERC. "These new
BL-Networks will work on important, multifaceted Canadian problems while
bringing the very best ideas to the marketplace. We look forward to helping
them achieve their maximum potential and impact."
    The Sustainable Technologies for Energy Production Systems (STEPS)
Network will receive $10.5 million over four years.
    Four new Business-Led Network of Centres of Excellence worth $39.2
million are being created. One project was announced on January 7 and
information on the others will be announced shortly.

    
                                 BACKGROUNDER

               Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence
    

    Business-Led Networks are large-scale, collaborative research networks
led by the private sector and focused on specific business research needs.
They are a key element of the Government of Canada's Science and Technology
(S&T) Strategy, Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada's Advantage,
introduced in May 2007. This multi-year framework is creating an environment
that encourages innovation partnerships between the academic, private and
public sectors, and guides the intelligent, strategic investment of public
funds.
    Budget 2007 provided $46 million to create the BL-Networks. The
competition was launched in October 2007 and targeted aimed at creating
Centres in the four S&T priority areas: health and life sciences, information
and communications technologies (ICT), natural resources and energy, and
environmental sciences and technologies, plus management, business and
finance. The BL-Networks are funded for four years.

    Sustainable Technologies for Energy Production Systems (STEPS),
    Regina, SK

    The STEPS Network envisions itself as the national focus for leading-edge
scientific and engineering innovations that address hydrocarbon energy
production sustainability challenges, ensuring a secure and affordable supply
of clean energy for Canadians. The Network will improve access to hydrocarbon
resources in Canada and around the world by developing advanced technologies
and innovations that address economic and environmental sustainability
challenges. The test bed will be Saskatchewan resources and those in the rest
of the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin, which serve as a proxy to the
currently unrecoverable 70% of oil reserves worldwide. The STEPS program
builds on and significantly expands the Enhanced Oil Recovery Research Program
at the Regina-based Petroleum Technology Research Centre (PTRC). Engaging
industry in the design of technology development projects, prototypes and
demonstrations will allow for the retention and retraining of the industry's
workforce and the education and development of the next generation of workers.

    Network Leader: Dr. Carolyn Kim Preston, Petroleum Technology Research
    Centre.




For further information:

For further information: Gary Toft, Director of Communications, Office
of the Minister of State (Science and Technology), (613) 943-7599; Natasha
Gauthier, Communications Manager, Networks of Centres of Excellence, (613)
996-0390, (613) 668-0214 (cell)


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