Launch of Innovation Agenda


Speaking Points

The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, PC, MP
Minister of Science

Ottawa, Ontario

June 14, 2016

Check Against Delivery

Thank you, Minister Chagger.

Good afternoon, everyone.

I'd like to begin by commending my colleague Minister Bains on today's launch.

I'm pleased today's announcement recognizes the need for global science excellence as a key component of the Innovation Agenda.

Canada has world-renowned researchers and leads in a number of scientific fields—for example:

  • quantum computing;
  • regenerative medicine;
  • Arctic and marine research;
  • clean technology;

…and the list goes on.

Our country's future relies on supporting scientists in these fields along with the many others at the frontiers of research.

I am proud to serve a government that values science—and our scientists.

Our government understands that investments in science are key to making Canada a more innovative and globally competitive nation.

That's why Budget 2016 invested heavily in the sciences:

  • $2 billion for the Strategic Investment Fund, which will accelerate innovative infrastructure projects at universities and colleges across Canada;
  • $95 million for the granting councils;
  • $237 million for Genome Canada; and
  • $12 million for the Stem Cell Network.

From that list alone, I hope you've drawn some clear conclusions.

We respect science and scientists as well as the important work that they do. We are working hard to build connections between science and innovation.

Moments ago, Minister Bains referred to the goal of strengthening research and development at our universities, colleges, research hospitals and polytechnics as part of our Innovation Agenda.

Yesterday, I launched an expert independent panel charged with reviewing federal funding of fundamental science.

The panel includes some remarkable research leaders.

To name a few:

  • The chair, Dr. David Naylor, former president of the University of Toronto;
  • Dr. Martha Piper, Interim President, University of British Columbia; and
  • Dr. Art McDonald, our most recent Nobel Laureate.

Those are just three of the incredibly accomplished and talented individuals who will spend the next six months working with the research community and Canadians to assess the ways we can improve our support for fundamental science.

The point of this review is to ensure our research programs are strategic and effective and they meet the needs of our researchers.

The next step is to determine how to take the outcomes of research excellence and translate them into innovative products, services and social benefits.

Our colleges, universities, polytechnics and campus incubators excel at such applied research.

They have the state-of-the-art equipment, the research talent and a pool of eager students who are ready to help entrepreneurs or who may be entrepreneurs themselves.

The Innovation Agenda will look at how to strengthen applied research while promoting partnerships with businesses so that the knowledge and discoveries generated in the lab make their way to the market.

In other words, support for world-class research is critical to making innovation a national priority.

The launch of the Innovation Agenda is good news for everyone. I look forward to seeing what Canadians have to say.

Thank you.

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