Government of Canada launches competition for Business-led Networks of Centres of Excellence - $46 million will help create up to five new research networks



    OTTAWA, Nov. 6 /CNW Telbec/ - The Government of Canada today took the
next step in its efforts to support private sector competitiveness by calling
for applicants for the Business-led Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE)
program. This $46 million initiative, announced in Budget 2007, is established
to fund large-scale, collaborative networks that support private sector
innovation.
    "This announcement is another example of our Government's determination
to deliver on its commitment to enhance private sector competitiveness," said
the Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry. "The ideas, technologies
and products generated by these new networks will help create jobs and
opportunities for Canadians and position our country as a global leader in the
knowledge economy."
    The money will create up to five new Business-led NCEs and support them
for four years, starting in 2009. The networks will be proposed and led by
private sector consortia and will focus on research in five priority areas:

    - Environmental science and technologies
    - Natural resources and energy
    - Health and related life sciences and technologies
    - Information and communication technologies
    - Business, management and finance

    The Business-led Networks of Centres of Excellence are a cornerstone of
Canada's new Science and Technology Strategy. One of the goals of the
strategy, launched in May, is to encourage more private-sector investment in
research and development.
    "The NCEs are beginning another exciting chapter in their history, one
that builds on the new Centres of Excellence in Commercialization and Research
program, launched in June, and on the historical successes of our existing
NCEs," said Dr. Suzanne Fortier, Chair of the NCE Steering Committee and
President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
"We are proud to be a part of the Government's vision for a more prosperous,
advanced and competitive Canada."
    Eligible applicants for the Business-led NCE program are incorporated
not-for-profit consortia representing the interests of private enterprises
with either substantial research and development operations in Canada or the
potential to benefit from R&D.
    Organizations have until January 30, 2008 to submit initial letters of
intent outlining their proposed networks. A private sector advisory board
composed of industry experts will review the letters to recommend a shortlist
of applicants to the NCE. Finalists will be invited on or around March 31,
2008 to submit detailed proposals by July 31, 2008. Successful projects are
expected to be announced early in 2009, after a rigorous review process.

    Interested applicants can visit the NCE website at www.nce.gc.ca. for
more information on the selection process and to view the complete competition
guidelines.




For further information:

For further information: Deirdra McCracken, Press Secretary, Office of
the Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry, (613) 995-9001; Natasha
Gauthier, NCE Communications Manager, (613) 996-0390,
natasha.gauthier@nce.gc.ca


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