Innovation - the engine of wealth and prosperity

Québec's aerospace community applauds the update of Québec's Research and Innovation Strategy

Letter to the editor

MONTREAL, July 1 /CNW Telbec/ - As representatives of Québec's aerospace industry, we would like to congratulate the Québec government, and support it as partners, for the visionary commitment it has shown through the update of its Québec Research and Innovation Strategy (QRIS 2010-2013) released on June 28. This reaffirms the importance of research and innovation as the foundation for Québec's international competitiveness, for its economic development, and for long-term job creation.

Government support for Québec's aerospace sector through the QRIS comes at a critical time. With its new $150 million collaborative program over four (4) years for the ecological aircraft mobilizing project, Québec is emulating major framework programs of the European Union and the United States regarding technology demonstrations. As a result, it is showing great leadership in supporting a dynamic industry employing over 40,000 people. The government is doing everything possible to help Québec prosper by building on the significant efforts made in the first QRIS and by speeding up technology transfer from our universities and our research centres to companies and, ultimately, facilitating the international commercialization of our best ideas.

Aerospace is a high-tech sector in which competitive advantage often hinges on technical excellence and innovation. However, because of safety imperatives, the development and validation of new technology concepts require large investments over a long period of time, from 5 to 10 years.

At the same time, since the lifecycle of aeronautical products ranges from 20 to 30 years, the technologies implemented today will affect our environment and our economy for nearly 40 years. Hence the importance for the industry to distinguish itself now in an increasingly competitive global context.

The aerospace innovation process essentially consists of three main phases: the development of concepts through pre-competitive research; the development of specific technological applications for these concepts; and the demonstration of these technologies in an environment representative of the end use. This innovation chain is essential for the proper implementation and eventual commercialization of competitive products.

Notably supported by universities and research centres, the pre-competitive technologies phase allows for the development of promising concepts for the industry. Renewed government support for this research, known as basic and tier 1, will support, among others, more than 10,000 engineers and scientists engaged in research and development in our sector. An important element of collaboration between the industry and universities in this context is the Consortium for Research and Innovation in Aerospace in Québec (CRIAQ), which helps to advance many joint innovation projects in aeronautics.

The technology development and demonstration phases, undertaken more specifically by companies, are the most expensive steps. They also carry the largest proportion of risks. The promising concepts are analyzed, then applied to prototypes, and subsequently validated in a functional environment on demonstrators, test beds and even during flight testing. These validations allow technologies to be brought closer to their potential application.

It is at these crucial stages of the innovation chain that various nations differentiate themselves. This is when valuable technology transfer takes place towards product commercialization, creating wealth for Québec.

The new ecological aircraft mobilizing project helps to complete the Québec aerospace innovation chain and allows for the carrying out of technology demonstration projects that are strategic for the industry. In addition, by fostering links among SMEs, equipment manufacturers and OEMs, it will make the Québec industry more competitive and foster the integration of Québec content into new aircraft platforms.

The strength of our industry is intimately linked to the ingenuity and innovativeness of its individual players. Once again, the government's concrete actions will allow us to differentiate ourselves globally and consolidate our position as a leader in the aerospace industry. It is through investment in knowledge and talent that we can be successful against foreign competitors. It is by innovating that Québec will ensure its prosperity!

    
    Gilles Labbé                              Suzanne M. Benoit
    Chairman of the Board, Aéro Montréal      Chief Executive Officer
    President & Chief Executive Officer       Aéro Montréal
    Héroux-Devtek

    and

    Aéro Montréal's Board Members, the Metropolitan Montreal Aerospace
    Cluster
    

SOURCE Aéro Montréal

For further information: For further information: Amélie Hudon, 514-987-9334


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