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President Elizabeth Cannon welcomes government’s investments in innovation

Sustained funding creates conditions necessary for strong research ecosystem
March 23, 2017
Finance Minister Bill Morneau, left, shakes hands with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as he outlines Budget 2017, a plan to create jobs, grow the economy and strengthen Canada’s middle class. Government of Canada photo reproduced with permission

Finance Minister Bill Morneau, left, shakes hands with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as he outlines Budget 2017, a plan to create jobs, grow the economy and strengthen Canada’s middle class. Government of Canada photo reproduced with permission

The government’s continued commitment to higher education, research and innovation were highlights for the post-secondary sector as federal Minister of Finance Bill Morneau delivered his second federal budget on Thursday.

“We are pleased to see the government is strategically investing in people and ideas to build a more prosperous Canada,” said University of Calgary President Elizabeth Cannon. “As leaders in innovation, universities are at the centre of cluster economies that promote and foster adoption of innovative ideas and technologies, create better underlying conditions to grow companies, and reduce the costs for businesses to operate.”

The government’s investment of $950 million over five years beginning in 2017-18 in superclusters will continue to strengthen the country’s economy, enhance Canadians’ livelihoods and create a competitive edge. These business-led clusters will help promote collaboration between business and post-secondary institutions.

The government’s investment of $117.6 million for the Canada 150 Research Chairs program will help attract top researchers from around the world to Canada’s universities.

“The university welcomes the proposed expansion of the recruitment of world leading academic talent, and we look forward to working with the government to identify key needs for Canada where academic talent can catalyze Canadian innovation,” Cannon said.

Further details on the $73 million over four years dedicated for work-integrated learning announced in 2016 were included in the budget. As was a new investment of $221 million over five years beginning in 2017-18 dedicated to Mitacs, a national, not-for-profit organization that designs and delivers research and training programs. These investments will continue to build partnerships between post-secondary institutions and industry.

Indigenous students will benefit from greater access to post-secondary education through a $90-million increase over two years to the Post-Secondary Student Support Program beginning in 2017-18.

Cannon said the university also looks forward to working with the government to evaluate the Naylor Report — Canada's Fundamental Science Review — and to implementing reforms and reinvestment to further enhance Canada’s innovation ecosystem.

“Universities are drivers of research and development that provide significant social, economic and cultural benefit through the training of highly qualified individuals, development of new ideas, transfer of knowledge and commercialization of inventions and discoveries,” Cannon said. “The productivity growth that universities support strengthens all aspects of society and creates the conditions necessary for inclusive economic growth that benefits all Canadians.”

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