Governments of Canada and the United Kingdom advance partnership in biomanufacturing and quantum science
Mutual commitment will boost existing cooperation to support innovation and economic growth
June 8, 2023 – Ottawa, Ontario
Grounded in their shared history, Canada and the United Kingdom (U.K.) have a long tradition of strategic and robust commercial partnerships. The two countries have also built a strong collaboration on science, technology and innovation across all sectors, including on the fight against COVID-19 and climate change.
Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and George Freeman, the United Kingdom’s Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology), signed a memorandum of cooperation (MOC) detailing each jurisdiction’s commitment to advancing a biomanufacturing program.
Under the biomanufacturing MOC, Canada and the U.K. commit to jointly developing and producing the critical products each country needs to respond to the next health emergency. This collaboration will also build upon past and current joint biomanufacturing activities, notably through the National Research Council of Canada (NRC).
This partnership will help to support the work that Canada is undertaking via its Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy (BLSS) to strengthen domestic innovation and industrial capabilities to better prepare for and respond to health emergencies. In particular, the BLSS prioritizes collaboration with like-minded international partners to advance leading-edge innovation and help support the growth of Canadian companies. And the U.K. is a particularly valuable partner given its strengths, including its world-class academics sector, impressive clinical trial and manufacturing infrastructure, investor community, and pharmaceutical industry research activity. Supported by a $32 million jointly administered fund, this new partnership will advance, among other things, collaborative science, research and development, and industrial development. Funding under the biomanufacturing MOC will be jointly administered by the NRC in Canada and Innovate UK in the United Kingdom.
In a joint statement, ministers Champagne and Freeman also committed to increasing collaboration in quantum science and technology. The statement prioritizes promoting open, transparent and rigorous research as well as safe and inclusive research environments; supports research security; and promotes the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in quantum science and technology. Both countries will support each other in developing the market and strengthening the supply chain for quantum products, while building the talent pool needed for a robust quantum workforce.
This joint statement will support Canada’s National Quantum Strategy by increasing the sharing of expertise and accelerating the development of transformative quantum technologies such as novel computers, secure communication networks, and precise and accurate sensors. Through collaboration between academia, industry and like-minded countries, Canada will solidify its leadership and further strengthen and reaffirm its role as a key player on the world stage in quantum science and technology.
“The United Kingdom and Canada have a uniquely profound and positive relationship, nourished by our shared history and values. Today’s memorandum of cooperation on biomanufacturing and the joint statement on quantum science and technology are important steps in making the most of our world-class capabilities, which will drive innovation and economic growth in both our countries. We will continue to work together to foster greater collaboration in science and research to shape the economy of the future.”
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
“The UK and Canada are natural partners, with shared cultural, economic and historical ties that stretch back centuries and a strong recent history of collaboration on science and innovation across a range of key sectors from agri-tech to genomics and space. In the global race for science and technology investment, and as we turn towards innovation in order to tackle urgent global challenges, the U.K. and Canada share deep values and interests in harnessing science for global good. As we deepen our global science and technology collaborations with key R&D economies, I’m delighted to be in Canada to agree a range of sectors in which to deepen our longstanding collaboration: from AI, biosecurity and engineering biology through to quantum, space sustainability and polar research.”
– George Freeman, U.K. Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
In November 2021, the U.K.’s national funding agency for research and innovation received £10 million in funding dedicated to supporting biomanufacturing partnerships with Canada, with the understanding that Canada would match that contribution. The Government of Canada secured $16 million, which will be administered by the National Research Council of Canada, to match the U.K. funding.
In 2017, Canada and the U.K. signed a memorandum of understanding on science, technology and innovation. This arrangement has helped accelerate collaboration and commercialization in areas such as agri-tech, advanced manufacturing, smart grids, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies and polar research.
On April 17 and 18, 2023, Canada held the 4th Canada–UK Joint Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation Committee meeting, where concrete steps were announced to put the broad alignment of science, technology and innovation interests into action.
Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy presents a long‑term vision to protect Canadians against future pandemics and other health emergencies and to grow an innovative, competitive domestic life sciences sector.
Since March 2020, over $2.1 billion has been invested across 36 projects to rebuild Canada’s vaccines, therapeutics and biomanufacturing capacity.
Budget 2021 provided a total of $2.2 billion over seven years toward growing a vibrant domestic life sciences sector and securing pandemic preparedness.
Canada announced its National Quantum Strategy in January 2023. Backed by an investment of $360 million, the strategy is amplifying Canada’s global leadership in quantum research and growing Canada’s quantum technologies, companies and talent.
The National Quantum Strategy is driven by three missions in key quantum technology areas: computing hardware and software, communications, and sensors. These missions will be advanced through investments in research, talent and commercialization.
In support of the National Quantum Strategy, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and UK Research and Innovation jointly launched the UK-Canada Quantum Technologies Competition in 2020 to support international industrial-academic collaborations. Eight projects were funded through this call, receiving £2 million from the U.K. and $4.4 million from Canada over three years. A subsequent call was launched in 2022.
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Head of Communications
British High Commission in Canada
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