Superclusters in Canada


  • The submission deadline for invitation-only Full Applications has now passed. The shortlist of applicants invited to this final phase of the application process is available online.
  • It is expected that the selection process will conclude by the end of fiscal year 2017-2018. The department will notify Applicants of the funding decisions and next steps, as applicable.

Canada is in a global innovation race. The nation is competing with countries around the world for the most talented people, the newest technologies, and the fastest-growing companies. As part of the Innovation and Skills Plan—an agenda to spark growth and help Canada realize its potential as a global leader in innovation—we intend to accelerate business-led innovation superclusters to deliver real results for Canadians.

  • Clusters are dense area of business activity containing a critical mass of large and small companies, post-secondary and other research institutions. They energize the economy and act as engines of growth.
  • Superclusters build on the advantages of a cluster. Comparatively, these innovation hotbeds have stronger connections, a long-term competitive advantage, global brand recognition, and an outsized positive impact on job creation and economic growth.

Canada is home to world-class innovation and industrial clusters, with strong technology leadership. These clusters are engines of innovation that support the development and growth of globally competitive Canadian companies. The Government of Canada wants to strengthen Canada's most promising clusters so that Canada continues to develop and attract the best ideas, brightest talent and smart capital necessary for success.

Transcript—What is a supercluster?

So what is a supercluster?

Let's start in space, with the stars.

Each one is bright, but together they light up the night sky.

When stars cluster, they create something much bigger and brighter together.

And that's exactly our plan for Canada's future.

Superclusters are dense areas of business activity.

Where people with diverse skills work together.

Where companies large and small work with universities, colleges and technical schools.

Where people get inspired. Problems solved. Life reimagined.

These places create new business opportunities. And middle-class jobs that pay well.

We already have these special places in Canada.

Places where Canadians are working on ways to feed the world, make clean energy, cure diseases.

Places where Canadians are already building the products and services of the future.

Places where Canadians are developing the skills for the jobs of tomorrow.

Places where Canada leads the world in innovation.

We want to speed things up. So we're investing nearly a billion dollars to turn more ideas into solutions. More skills into jobs. And more companies into global successes.

That's how we will make the next job a better job for Canadians.

We're asking you, Canada, to come together. Businesses, researchers, students, non-profit groups – we need everyone.

Together, we can make Canada more innovative and prosperous.

Together, we can shine like the stars.

Through the Innovation Superclusters Initiative, we will invest up to $950 million over five years, starting in 2017–2018, to support business-led innovation superclusters with the greatest potential to build world-leading innovation ecosystems, secure Canada's future as an innovation leader, and accelerate economic growth. To build a better Canada, the Innovation Superclusters Initiative is intended to be truly responsive to industry demand. Leaders from across highly innovative industries are invited to engage in transformational thinking to identify the specific activities, priorities and initiatives with the greatest potential to accelerate a supercluster advantage by building on strengths and addressing gaps in their regional innovation ecosystems.

How superclusters will help innovation

Globally, companies are grappling with an unprecedented rate of change. To remain at the forefront of competition, address key challenges and build a shared advantage, firms must partner in new ways. Industry leaders, whether they are start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), or large corporations, look to multi-sector collaboration, open innovation, and partnerships with researchers, post-secondary institutions and other innovators to deliver solutions.

Superclusters will make it easier for innovators and potential customers to harness the strengths of their local ecosystems, to work closely together on the research, development and demonstration activities that will lead to major commercial opportunities and boost productivity across industries, and to create jobs and drive economic growth. The development and growth of superclusters will support the health of the Canadian economy by:

  • advancing Canadian technological capabilities and serving as a magnet for cutting-edge research, investment and talent;
  • helping companies succeed in the global marketplace with new products, processes and opportunities to grow; and
  • building long-term advantage and global brand recognition for Canada that will lead to growth, job creation and success for firms across industries.
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